Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Is Einstein's Theory Right?

Supposedly, the Kardashians, are a global household name. They have to be because even Godfrey Kivumbi who is the chief editor at Silk Events has heard of them as has Barrack Obama and who according to his wife Michelle is not too keen on his daughters – Sasha and Malia watching their reality TV show. Whilst I have never seen the show, I did try calling up Mrs. M7 to find out if like Barrack Obama, M7 too is against his kids – Muhoozi, Natasha, Patience and Diana watching the show. She hasn’t gotten back to me. Perhaps she is busy in Karamoja? Or her Blackberry has issues?

The intro of the way, Albert Einstein once said: “Only two things are infinite. The universe and human stupidity and I am not sure about the former.” He has a point because today, there are things we do that simply defy human logic.

Take Minister Kahinda Otafire for example. Some years ago he got into a verbal onslaught with the late Mrs. Kuteesa at Fairway Hotel and sensing he was losing the argument, he pulled his Star pistol and held it to her head in a bid to gain the upper hand. Then there was Bright Young Man who shares his name with that of a local FM station and who got into an altercation at a popular Industrial Area nightclub. When he was thrown out, he walked to his 4x4 car, got in, revved it up and drove it through the main entrance and into the club! And finally, there was Young Man who was ditched by Girlfriend who used to work for a telecom company. Rather than just accepting he had been ditched, Young Man sold pictures of him and Girlfriend which by the way were very nude and very intimate to a local tabloid. Then he stole her Corsa car and torched it to a crisp on Owen Falls Dam if memory serves me correct.

Now Eritu is one of those people I have known since my days at WBS. He was a loyal and focused cameraman who worked alongside me when I was producing and directing Showtime Magazine. We were in Kabale and driving up the hill to White Horse Inn where we were to spend three nights. As we drove, we came up behind a prison’s pick-up transporting prisoners back to the goal. On the steep incline, the pick-up died which, was a godsend to one of the prisoners. He saw an opportunity, jumped off and slithered into the misty valley.

Prison Warder didn’t waste any time in cocking AK-47 and letting off a few rounds. Whether Prisoner was shot or not, that I don’t know.

Later in the evening, we were filming in a club called Earthquake when some soldier type chap came up demanding to know what we were doing. I wanted to assure and put him into his place but Eritu and suddenly no longer feeling weedy but ‘built up like Mike Tyson’ wanted to take him on. Above the Lucky Dube song ‘Ire’ that was belting out of the speakers and at such a decibel that it was next to impossible to hear yourself think or speak, you could make out the words “tumbavu, f**k, and malaya” as Eritu and Soldier Type Chap tussled it out.

I tried to restrain Eritu but the lanky chap from Teso wasn’t listening. Then things took a twist. “Just because you are from Kampala you think you can do what you want? Wait until you get outside” so Soldier Type Chap assured us. We laughed him off.
When it was time to go, there he was outside the club brandishing an AK-47. Upon seeing us, he let off a round of bullets. I cowardly disappeared back into the club and sought refuge behind the speakers and Eritu, the next time I saw him, was back at White Horse Inn. There he gave me a colourful story of how he stood his ground, assured Soldier Type Chap and called him every vile name under the sun. He Eritu, had triumphed.

But there was a glitch in his story. The following day and in my room, I was reviewing the material we had shot the previous day on a small monitor. Unknown to Eritu, he had the camera rolling as we exited Earthquake and rather than seeing footage of him standing his ground and assuring Soldier Type Chap and calling him every vile name under the sun, it was footage of a cowardly and distraught Eritu running for dear life and taking cover in a ditch with the camera facing him. With the sound of bullets being squeezed off ringing in the background, Eritu is seen weeping, begging for forgiveness and saying his last funeral rites.

It was 1989. Off The Old Kent Road in South London there used to be a club called Ziggy. While I had heard of it – well sort off, what I didn’t know is that it was a place for hardcore Rasta’s, it was a place where hardcore contraband drugs exchanged hands and it was an illegal club in a building marked for demolition.

I went there on a Friday and straight from work with Dale who while of West Indian origin, was not a Rasta. That Friday, Ziggy’s was steaming. Rasta’s were grinding their groins into women on the walls. ‘Splifs’ (ok dad, for your benefit, a splif means a ‘joint’. But then again do you know what a ‘joint’ is? Hmm, I am in a fix here. A joint or a splif is a rolled up cigarette that contains tobacco and a contraband drugs like cannabis or Moroccan Black) were being inhaled while heavy reggae music from the likes of Peter Tosh and Dennis Brown filled the air.

But I stood out. I stood out because I was wearing a work suit, didn’t have a Rasta hairstyle, and had no clue of what ‘Jah rastafari’ or ‘five-O’ meant. I think, I am not too sure, but I think Jah rastafari means God is great? ‘Five-O’ means police and is derived from the cult 70s TV series, Hawaii Five-O.

Getting back, at the bar I got strange looks from the barman when I declined a bottle of Red Stripe, the favoured beer drink for anybody who is a Rasta or anybody who came from the West Indies. Apart from that, they ‘body checked’ me and those guys could really body check to a point that it actually hurt my shoulders whenever they did it.

Feeling rather uncomfortable, I told Dale that I ought to leave. Dale was against it because as he said: “If you go now, hell will break out.” I should have listened but I didn’t.

Outside and with an autumn breeze blowing, I stood by the entrance trying to figure out what to do next. But I really didn’t have the time to figure out what to do next because Rasta Men did it for me. They surrounded, took me behind Elephant and Castle tube station where, the larger of the three Rasta Men produced a knife. On second thoughts, it was not a knife. Rather it looked like a machete, the sort of machetes that the men use to cut sugarcane at Kakira sugar plantation.

My first reaction? I was being mugged. My second reaction? I was being mugged. My third reaction? They want sodomise me then slice me up. Yes, am sure they wanted to do just that! I should have known better than to hangout in Elephant and Castle, an area that was notorious for drug related killings.

In thick West Indian accents they asked me a number of questions that were centred round my being a police informant. With a mouth filled with gold bling coated teeth, Rasta Man held up the machete of a knife and rifled through my pockets and seemingly satisfied, he chilled out on me.

As I walked to the mini cab office, I looked back at them. Did they really have to produce a machete and rough me up to find out if I was a police informant? Why did they not just ask me? Was it right for Otafire to pull out his Star pistol to take on a defenceless Mrs. Kutesa over a simple argument? Did Bright Young Man who shares his name with a local FM station really have to drive his 4x4 car into a nightclub because he was thrown out? And did Soldier Type chap have to let off an entire magazine of bullets on Eritu simply because we were filming in a club?

Einstein was correct when he said: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity and I am not sure about the latter.” If only Muhammad Gadaffi had heeded Einstein’s words, I suppose he would have been alive today.