Pop quiz: Habari Gani, everyone?
You're right-- it depends! I can never pull anything over on you people.
Pierre and I have worried for years now that Kwanzaa has been fading from view. It started in 1966, and I remember a couple friends celebrating in middle school, and then it seemed to lose steam. Or maybe I just need to get with the program.
Anyway. Not one to sit idly by as meritorious customs fall away, Pierre and I rushed--rushed-- to the craft store to help save Kwanzaa. Sure, I spent 6 hours weaving a tiny clay basket, forming and painting clay fruits and gluing and pinning a tiny dashiki (not to mention getting Pierre to sit still for 2 minutes), but I learned all sorts of interesting...and troubling things in the process.
Kwanzaa takes a lot of flak for being a "fake" holiday. Totally made up. Not based in fact. Unlike Christmas, an Eternal Truth contained in Jesus' last breath on earth, which Santa carried up to Heaven in a sleigh. Or Chanukah, which we all know is the most important day of the Jewish calendar, and has rested immutably at the center of a 5,000 year old tradition.
But I digress. Having read at least 67% of OfficialKwanzaaWebsite.org I feel like I'm on Kwanzaa's side. A celebration of pan-African unity, cooperative economics and fresh produce? And after this tumultuous year? Who's gonna stand against that??
Well, this blowhard, it would seem... and this windbag. But something that Blowhard said caught my attention: Kwanzaa's founder, Blowhard types, served prison time for assault-- acts of torture against women. Blerf.
Assuming this is true, let's call it what it is. I'll leave a blank here, and you can insert whatever you like: _________________________. Vile? Abhorrent? Unforgivable? Monstrous? One can hardly choose a suitable adjective.
And then...and then we have to consider the terrible villains whose cars we drive, whose poisons we pedal, whose complex lives we absorb and overlook and wrestle with, and upon whose teachings we build our own imperfect moral codes.
So in the spirit of the season, I wish you much umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith) in the coming year. And let us say: Amen.