By Vera Marion
If I was a human rights activist I would fight for the men. Fight for the rights of the men. Fight for the rights of the boys. The maendeleo ya wanaume is just a laughable organization hat demeans the esteem of men. It’s an association whose mandate is not even known. I guess it was formed in an effort to counter the efforts of the maendeleo ya wanawake. But am not here to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of these two maendeleos. I am here to talk about the men.
We have brothers, husbands, uncles, fathers, grandfathers and all the male relatives that we have. Yet all we do is find fault with them. Find fault with every little and big thing that they do. We call them all sorts of names; ‘weak men’, ‘men are dogs’, ‘mamas boys’, ‘blue band boys’ and the list goes on and on. We thwart all their efforts in the things that they try to do. We criticize our men at every turn, yet in doing this we kill them. They die with their hearts broken. They die wounded. They die wondering what happened to the dreams that they once had.
As human beings we need encouragement from time to time to motivate us; something to get us going when we are running low on fuel. To grease our rusty hinges and make them function better. No one shies away from encouragement and the men are no exception. They need to know that what they are doing, big or small, is being appreciated. They need to be thanked for the little things that they do. They may not open that car door for you, but thank them anyway that at least they came to pick you up or drop you somewhere even if it was your initiative. They may not pull up a chair for you at a restaurant or even at the dinner table at home, but thank them anyway that at least they are there with you.
Men are not like women. Women will rant and rant about nothing and everything to each other. But the society has taught men to be men. To man it up. To not speak it out. To not show their emotions. The society has taught the men to suck it up and not speak out. In so doing, they hide their emotions yet they long to speak; to truly speak out and be heard. Yet there is no one they can turn to. There is no one they can speak to. There is no one to walk and mentor them from boyhood to adulthood. There is no one they can pour out their hearts to.
Since they don’t have anyone to talk to, they get lost in the whole process of trying to find someone to speak to them. They get lost in the labyrinth of their own masculinity. And since there is no one to guide them through this maze, they find their own way out. And some end up in the wrong lanes. Some end up in the lanes that make them change their sexuality. Some end up in the lanes that make them want to stay put with their parents because they don’t want to take up any responsibility. Some end up in criminal lanes. Some end up in the dead lanes. They get lost in the wrong lanes all because there was no one to walk with them to the right path. However, as a society we come and cast the first stone on them yet along the way we forgot all about them, we neglected the boy and so they had to find their own identities.
As a society we have imprisoned our men. We have locked them up in caves where they cannot get out. They are so lonely in these caves and the loneliness of not having anyone to share their dreams with, makes their dreams unattainable and so they slowly die before our eyes.
Therefore in order to be in sync with a society that tells them not to cry; in order to be in sync with the society that tells them to suck it up, they act it all out, so that they can fit in yet inwardly they are dying. So they don’t cry. They don’t share how they truly feel with others. They suck it up and man it up. And so they end up becoming detached. Physically they are with us but mentally and emotionally they are detached. And when they finally die, they die with their lips sealed. And sadly, we never notice because we are very busy blaming them for one thing or the other.
So, if I was a human rights activist, I would fight for the rights of the men. The rights of the boys and ensure that they stand up with their two stable feet and face the society that doesn’t believe in them in any way.