Let's also talk about the killers of men

dead men

We cannot resurrect dead men. But we can learn lessons, which we can use to revive men who are alive

Photo credit: Samuel Muigai | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  •  In every ‘hood’, there are men who are “walking dead”.
  • Men are their families’ providers, protectors and priests.

We are still in the month of love, but I want to address a sensitive topic — killers of men.  “Josaya, this is not the right time to talk about the killers of men,” I know what some people will complain. 

I understand where you are coming from. I am alive to the fact that we have a crisis of femicide in our country. And I don’t mean to steal the spotlight from this pressing issue. But there are things that cannot be left unsaid. Kindly bear with me.

Whenever I ponder about longevity— or I’m about to give up on life — I think about friends who have died. Man, I’ve lost count of age mates and peers who’ve gone ahead of us. Sometimes I’m jolted about this reality when I least expect it.

Last year, when my father died, present and former residents of our estate —Jericho — helped to raise funds via our WhatsApp group. Some group members requested that I send my picture to refresh their memory, because they could not remember me.

I posted a picture I took with four other neighbours in the early 2000s. I was shocked to learn that two of the men in the picture had since passed away.

The high mortality rate of men is not just limited to my neighbourhood. It’s happening everywhere. But because the nature of deaths are not graphic, they do not gain much public outrage. Could this be one of the reasons the pool of marriageable men is dwindling? I don’t know. Several months ago, our nation was jolted by the gruesome discovery of dumped bodies of men, victims of extrajudicial killings, in Yala River.

Silent genocide

This silent genocide has been happening for the longest time. I know of young men in my ‘hood’ who were picked by police and I’ve never been seen again. Others were shot dead at point-blank range. If a man made it out of the ‘hood’ in one piece and with a sound mind, he would still carry unseen Post Traumatic Stress Disorder brought about by the dead bodies that surrounded him.

I have solid evidence of those bodies. The evidence is in pictures we took with my friends many years ago. In one fading picture, we were five young men. One guy committed suicide. One died from alcohol abuse. And one from an undisclosed illness. In yet another fading picture, we’re four guys lifting weights in a homemade gym. Three have since passed away. I’m the last man standing.

Pictures tell more than a thousand words. My pictures tell me that the Grim Reaper is having a field day with men.

In every ‘hood’, there are men who are “walking dead”. These are men who have lost hope. Men that life and time have beaten black and blue. And let’s not get started about incarcerated men, classmates and former neighbours who have mental issues; some of whom I bump into, roaming the streets.

No men, no revival

We cannot resurrect dead men. But we can learn lessons, which we can use to revive men who are alive. Sure, we need laws and systems to work to stem the tide of femicide. But I believe that the virtuous revival of men will deal a death blow to femicide.

It’s all out there before our eyes. Yet even faith leaders and our rarely-hit-and-mostly-miss prophets have missed the boat by a whole River Nile. In the Bible, when the enemy wanted to decimate a nation, he went after men. It’s all there in black and white; from Pharaoh targeting male babies in Moses’ times, to Herod during Jesus’ birth.

Every revival must have men in the driver's seat. Watch any Pentecostal church. Do you see what I see? A vast majority of congregants are women.

Men are their families’ providers, protectors and priests. If they are not in the picture, then any nation’s revival is dead on arrival. You can take that to the World Bank.