They have killed the beloved
I discovered I had no affinity for hunger at a very young age during Good Friday fast. Waking up in a staunch Catholic home you know it is Good Friday by the absence of the smell of brewing tea leaves and knowledge the next meal will come when Jesus is on the cross.
I was quick to connect the dots even at that tender age when I realized this ritual was not observed everywhere and there would be abundance at my aunt’s which informed my annual defection from our household during Good Fridays.
As an adult working at the Bureau meant that while the rest of the workers looked forward to a long weekend of travel, we stayed back at work to keep them informed. Easter for me was not much else, and as I have fallen further off the religious wagon it has meant even less.
So to write a piece on Easter was not going to be easy. I turned to Danab Ulad’s Gabriel, an epic reimagining the angel at the sight of the Beloved’s killing. His Gabriel whose wings could reach the two ends of the earth, says; ‘They killed The Beloved, Lord. Let me fold the mountains over them from left and right, and release the waters from above and below. You destroyed Noah’s people, Lord, and they were no worse.’
It is a powerful piece about the events that could have taken place above in the havens, even as below, the men began to understand what they had done. As Friedrich Nietzsche says in Beyond Good and Evil, madness is something rare in individuals—but in groups, parties, peoples, and ages, it is the rule. The spectators who had trailed the Beloved mocking him to invoke his supernatural powers, the ones who tagged along in amusement and his followers all beheld the crime that was deserving Danab’s destruction.
And like him and religious writers, the fixation has been on the corpse of the Beloved, his levitation and triumph over man’s greatest enemy, death. Easter is central to Christian teachings on what makes the Beloved special. He dies as all mortal men do but is resurrected and rises to haven confirming the belief he was the son of God and that he shall return.
Read also: The call for forty days of fasting
But my story is about the madness of men.
When they killed the Beloved, the men beneath the cross were not only anxious of the roaring heavens whence Danab’s Gabriel poised to avenge him but they were anxious of their collective crime. The killing of an innocent man who only taught love.
They felt akin to what we felt in 2007 after the post-election clashes, looking into the eyes of our neighbour’s children and ashamed of what we had collectively done.
The years preaching peace and reconciliation have done very little to encourage nation building as Kenyans receded back to their communities to invest or build homes and our politics reflected even more, the fear that we shared nothing other than tolerated proximity.
As the economy enters a tumultuous period of high cost of living, uncertainty, receiverships, job losses and recession the madness of crowds is welling up once more. Escalating street protests, reckless government response and widespread anxiety of where to get the next meal are recipes for disaster.
We have an Easter upon us, the Beloved about to be crucified and maybe this is an opportunity for us to refuse to lend ourselves to the madness of crowds.