In the East African and here are the links:
“When they still couldn’t get information from me they decided to put paprika pepper inside my private parts. We were ordered to lie down on the open area inside the Ruthigiti post. No one held us down, but guards stood over us with guns. We were ordered to separate our legs with our knees raised. Failure to comply invited ruthless beating. Then a bottle full of a mixture of pepper and water was inserted into my birth canal and the contents emptied inside me. As the bottle was being emptied, it was held in place with the heel of a booted foot. After the pepper was inside of me, it is impossible for anyone to imagine the torment. The burning could be felt everywhere, in the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and all over. It happened that the previous day, the day we were arrested, a lady named Watiri had been given the same treatment, only her mixture had been made from pepper and petrol. It was fortunate that the vehicle had left by the time my mixture was being prepared. After this treatment I was later carried to where Watiri was still lying groaning in agony and vomiting.”- From an interview with a Kikuyu woman published in the book Imperial Reckoning: the Untold Story of the British Gulag.
I thin history can be a dangerous thing. Its whole arc is filled with bodies and torture, wars with no meaning and humans with no humanity. It’s easy in the face of all the things human beings did to each other to conclude that we are getting better as a species. We may be now that we can record our histories and flinch at the mistakes and the atrocities of the ones who came before, now we can say “never again” knowing exactly what happened and conduct studies and study historical and economic trends to let ourselves know why it happened. Today is the 20th of October 2013. This has been a Kenyan holiday for 49 years now. The date has been important since 1952 which is when the British government declared a state of emergency in Kenya. They did this ostensibly to deal with the Mau Mau menace that was demanding land and freedom. I have been reading the British Gulag for the last couple of weeks and I couldn’t resist the symbolism in doing a final push this morning and finishing it on Kenyatta Mashujaa Day. It is a book after all about the response to the Mau Mau that gave us this holiday.
One thing about history that is dangerous is the fact that it inspires anger in us. I sat down and read this book about atrocities that happened more than half a century ago and I would get pissed . It’s impossible to read a passage like the one quoted above without getting angry. It’s impossible to realise just how dehumanised the Kikuyu were during the emergency, to read about the torture, the summary procedures used to incarcerate them, the overt racist tones of the “civilising mission” of the British empire without getting angry. I sometimes wonder how it feels to be from one of the countries in the world that in the last 100 years have had policies that are evil. I wonder how Germans of this generation feel when they think about the Jews, how Belgians feel about Congo, the French about Algeria. I don’t have this burden to carry around. My country is too young to have significant blood on its hands though as all countries do we will probably correct that as soon as we can. There probably is some overhanging guilt because of the biblical and cultural belief that we should be held responsible for the sins of our parents to the fourth generation, but maybe they don’t. Maybe they have their heads on right and realise that what happened before they were born in the names of their grandparents isn’t something that they should feel guilty about. I’m not sure emotions work that way. I’m not even kikuyu and this book moved me to anger. Perhaps that’s the human response maybe everyone who reads it nowadays will be moved to anger by it. Be angry at the sins of the past instead of trying in some ineffectual way to apologise or make up for it.
I can’t remember the figures exactly because I kept forgetting to bookmark these places but I believe that at the height of the emergency nearly 12,000 suspected Mau Mau were held in the pipeline. The pipeline was the name given to the series of prisons built to punish and reform the Mau Mau. They were put in the first jail and separated into blacks and greys depending on their Mau Mau indoctrination. Then they were beaten and tortured, one guy was held upside down and sand poured down his anus and water too so that there was mud in there and then it was forced down. There were castrations, there were beating by hand and sticks, with whips and whatever else came to hand. All this in order to get them to confess to being Mau Mau. It reminds me of a quote from Adolf Hitler, “““the greatest of spirits can be liquidated if its bearer is beaten to death with a rubber truncheon.” Once they confessed they could be moved down the pipeline with an eye towards release to the greater population.
In addition to this almost 1.5 million kikuyu were moved from where they lived and put up in villages with barbed wire fences. Practical prisons for practically all of the kikuyu population. They had no freedom. There was a time set aside for collecting food, if you couldn’t at that time for whatever reason you and your family starved. They were worked like slaves not on anything grand or inspiring but on pointless busy work designed to waste their time. The settlers would blacken their face sometimes so as to blend in and better surprise the population when they began shooting. Shooting people indiscriminately for no reason at all with no risk of repercussions. There would be rapes sodomy and forced fellatio.
