Recently, the Fund for Peace, a US-based think tank, released their fifth annual Failed States List. Of course, it’s always fun to see where your home country ranks, and well, living in the developing world always makes the game that much more interesting. So here are some fun facts as to how this list relates to my current life:
- The prestigious award of Most Failed goes to infamous Somalia (which sadly incorporates both Puntland and Somaliland), which comprises the north east border of my current home country. We supply them with the drug miira, they bring us guns, which initially got there from here. I am sure there is some sort of gun-commodity pyramid scheme going on here…
- The number three most failing state, Sudan, comprises a section of our northern border. 16th on the list, Ethiopia, completes the rest of the northern border.
- Kenya is the 14th most failed state in the world.
- This puts Kenya in the top 10% of Failed States, woo woo.
- Kenya fell from 26th to 14th in the span of a year. Fell is too mild a term. We dropped like a ton of bricks.
- Ironically, Kenya (14th) and Nigeria (15th) are neighbors on the list, and are also considered some of the more successful sub-Saharan African states by conventional wisdom.
- Kenya is failing more than North Korea. Wow, a phrase I never thought I would ever type…
- Kenya is failing worse than Rwanda, which conventional wisdom might find confusing considering last decade Rwanda suffered complete societal collapse and its former leaders are facing charges of genocide. All we ever did was yell at Moi for being ridiculously corrupt and a little violent.
- Kenya is also failing twice as bad as Liberia. Charles Taylor is allegedly a cannibal. We are failing worse than a country that was run by a cannibal!
- Saving the best for last: Kenya is the most failing state with an active Peace Corps country program. I would like to thank my Guinean (country 9th on list) brethren for suspending their program last month in the name of political instability so that we could take top honors on this one. There’s gotta be some award or something for this? Some like, “Most Hardcore Volunteer,” or something. Or maybe we are the reason it’s failing so hard.
I would like to put some of this in perspective. Most importantly, Kenya failing so much, particularly taking into account its 12-point drop in a single year, combined with the fact that we supposedly have a free and democratically-elected government means that something really is NOT working. I don’t like capital letters for emphasis, but COME ON people, screw objectivity! Let’s sit down, we all know what is wrong here, so let’s FIX IT! What does it take to get people motivated to bring about the change they want? Of course the argument will also be, why should the Kenyan people judge their country’s progress by some Western metric if they are happy with how things are going. This brings up perspective-point number two.
Kenya is the recipient of some of the most development funding in the world. Sorry I do not have a nice website URL as a source for this statement, it’s simply gathered anecdotally from conversations with development professionals and organizations working in Kenya. So let me put a call out to everyone who donates money: ask yourself, is your money doing something? Can you get a direct feedback on how your money is impacting the country as a whole, or are you happy with potentially funding work that is not being actively supported by the government of the developing nation as well. Ultimately we all talk about sustainability. What would be more sustainable then a government stable enough to be doing the work development organizations now do?! That should be the goal people, but can we rightfully claim our work means something if we are not empowering people to ensure they have a sustainable government before everything else?
Short of revolution, which will never happen because as a Kenyan friend of mine said in response to the notion of protesting: “Kenyans don’t walk,” and I doubt there is a development organization that provides transport stipends for revolution-related activities, I just don’t know what to do anymore. Sorry this seems so pessimistic and I know it has come across as unnaturally emotional for this blog, but I look around at so much potential here that can literally go up in flames in 2012 (reference to next Kenyan election year, not a horrible Hollywood flick), and I just die inside. Of course, that’s nothing compared to those individuals who will die, just like their relatives and friends did in 2008, when Kenyans once again turn against one another.
In one final bit of rage: LET’S LEARN FROM OUR PAST PEOPLE! AND WESTERNERS, STOP SUPPORTING FAILING GOVERNMENTS! HOW ARE WE FAILING MORE THAN NORTH KOREA!?!?
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