THE RIGHT NOT TO SPEAK and Kisoro’s Gorillas

Unless you have investigated a problem, you will be deprived of the right to speak on it. Isn’t that too harsh? Not in the least. When you have not probed into a problem, into the present facts and its past history, and know nothing of the essentials, whatever you say about it will undoubtedly be nonsense. Talking nonsense solves no problems, as every body knows, so why is it unjust to deprive you of your right to speak? Quite a few comrades always keep their eyes shut and talk nonsense, and for a Comrade that is disgraceful. How can a comrade keep his eyes shut and talk nonsense?

It won’t do!

IT won’t do!

You must investigate !

You must not talk nonsense!

It was with the above that Chairman Mao Tse-tong addressed Comrades emphasizing a strong opposition to book worship and reactionary tendencies by comrades in 1930. Long after the death of Chairman Mao, his teaching remains more relevant as more and more comrades are shutting their eyes and talking nonsense. Its is even more terrible that their words of nonsense are quickly followed by action to cement the nonsense in infamy. I will not discuss the merits or demerits of the refusal of some comrades to accept blood donation by well meaning Ugandans; enough has been said of that topic.

There has been this picture doing the rounds of some, unfortunately feeding fodder for the reactionary chaps, Caucasian tourists perched on some contraption carried by the natives around the Kisoro area. That the natives voluntarily devised this means of transportation for people who are visiting gorillas does not matter to these armchair reactionists! “Abomination,” They cry!! “These are hallmarks of colonialists!” It would have been easy for me to shoot their arguments using the legal maxim, “volenti non fit injuria” meaning to one who is willing no harm is done. But this would let them off easy and undermine the raison de etre, reason of existence, for that means of transportation.AMIN

Lazily one could also argue that the method was demystified by Field Marshall Dr, VC, DSO, CBE, Al Hajji Idi Amin. This would however be simplistic and would not sufficiently underscore the gravity which necessitates that mode of transportation while visiting the gorillas of Kisoro.

When you visit Kabale you begin a windy journey up the hill. You go round and round and soon when you reach the roads you marvel the beauty of the curvy hills. Then you will still climb some more. You get so high up to whichever park you are visiting. Bwindi is elevated at a height of between 1160 Metres to 2,607 Metres above sea level; 60% of the park is above 2000 Metres. For the purposes of comparison Pajule is 1085 Metres above sea level.  But this is not the challenge; the challenge is the terrain of Bwindi and the habitat, culture and practice of these gorillas.

The gorillas love to sit down at the bottom of an incredibly steep, treacherous, wet, slippery almost impossible to climb route. The only means of getting down is by two feet. Even horses cannot get down there. Then there are innumerable challenges at the bottom; exhaustion peaks and you curse your folly of getting down there to say hello to gorillas. Every step on the return is real blood sweat and tears. The lips are dry yet the air is humid. There is shortness of breath and muscle fatigue. The option is to fall down and give up the ghost.IMG_20161203_094644.jpg

Amidst the slippery ferns and coniferous plants are algae and treacherous roots. And I exaggerate not. We can go on and on about the risks and challenges at the bottom. The locals saw an opportunity and since they are more acclimatized to the conditions, the terrain and the climatic conditions made a human transport company to save adventurers who find themselves down in the ravine. And it does not come cheap 300 USD!

From my experience there is no excuse to sneer at the locals attempt to tap into these desperate conditions. Its there energy, its their sweat and they are uniquely positioned to offer the service. Like how the Pajuleans say, “abalo pa anga?