Our Land, Our Nation
“Oh God of all creation
Bless this our land and nation”
Our National Anthem begins with the above two lines. Indeed this God fearing nation believes in blessings, it is no wonder that several religions, communities and cultures exist in harmony.
Kenya gained full independence from the British Government on 1st June 1963 and we celebrate our “Republic” holiday on 12th December 1963. This day signifies freedom, strength, progress, diversity, opportunity and the future that lies ahead. We are turning 53 and entering the wisdom era where we have millions of grandchildren and while we still have stories to tell about our Freedom fight, it is now time to start telling stories about our new legacy.
This modern nation is facing challenges just like any other, no exception. But we are determined to stay ahead and keep moving forward, to learn from others mistakes and create our own trail blaze of achievements. Our national holidays especially during the last 20 years have become more patriotic and more so since the Jubilee Government due to the acceptance of embracing our identity and showing it off. We wear our flag on our jacket or the colours that symbolize our country on more merchandise than ever before. We still stand up to the National Anthem before every film with pride and at every event too. While this rule is biting the Indian nationals and the debate continues on how to increase patriotism, we stand firm. We may not have a cricket team, or space programme, or military deployment, or the Royals, but we have simple principles that keep us hopeful, happy and hardworking.
National holidays are necessary in many ways, firstly of course, a time off for those in employment but also a chance to gather over lunch or dinner to celebrate a well-deserved holiday. Whether this holiday is being saluted for its nature, in this case our independence day is hard to tell. Like the Americans make a patriotic deal over Thanksgiving we probably have not reached that hype. Perhaps we do not need to show off at that magnitude. Maybe a day will come when we will hold “Freedom Concerts” to remind ourselves of where we have come from and celebrate our precious Republic. What is clear is that all our National holidays hold a dignified place and are celebrated respectfully.
Stirring up patriotism comes not from the Government, because that would mean being Communist, or from dancing all over, because that would mean being Liberal. We have to seek the balance and I believe we have it, just enough of promotion and pomp. The intellectuals will argue, like Mark Twain:
“Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
But to borrow a line from a brother from another land, “In the face of impossible odds, people who love this country can change it.” ― Barack Obama. So it is up to you, what you feel and where. There are several generations here and their roots are from the United Kingdom or India, but over the years their respect to the Republic of Kenya is honorable. How you use the national holiday matters. Do something for the nation, plant trees, clean the community area, hold a party for the estate’s elderly or anything that makes a difference as a citizen of your nation.
Do it for the people, do it for the Nation.