A LETTER TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

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Hey you over there. Yes, you! This is kindly for you. I hope this letter brings my concern to your gentle heart. Please give it a minute or two, or perhaps a few minutes of your golden time. This is for everyone and for no one in particular. This letter is to my leader whom I hoped would hand me a ladder to my dreams; to the rich of Mombasa whom I wished would stretch their hand in the pursuit of supporting me; to my neighbour whom I believed to help me when in need. Don’t be mistaken, this is definitely for you just as it is for anyone else. THIS…is to whoever it may concern.

Mombasa. The place with the most beautiful sunset on earth; the area of undeniably eye catching blue waters and ever-green palm trees bowing down to you, a region of rich and deep culture which we inherited from diverse tribes and races; the place we forever will cherish. This is home sweet home.

This city has grown so much over the years and the changes can’t be defied. We have grown to be like the mysterious city where all we can see is the sickening mixture of success and failure; unity and selfishness; joy and grief. The Mombasa that the older generations knew of was the one that had a vision; a vision that was later diluted with the lethargic nature of the current generations. All we have now is a mishap of ideas within the community where everyone talks but no one acts. The great say, an idea is only when it is implemented. There are many ideas but the implementation remains a far-stretched theory. So where are we heading to when all we do is jog at the same spot year in year out?

We have now inherited a multi-cultural personality which would be to a great advantage if we could join our thoughts of religions and education system to be unified. Truly, love for your people is not bought-it is gained through community awareness and progress. So how much do we really lose if we put aside all our differences of social class, religion, tribe and whatever else that separates us from the ultimate success?

I have always been amused to hear of how the Mombasa we know of was during old times; how everyone was a brother to another even when there was no blood relation, whereby a neighbour could punish another neighbour’s child for some wrongdoing, how people would support each other in weddings and funerals; it all sounds like Mombasa was this one big family where everyone knew everyone but it didn’t just end at the knowing each other, it went further to deeply expose the brotherhood and unity that was there. All this harmony and peace was suddenly grabbed from us by the unknown and all we are left with are skeletons from the past.

The blessed month of Ramadhan; the month of mercy and forgiveness, has always displayed the golden hearts of our people in a platter. There is the great sense of unity and love as we join hands in this glorious month and it is so touching to see ourselves remember the poor, do charity in abundance, remember our neighbours for the first time in months, visit the sick, join hands to do community work and so much more. This doesn’t just define us as religious beings only; it defines us as a community. It shows our real potential and ability to do a great job to reap fruits for our people. It is out of the prayers that I have that I am hoping that this unity could be extended throughout the other eleven months; not just for our sake but for the betterment of our children too.

It is high time we embraced our fears and grief; it is due time we stopped stigmatizing the homeless child that lies on the dirty road with nothing but a piece of torn cloth to cover the body, the poor old frail man who owns nothing but the soul in him, the woman who wakes up before dawn and walks for miles in search for any random duty to make her ends meet, the man who struggles to push an overloaded rickshaw as he sweats profusely under the bright sun; this man who would probably just cough one day and spit blood and becomes his doomed end. It is important for us to tackle our egos and have a more gentle view on others. We need to appreciate every minor character in this tale of Mombasa; all these people we ignore and sometimes abuse, yet they are the growing power of our town.

Let’s turn our focus on the moral rot and impunity in our region; let us put our energy together in fighting all odd and immoral trends that make us walk face-down in shame. Let us fight for our once most peaceful environment. We have to bring back our love for each other, the harmony, the tranquility, our traditions, our language; that Coastal flavour that we can never find anywhere else.

Just as I want to be a Kenyan proud to be a Kenyan for what Kenya does for Kenyans, I want to be overly proud to be a Coasterian for what the Coast does for the Coasterians to gain ultimate success as a unified County. Let us all unite; be it Muslim, Christian, Hindu or Atheist; be it rich or poor; be it literate or illiterate. This is the time to join hands.

My bottom line is just; peace, love and unity once again for us all.

Yours faithfully,

Lubnah Abdulhalim.

(A citizen of Mombasa)

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A freelance writer, journalist, poet and blogger venturing mainly in social and community issues, study and analysis of behaviour and life, and the plight of the under-dogs in the society. 'I feed on human stories.'

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