Many years ago, a man by the name George Orwell wrote a book about animals that lived in a farm. He called his book Animal Farm. The first time I read this book I was quite young. I found myself asking why these animals were behaving just like human beings. A little later I came to understand that the book was in fact describing how human beings actually behave towards each other.
At this point in my life I do know something about human behaviour as well as that of the various species of animals. For some reason I have found myself getting increasingly inquisitive about the differences between human beings and the animal world. This kind of thinking is perhaps precipitated by events we see around us each day. Take, for instance, what is happening in Baringo. Human beings are killing each other every other day.
Every day we are told stories of how people in public offices plunder resources that are meant for the use and good of all. We have even heard about people who have been killed because they stood in the way of others who intended to steal. Have we also not been told about fellow Kenyans who trade in dangerous drugs knowing very well that such drugs will destroy other people and particularly the youth of this country?
Such people are among us and we hear that some of them even attempt to get into leadership positions and sometimes succeed. Would animals sell drugs to each other? Unlike us human beings animals would never plan to destroy their fellow animals unless in self-defense or in search of food. While we humans destroy and abuse nature, animals blend well and live harmoniously with nature.
Look at what we Kenyans have done to our forests. We cut down trees and most times do not bother to plant others. We were, of course, warned by the late Prof Wangare Maathai but did we listen? The best we could do was to punish her for it. While we were at it, the world out there recognised her efforts and fêted her. What have been the effects of our carelessness in dealing with nature? From what we have seen recently, global warming and climate change are not a hoax. Orwell’s animal farm came to mind the other day when the president gave the State of the Nation address in Parliament. The honourable members were excited most of the time during the address. When that part about the reduction of salaries for elected officials came, they were not so excited.
Dominic Wamugunda is dean of students, University of Nairobi.