Friday, May 7, 2010

On parody of culture, Chopin, local traditions and future of Kenya

Phew, that was a good one.

There was supposed to be a piano concerto by Katya Grineva here in Nairobi. As we do not have a lot of such performances we decided to attend. Of course the event started half an hour later than scheduled, or rather - this time it was scheduled half an hour later, just nobody cared to inform the spectators as the tickets were sold. Nobody can organize an event without any glitches - there always have to be fuckups and delays and so on. Proudly Kenyan*...

A part of local tradition is to screw with all spectators further (because delaying the concert by half an hour is not enough) so there had to be those speeches. Generally in the world speech is an opportunity of someone who has achieved something to share his ideas and results with the wider public. In Kenya it is a must to have someone who is totally incompetent but hosts VIP position to boast on how much of a biggest fucker ever he is. No substance, no value, just bullshit...

As the pianist was Russian she was introduced by Russian Ambassador. I have only one thing to say: WTF? First of all His Excellency spoke English with this distinctive Russian accent. OK, this is how they talk, perhaps I am biased by stereotypes and he actually was not drunk. Dunno. But then he goes with his speech about World War Two, military parade to be held in Moscow where there will be - for the first time ever - US, UK and Polish troops alongside Soviet Army... Oops, Russian Army, Sorry Mr. President**... Piano concert and he pulls out WW2 stuff out his sleeve? WTF? But then he goes about the usual cultural international blah blah blah and then he says Chopin was of Russian origin. OK, people laughed, but the amazing thing is - I got the impression that the dude was not joking! During the break we approached him and asked him like - you know - what did you mean? And he goes in Russia we do not say Chopin, we say Żopen. Motherfucker! I am not very patriotic but this was just... too much. Sonuvabitch! For those of you who do not speak Russian - Żopen would be Russian for Asshole. But this reminds me of German attempts to germanize Copernicus. They started by writing in German schoolbooks Kopernicus (which actually makes sense in German not in Latin: Copernicus) and then moved to more subtle sabotages...

After the Ambassador there was Kenyan Minister of Culture and National Heritage. OMG, this guy was funny! He was a parody of a politician! He started off by saying that he's been a minister for 25 years. What? Die already and make room for younger, more efficient people! Then he goes through WW2 (again!) saying that it was Russia who won the war (WTF?) and twice mentioning General Marshall Żukow and his assault on Berlin, that Russia lost 30 Million people during the war and so on. Please point out to me relevance to piano concert, for I somehow missed it. And if you want show off your history literacy at least get your facts straight! And then he tells stories how he went to some rural community and after he left people there started getting married. Eh? And then he brags on how he and his office rely on external funding for building community cultural centre. What kind of minister is he if his main task is begging for money. Again - die already!

As I am not Kenyan (proudly or not) I looked at this and wondered - how much of a parody of democracy and government these people have here? I was slightly annoyed by these delays, I came for a piano concert, not for stand-up comedians. And I was sorry, for Alison sitting next to me must have been ashamed to have such country officials. And then I realized that these comedians of the stage are real people with power. These douchebags and narrow-mminded assholes run this country! Unfortunately this brings us to more serious matters - there will never be a real democracy here. This will always be third world. If former president Moi was a school teacher and after having resigned from presidency he was one of the richest people in Africa... If the President of South Afica rapes women (family's friend ;-) and claims that to prevent AIDS he takes shower after sex... and people cheer for he is so manly. As time progresses I find that most people in Kenya are either corrupt politicians/businessmen making loads of illegal money or totally delusional people. Or both. You can live whatever fantasy you have and nobody gives a crap. People are too busy making ends meet or stealing their country apart. And these behaviors propagate...

On daily basis you do not see these kenyan idiosyncrasies, but after some time around you start noticing them. These people who have power are above the law. OK, this is a joke - there is no law here. But the movers and shakers are beyond any justice. Even if the people of Kenya raise one day to oust them it will only be to fuel interests of another politician. Governments all over the world manipulate theis citizens. But nowhere in such a crude and unsophisticated way. The sad thing is people do not even notice...

Yeah, I know, I got carried away. The concert? There was this fat old (British looking) lady two rows ahead of me who just had to wear all those bangles that rattled and clang with her every move. And yes, she was restless. There were people who forgot to switch off their mobiles. Seriously? There were two or three couples who could not resist whispering, photographers did not care to switch off their camera's beep-beep everytime they got focus... the light operators had to switch off the light after Katya started playing with these loud Thungggs... But the pianist compensated for all of these. Schubert, Liszt, Chopin (sorry - Żopen), Bloch, some Spanish composers and she closed the evening with Ravel's Bolero, which she was able to make interesting! What I am affraid is that all these were pearls among the swines...

* Local slogan, aimed to be equivalent of Teraz Polska. But for me a synonin of all possible fuckups in this country.

** Who recognizes this?

3 comments:

Marek said...

Now that was some funny little reading. You've made my day :)
Almost spilled my tea ;)

WW said...

Interesting place to live and observe. I'm now reading a biography of R. Kapuscinski and reading your post I had a type of deja vu.

zygfryd homonto said...

confirmed !
but Chipin and Bolero was ok
on the desert everything is a water ;-)