Reading the ICC Witness Project: Witness #69

ICC Witness Recalls Order to Evict Kikuyus: “When a convoy passed by, I heard Sammy Ruto saying that the results had been announced and ODM has been declared winner, for that reason Kikuyus must look for vehicles that can take them back to Othaya,” the witness explained saying that she had watched the incident on television According to the witness, the people in the convoy were also celebrating saying that ‘Sangari and Madoadoa’ which were the terms used to refer to Kikuyus should go back to Othaya. The witness explained that Sangari meant that; “we have grass in the Central Province where I come from. When this grass grows it invades the whole place and that plant is very invasive and difficult to uproot. The grass (Kikuyus) had to be removed.” She further told the court that the threats of eviction of Kikuyus from Rift Valley were actually implemented since property belonging to Kikuyus was looted and their houses burnt by Kalenjins. “When they told us to return to Othaya they said so by burning our houses that was a way for them to chase us away. They looted our property. You can’t live in an area where there is no peace,” the witness narrated. She said Kalenjins viewed Kikuyus as people who had invaded their land hence it was time for them to return to their home in Central Kenya. The witness also recalled to the court that she saw a person christened as number 3 sharpening a machete by the roadside also repeating the same remarks that Kikuyus should return to Othaya – the home of former President Mwai Kibaki.”

There is something magical about cleanliness. The labor of cleansing, the work of arrangement and order, is an effort to produce a state in which nothing needs to be cleaned–because it already is clean–and to “return” an inhabited space to a status of purity unsullied by the fetid human condition, with its bodily fluids and smells and decay. It is magical because it isn’t real, because it takes a produced arrangement–a space of disciplined and labored arrangement–and presents it as natural, un-marked, un-touched, and un-blemished. All that is not of that space has been removed, leaving that space purified, as it should be, more itself than it has ever been before.

panga

In this sense, Mary Douglas also had it precisely backwards when she famously observed that “Dirt offends against order,” and argued that “Eliminating it is not a negative moment, but a positive effort to organise the environment.” “Dirt” requires order to exist as such; whatever it was before, it only becomes “dirt” once order has decided that it doesn’t fit where it is, and needs to be removed. Which is to say, it is the coming of “order” which declares dirt to be “dirt,” which is offended by it, and which declares its removal to be an improvement, a purification. But whatever becomes “dirt” was already there, before “order” entered the scene. Dirt was already there; it is order which enters and gives the name “dirt” to whatever it was before it was declared to be dirt, in the process, erasing what it had been. Eliminating dirt is a negation, because it is order’s decision to name one thing external to where it is, to define its negation as a positive movement.

ICC Witness #69 fetishizes a particular commodity, a magic panga which in the fantasia of PEV requires no hand to wield it. Like violence, these magic pangas simply are, just do, only happen:

ICC69

But a careful eye will note a single mark, a single blemish, a single pang, the left-behind and dirty residue of the tale which might be told of its own making.

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