By Kelvin J. Shachile
We do have a lot on our tables to chew right now, 2020 has been that year that revolutionized everything we considered normal and shook us to the reality of anything can happen any time. From having a virus that swept through the world changing almost everything, destabilizing calendars, disrupting economies and changing the courses of politics to the rising of voices across the world calling people into the agenda of collective action to ask for justice of black lives lost due to police brutality in the US and Nigeria. We are in the wake of a new world; new politics and new societal norms most of which shouldn’t miss your cognition of how these occurrences are happening and how their trends are influencing the world.
Over the years, we have had movements pushing for various issues that are considered paramount to ensure a dignified life for every member of the society. Activists calling for the society to uphold the virtues of respect of women and children, campaigns to ensure the end of domestic and gender based violence, the outcry to save the boy-child, environmentalists amplifying the impending dangers of irresponsible natural resource exploitation and unsustainable actions, the world-wide protests on black lives matter to the latest End SARS hashtags. We have other struggles dancing beneath what is trending online, from the increased cases of rape, violence and teenage pregnancies to cases of defilement and actions still stripping people off a dignified life such as cyberbullying.
Mental health is amongst the big things of 2020. Twitter and the entire social media community has been on top driving this campaigns to ignite fresh conversations regarding mental illness and related issues. Lots of people came out to claim their readiness to support the movement. After everything, I have realized that social media is a perfect hypocrite. It doesn’t act on what it preaches. The same platform used to call people into building a better society with an understanding of mental health and help people is the same one stripping people’s dignity through offending posts, throwing shades and insults enough to throw someone into the den of depression.
Dignity is an ensemble of everything there is that gives someone the courage to be who he/she is without worry of what everyone around them thinks about them because of the history they have had. The first way of learning to preserve other people’s dignity is knowing where a boundary stretches to maximum. There are some little things that seem obvious but are the greatest form of bullying. And so the best thing to do right now is to learn. To help yourself understand before you act or judge.
Don’t call feminism a `nonsense’ movement before you know comprehensively what it is. Don’t call mental health bullshit before you learn about it. Don’t call environmentalists empty crusaders before you understand their viewpoint. Don’t support an agenda before you read its objectives. Don’t claim before you think.
Someone who has had a clear open eye will notice that propaganda has changed perspective. Now lies are not far away from truth, yet still this truth has become harder to believe even when served to us right before our eyes. We are sailing in a boat that requires just one thing from us, especially the youth, to have a clear knowledge of what is going on and exactly how it has been bend to manipulate our judgement and action. It is not a time for silence. We have to speak and speak right. To do this, we have to learn.
Kelvin J. Shachile is an Award Winning Kenyan Artist, Designer and Author.