Wednesday, November 28, 2007
What's in a Name?
What does your name mean? Or asked differently does your name matter? Well, you better keep the answers to yourself because depending on where you live that your answer can be VERY COSTLY.
A British teacher has been charged in court in Sudan for allowing her students to name a teddy bear Muhammad - a name with 14 permutations in spelling. According to the prosecution her act is an insult to religion.
Matters religion can be very personal and explosive. Many are ready to lose their lives for their beliefs. Well, that enriches the diversity in humankind. Fanaticism and passion are two words that can be conveniently used interchangeable to further one's course. Whether mwalimu Gillian Gibbons is guilty as charged is not for me to charge.
Drawing a parallel on what is in a name you can't fail to notice a muddled version of this case closer home. Most Kenyans form opinions about others on 'controversial' (read political) arguments based on cluster of letters cobbled together to spell a name. If your name is not regionally identifiable and you don't suffer any tonal betrayals (shrubbing) then trust some Kenyan to cleverly enquire about your parents' ancestral home.
Granted religion is something very personal. But it is not that clear cut either becasue in there too lies its predatory traits. Take away personal insecurities (WANTs) the heart is neither vulrenable nor provide a soft landing sermons delivered with furry that often leaves the preacher's mouth foaming. Make no mistake. This is not meant to deny the role prayers/beliefs play in out lives. But at the same time we must appreciate the fact that whoever endowed with grey matter never meant to let us abuse it by being hysterical and hide under dogma.
The Sudanese government have just been handed a gem to hit at the west by escalating a teacup storm. But looked at differently they may be unfairly punishing a teacher involving her students in appreciating a teaching aid.
Mark you these were Sudanese primary school kids aged about 10. Now jjust imagine if this act were to be reciprocated the world over then manyy South American and Spanish men called Jesus would all end up on the dungeon. Well religion is the sum total of faith and TALES clothed in dogma and is personal.