Remembering the River

It has been so long since I last posted. School happens and one drowns in it. I find myself swimming in the tides of Mark Twain as he trained to be a professional cab pilot. It is difficult, he wrote, (painstakingly paraphrasing here) for one to see the swell of the river with each rising tide and breathe the same romanticism that led him to it, when one is a professional. The tenuous study and great amount of lingua to be learnt somehow averts one from the passion that drove him thereto in the first place. It is the most strenuous of attitudes, to constantly remind one of the beauty they once saw, such that beautiful colourings and ebbs and rises of the waters are marvelled at instead of being blanketed by worry, of a foreshadowed storm at sea.

It is the same with the study of law. The choice to go to professional school is often informed by the great service one has to perform for humanity or rather, that one wants to perform for humanity. The difficulty, is not the incredible amount of lingua you have to learn that some men, thinking themselves elitists droned about…but rather, the great of amount of effort you have to inject, into not losing your humanity amidst the vague and almost arrogant process of the law. It is very easy to lose oneself in critique and scepticism. The task, is to foretell the raging tides of society without losing one’s ability to appreciate the beauty in the colourings of the threads of law as they mesh together a justice, sometimes elusive, but always worth the search.

I wrote this on Friday, 11th of November of 2011. “This work… (some work my friends and I were doing on community service), is not about the name or the fame, it is not about the fun. It is about the pain that poverty instills. The lost dreams that you have to restore. The tears that we cry, the heart that we break in ourselves and retie it, not with our own broken pieces, but with pieces that are broken like ours, shattered, hoping that one day life will flow again, because at the end of the day, economic discrimination is physical, painful, segregative and undermining.”

I was a fresh faced kid out of high school then and despite the fact that these words may seem primordial, I found them echoed in a more sophisticated manner in the words of Amartya Sen, in the musings of Acemoglu on the importance of institutions in developing economies, in the work of (believe it or not) Marx and his sub-cronies Nyerere and Mamdani, Kwameh Nkrumah and many others. It is a struggle of life, though elusive, but always worth it.

This was my river…restoring dignity and ending a cyclic form of poverty. Being useful in society. I went on to teach the Internet, I went on to design curriculums, I went on to learn the law, I realise now, that I am in search of the great master equaliser, with which to serve my people and everyday I look, I see a primordial form of it in the Internet, hence, I am led to explore it.

Like Twain, it is not easy to remind myself of this. I am lost in details sometimes. The law is an arse and sooner than later, one’s ideologies are stuffed up and left to wither in the shores of doubt. It is the greatest work indeed, to lift my head from “Democracy as Freedom” by Amartya Sen once in a while and behold, the seas of humanity, that led me here and from hence, work out how to comprehend the beauty before me, with a sense of duty.


5 thoughts on “Remembering the River

  1. Nyawira Wanjohi

    Kasyoka, I want to say it is beautifully written, because it is, yet I do not want to underscore the weight of issues raised- the painful, segregative and undermining economic disciminations and the passions that led us to that which we labour for.
    -Yours truly
    A more determined revolutionary.


  2. Interested person

    If only there was such beauty within a system that teaches humans to pursue sedation above equality. Your struggles will never end; there is no such thing as a just society. The closest we have ever come to (communism) was vigorously rejected by people who would rather let millions die due to the inequalities than give up their prized possessions.


    1. Kasyoka S Mutunga Post author

      Interested person. Thank you for your comment. I agree with you. The struggle however is not against the system, the struggle is against oneself. The struggle is to ground yourself in such a way that the system’s tides don’t sweep you away into the mundane. A completely just society maybe elusive, but the pursuit is what is worth it. 🙂



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