IN THE LAND NOT NAMED: A CLOWNS' PARADISE* (KATIKA NCHI ISIYOTAJWA: IPO PEPO YA WACHEKESHAJI) There is a land – not named – where clowns live. It is a land where life and everything that has to do with living revolve around clowns and indeed it involves clowns. In this land – not named yet – nothing serious is ever done, I mean nothing of a serious nature ever get done. Sometimes it appears as if something is being done but ultimately the people of the unnamed land realize that nothing has changed at all. It is here where clowns –big and small – live in a perpetual state of intense and ecstatic clowning. The audience of these clowns is also in a somewhat state of forever joy, enjoying unstopping entertainment from the sun-rising to sun-setting, come sun, rain, or hail. It is the paradise of clowns and those who love clowns! In this land –not named yet – anybody can become a clown! I mean anybody who love clowning that is. For this reason the art and science – if one may call it that – of clowning is a big business. It attracts the rich as well as the poor, the educated, uneducated, ill-educated and those miss-educated! The clowning business is an endeavor that in this land –not named- has become in some circles a family business. So you will find "a papa clown" as well as "mummy clown" clowning with the "little princess clown" and "Clown the Jr." They all dress up in their bright, sparkling and colorful clowning costumes of such a high quality materials - those of silk and cotton of course! Some comes from China and India! For those who have never seen a clown before I'll take a brief moment to introduce them to clowns and clowning. One dictionary defines a clown as "a comic performer, as in a circus, theatrical production, or the like, who wears an outlandish costume and makeup and entertains by pantomiming common situations or actions in exaggerated or ridiculous fashion, by juggling or tumbling, etc." Wikipedia describe them as "comic performers stereotypically characterized by the grotesque image of the circus clown's colored wigs, stylistic makeup, outlandish costumes, unusually large footwear, and red nose, which evolved to project their actions to large audiences." Thus, clowns can be recognized by the costumes they wear as well as their comic or comedic character of their actions and their excitement in entertaining others especially children. In many towns and cities around the world from many generations there have been clowns of all kinds. The most common features among them are their ability to make fun of things and situations of life, and their level of hilarious comedic performance. Some take clowning into a fulltime profession. . Some clowns -regardless of how they may appear when performing - indeed are certified and qualified professionals in different areas of arts and science of performance (acrobatic, music or theatrical to mention but a few). So clowns do dances, juggling, acrobatics, miming and mimicking and all other kinds of stage performance including and not limited to illusion. They sometimes combine their acts with magic where they make people believe things that are not there (and can never be there anyway)! In fact the best clowns usually are entertainingly smart, enjoyable and if I may say - charming! Some people do think that clowns are in fact "sexy"! I don't understand why. A picture of a typical clown is like this one below In an amazing twist of fate in this land – not named- clowns have become rulers! Not only have they become rulers but these clowns in this land hold various positions in government and in society. Some have become members of parliament - the so called "The House of Clowns" - while others have become or rather appointed by the Superior Clown to be ministers in their government. Other junior clowns hold various positions in the security forces and other intelligence agencies of the land - which is not named yet. Some have been trained to become academics of the highest caliber – so you will find these clowns in colleges and universities! However, in this land –still not named -where clowns live and reign nothing serious is ever done. I've already mentioned this; I mean nothing at all. It doesn't matter whether it involves education, energy or security of their state. How could anything ever get done in the land of the clowns? Wouldn't that be against the Clowns' Code of Conduct? Why would anybody expect something serious to ever get done by clowns if by doing it clowns would have to stop for moment and be serious? Isn't that like asking clowns to stop being clowns? The other thing I've learned about clowns is that they like praise and adulation from their audience! Without cheering, laughter, clapping and whistling clowns feel like they are not good at all. So they love to be praised and congratulated for their performances. The clowns in this land – well still not named – don't like to be reminded to take anything seriously. How could they? They are clowns for Heaven's sake! They are incapable of taking anything seriously. An argument can even be made that it is impossible for them to be serious because it is against the very nature of a clown! Can a monkey be trained not to jump from tree to tree while asking it to be