Friday, April 04, 2008

Rage and Reconciliation

Is Njoroge a fool or a hero? I was reading a Kumekucha thread the other day, as you do, and he chipped in with a story about the murder of his father and brother.

Why do people share these sorts of stories? One reason, it occurred to me, was that by telling them, one brings home to one's opponents the consequences of their position. One might also hope for sympathy, charity or understanding from them. But all these require that one's opponents share the thought that one is equal to them: the lives of Njoroge's relatives matter just as much as those of the guys wielding the panga (or those supporting the guy wielding the panga). If sympathy is feeling with Njoroge, then it demands seeing that the lives of his loved ones are just as valuable as mine; charity and understanding likewise; and it is impossible to understand the magnitude of his tragedy without seeing it as something that could happen to one.

Discuss here.