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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pambazuka Guest Editor

I've just finished guest-editing a special issue of Pambazuka News, on Kenya: One Year On.

It will come out tomorrow. You can subscribe for free on the site, to have it sent straight to your mailbox.

It was a huge challenge to set myself. I kept coming up against the gaps in my knowledge and analysis. I climbed a steep learning curve on the timelines, persistence, and level of editorial input it takes to pull quality pieces out of contributors.

It was daunting. Pambazuka News goes out to over half a million people each week. Last year, for the fourth year running, it was voted one of the Top Ten Sites Changing The World of Internet and Politics. Alongside Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street, and Barack Obama. Every time I thought:

500,000 people are going to read this, use it for teaching and research.

I had to take deep breaths.

It was also exhilarating. I worked until 4am on Saturday night. I leapt out of my chair and did a dance yesterday when a contributor I'd given up on suddenly sent in his piece.

It was painful. I cried while I edited a couple of pieces. The first is an article on the sexual violence against women in the post-election carnage. The second is the prison diary of an organizer with Bunge la Mwananchi, Kenya's People's Parliament.

Last night I read the last chapter of Obama's Audacity Of Hope. His closing line is: My heart is filled with love for this country.

After reading over 30,000 words in the last 3 days, from the finest minds of Kenya's civil society and social justice movements, my mind is luminous with respect for them. Electric with admiration for "my people" - their unflagging persistence, brilliance, tenacity, in the face of ridiculous odds. I am so proud to know them, and be a part of Kenyans For Peace, Truth and Justice.


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