the protector of a forest? So, if anybody were to try to yell at them, scream or try to remind them to take things seriously the most prominent clown (usually one of the senior clowns) might even refuse to perform for the audience until somebody start singing songs of praises of how good the clowns are! They love to see their policies - many of them 'failed policies' be praised and held to a high esteem otherwise, they would thing somebody is sabotaging them! So, if you see them in their House of Clowns a.k.a the Parliament you will be amazed by what it takes for them to debate something of a national importance. Imagine in this land – unnamed so far – where the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of their National Assembly (it is just the Assembly of Clowns!) both are eminent clowns what do you expect to see in the "People's House"? What if the whole government and its political elite are all made up from members of the Conference of Clowns Movement – the powerful clowns' organization in the land? Do you think anybody in that government or parliament would ever be serious on anything? Don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying that they (the clowns) cannot give serious and passionate speeches on any serious issue in the House. I don't mean you would never find some junior clowns somewhere in their ranks who can not articulate masterfully some issues with such intense sense of depth and knowledge. Oh no! You can find them indeed I'll assure you that there are many among them. Remember most clowns - young and old - are well educated in the various arts and sciences. So in this land – unnamed – there are clowns who are economists, engineers, teachers, or what have you. A clown can and may give a moving speech about the needs of energy independence as well as the need for comprehensive mining policy reform; others may give academic talks on the challenges of their country's economy as well as many other topics of their interests. Some clowns can talk so eloquently on issues of health, water, roads, schools et cetera! Unfortunately, to them all these are just mere performances, nothing less nothing more! Remember, they are clowns first and everything else is second! Unfortunately (or fortunately for the clowns), most clowns in power are elected. They are not imposed by anybody on the people. They come every five years, do a heart moving performances during campaigns and the people like them. They say "they are likable"! Any other candidate who seems to be very serious and does not like jesting or clowning will be seen as "not electable". Thus, the people choose the clowns and every five years the same very people who don't like clowning - or who complain a lot about clowns - go back and elect more clowns. Only, when things get serious do the people regret their choices but when given another chance they will go and elect another clown –sometimes returning a former clown to power - from the same organization (The Conference of Clowns Movement)! It baffles my mind! It is for this reason, this land – still not named – has become a clowns' paradise. Here, the clowns are safe; they can live in total sense of security, their pensions assurer, their allowances always increasing. These clowns have even created their own "Clowning Allowance" which recently I heard they tried to increase. Unfortunately for them the senior clown was not fully briefed. The other clowns I hear they are still mad at "Papa clown"! He is mad at them too for clowning too much! This land is a paradise for them and their children. They are safe here and secure and they can live in total control of their fate and with absolute power, the clowns rule with impunity. Nothing can shake them, nothing can intimidate them and nothing can make them stop clowning. Well, the very police force in the land is made up of some prominent Officer Clowns Corp! The police would do anything and everything to make sure the clowns live in safety. Any member of the audience complaining about clowns or clowning might get a visit from the Clowns' Police Constabulary. Most of them they are not afraid at all of losing or loosening their grip of power. Except in an election, when the people - I hear most of the citizens now in the land don't like clowns anymore - finally decide that they have had enough clowning. Unfortunately, the clowns are good at making the other people look bad and make their own selves believable and likable. They will use songs, and dances, food, and garments and funny speeches just to make the untrained voters thing "well why not another five more years of our popular clowns". So we have a Clowns' Paradise! A paradise where honey and milk flow! Where people all over the world want to go and nobody seems to know why! O' What a paradise, O' what a land! a Clowns' paradise! In the land – not named. By. M. M. Mwanakijiji (BGM) NB: * When the doctors strike began almost two weeks ago I spoke to a very dear friend of mine especially on the timidity and tepidity of the government's response. She said "Nchi yetu imekuwa a clowns' paradise". That term struck a chord with me. It all made sense and I promised her I would write a short essay based on that thought. This is a tribute to her! Thanks!