OJ Simpson Goes to Kenya

From the New York Times: 

Soysambu Ranch is the jewel in their crown, 50,000 acres teeming with giraffe and zebra in the heart of Africa’s great Rift Valley. The scenery is straight off a postcard — the golden pastures, the sculptured hills, the sense of getting so much of the world in one big gulp.

But Thomas Cholmondeley, the cravat-wearing scion of the family, who until recently was on track to be the sixth Baron of Delamere, is no longer here. He is in Kamiti maximum security prison in Nairobi, the rare white face behind bars in this country, awaiting trial in a murder case that is dividing Kenya.”

There can be no doubt.  It is time for the West to do it’s level best to save from death, even arrest, this noble son of English crest!!

More from the Times:

“White farmers in Kenya, an increasingly beleaguered and endangered species, are deeply sympathetic. They say that crime is out of control and the police are useless, and that the bush, however beautiful, is awash with guns.”

The Times never ceases to amaze with its statements of preference, especially with respect to Africa.  That the American conservative party has taken to calling the Times a “liberal” paper reveals as much desperation on the part of conservatives as it reveals common cause as white supremacists with liberals.  Birds of a feather sip at the same trough of suspect racialist ideology.  The Times is simply the biggest media sipper at the trough.

Take the reference to whites as an endangered species.  That’s a novel approach.  Whites are so seldom equated with animals.  It is almost never done in athletics or politics or sex or music or even warfare.  And yet, here we are.  The linkage is not from a behavioral standpoint, but from a “victim” standpoint.  These victims are subject to a rash of random (read WILD) circumstances that Africans are either used to and/or responsible for bringing to bear.  Crime, ineffective police and the bush all appear to have simultaneously conspired to bring about the end of the white farmer.  It’s not surprising that the New York Times would paint white farmers in Kenya as victims.  After all, this is nothing more than a friendly embrace among cousins. 

But from what source does the white farmer spring?  How did whites come to reside in Kenya in the first place?  How did families like the Delameres acquire 50,000 acres of pristine land?  I don’t know if it’s possible to gloss over an issue more quickly than this, but I believe the following paragraph is what is known as “lip service.”

“That settler, Hugh Cholmondeley (pronounced CHUM-lee), the third Baron of Delamere, took chunks of the Rift Valley from local (and illiterate) Masai tribesmen in the early 1900’s, turning the area into a playground for whites. He rode horses through bars and shot chandeliers at fancy hotels and went on to become a leading dairy farmer and politician. Nairobi’s main street was named Delamere Avenue until independence in 1963.”

This is hardly a context.  Moreover, with the “Who Me?” wealth inheritance attitude that is embedded in the psyche of white folks, this is unlikely to even register – but it is the cornerstone of the conversation.  The Times continues it’s unique brand of journalistic failure when it comes to questions (of any type) on the continent.  The suggestion that the principal reason why the Masai lost rights to hunt and move across ancestral lands was related to illiteracy is patently absurd.  It’s akin to arguing that the Lakota and the Apache were subject to the same failings of the mind in the West.  The psychological twisting required to cobble together such weak arguments is part of an historical continuum.  It’s no different than Bartholome delas Casas’ impassioned plea for the freedom of Indians at the expense of Africans; or the US founding fathers words denouncing tyrants while seeking refuge from “merciless Indian savages.”  It’s really all the same.  And the Times is consistently on the side of the paper – and never on the side of the ink.

What may be most telling about all of this, however, is the reaction of Kenyans to two similar events.  Preliminary indications are that the defendant has a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later, but not of his targets (he shoots to kill; the victim is not available for questioning).  His first victim was Masai.  The ethnicity of his second victim is not mentioned.  It is possible (even probable) that a greater national outcry was sparked by the death of a Kikuyu or other victim in the second instance.  Too often parochialism rules the day.  Had more strenuous objections been raised at the death of a Masai man working for the Kenyan government, the second killing might have been avoided. 

It will be interesting to see how this drama plays out.  I’m sure OJ will be watching closely.

4 comments

  1. One interesting outgrowth of the Simpson trial was that a good percentage of those American polled after the trial believed the jury system needed to be reassessed or simply thrown out in cases that were provocative and sensational. These people actually advocated trial by judge. Judges are notoriously more conservative than judges. Moreover, judges tend to not be “representative” of the defendants at trial. Trial by a jury of one’s peers has been a stable of the American system for centuries, but some folks found it easy to cast aside after the Simpson acquittal.

  2. i think the jury system definitely needed something done as in my opinion a guilty man went free. what questions i really had about the oj trial was “why was it so divided on racial lines?” – it just doesn’t make sense.

  3. Actually Ar…it makes perfect sense that the verdict would split along racial lines. It’s quite simple really. Most American whites believe the judicial system is mostly fair – statistical evidence be damned. Most American blacks believe the judicial system is unfair. OJ was never really defended by Blacks because he was BLACK, but because his physical blackness was symbolic of others. It really wasn’t about OJ, per se – since OJ had been an “honorary white” for three decades before the trial. If you didn’t know OJ was an “honorary white” then this has to get a bit confusing.

    Still most white guys have a hand full of black men whom they consider to be “just guys” “not just black guys” “regular guys” “cool guys” “great guys” or whatever – but not explicitly black – with the politics and the awareness and the edge (or militancy as white people often refer to the “edge”). In any event, OJ didn’t have that “edge” – at least not in public (read TV). See, you can’t picture Jim Brown or Bill Russell or Kareem or Muhammad Ali running through an airport – but Juice sure. Walter Payton – no. Juice, yep. He’s an honorary white. It worked for him – up until the trial.

    Most black folk that I know (not those wacky courthouse protesters) could have given two shits about OJ – but I personally found it absolutely fuckin’ hilarious that the nation actually cared about the case. If he’d killed his first wife Marguerite, it would not have been a big story…that’s not the way the society is cut.

    So…for me, the case was a glimpse into the tortured racial soul of America…nothing more – nothing less. It wasn’t about OJ as a black man…it was about betrayal by an honorary white and a nation’s reaction to that betrayal. As for the protesters who felt like OJ’s acquittal meant something beyond his case – they’re nuts…they’re just as crazy as the day they picked up signs.

    Arleen…these things make perfect sense…but it depends on your frame of reference.

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