“The sick child would be strapped to your back while you worked, being burnt by the hot sun. It was like we were in slavery. You would dig like everybody else the whole day…. You would be so busy at work, trying to finish your task, and go home to look for food with which to feed your other children that by the time you realized that the child hadn’t cried for some time and decided to bring it to your front from your back to check its condition, you would find that the child had been dead awhile. You would start screaming in shock and anguish. Only then would the Home Guards order some others to come and help you bury the child.”
The Kapenguria six, Jomo Kenyatta, Bildad Kaggia, Achieng Oneko, Kungu Karuba, Paul Ngei, and Fred Kubai were locked up far away from everyone else. In the desert to the north of the country. They didn’t have as hard a time as the people in the other camps did, maybe because one of their deaths would resonate across the press and questions could not be so easily deflected when one of six died as opposed to one of 12,000 and even more commonly one of 1.5 million. However as Jomo Kenyatta wrote.
“There are more subtle ways of breaking a widely-travelled man whose life had been rich, and dedicated, and full of promise: the psychology of nothingness, the impeccable correctness of prison discipline and nomenclature, like a slap of contempt, the absence of human contact, slow passage of remorseless days of torridity and dust and meaningless surroundings. There was nothing green, nothing cool, nothing creative, nothing demanding, nothing at all.”
One of Mr Kenyatta’s children became a “surrender”. This was the term given to someone locked up in the Mau Mau camps who would be broken by torture and hard work and would finally confess to being Mau Mau. They would then (some of them) completely change sides. They would join right in with the torture of their former brothers. You see not all the torture and atrocities were carried out by the white settlers. There were also the home guards and the surrenders. Loyalist kikuyu who would mete out punishments as horrible as those from the settlers. Power went to their heads. There was torture, there was rape, there were killings and horrible beatings. Land was stolen and a whole host of other things. I read it wondering why they would do this to their own people. It remains a truth of life that people don’t only mistreat people who are different. It has happened all through history that there have always been people who would be willing to sell out their family, their tribe, their humanity for power and riches. It wasn’t different in Kenya during the emergency and a lot of them prospered from their sins. Carol Elkins had one explanation that painted them in the shades of grey that all human beings deserve:
Home Guards were ordered by their white commanding officers to beat and torture the local villagers, and failure to comply would mean a beating identical to that which they could not bring themselves to administer. In the face of this pressure, and considering the rewards that accompanied compliance, it is easy to understand why many loyalists were willing participants in the torture of villagers, demonstrating their active support for the colonial government.
In the same spirit perhaps it’s important to try and put myself in the settler’s shoes for one paragraph. Their way of life was being threatened. All that they thought they had worked for and deserved was being threatened by the independence movements gaining currency all over the world. The Mau Mau symbolised everything that they had come to fear about Africa and Africans. The oathing ceremony included body parts from animals and a throwback to a religion that because they had never tried to understand they greatly feared. The methods of the Mau Mau were sudden and violent. It wasn’t formed to facilitate dialogue but to show what happens when dialogue had been thrown away as not necessary. However it was formed in response to years of colonisation and all the attendant evils that accompany it. Slavery and the stealing of land, the loss of freedom and dignity, the eroding of culture and the loss of identity. Of course it would be extreme.
The book follows the treatment of the Mau Mau threat from the beginning of the emergency until its end. Looking at life in the different camps, the reaction of the prisoners and the British press to what was happening. The prisoners found ways of smuggling out letters to whoever they could detailing all the shit they were put through in the concentration camps to which they were consigned and as happens news of what had been going on filtered out, making its ways into dozens of British newspapers and labour politician’s mouths. Despite this however there was no mass outcry from the British public. Perhaps they had their own problems it is hard to care about things happening halfway around the world to people who in your heart of hearts you aren’t sure are human deserving your sympathy.
The emergency eventually came to an end. There was a period of officially sanctioned torture. Beatings on a scale unprecedented until then to make the Mau Mau confess. They did and some were released. There were proper elections and the party that won and has rued ever since campaigned on the promise that they wouldn’t take their seats unless Jomo Kenyatta was released. Which he was.
In a broadcast speech to another massive crowd, the country’s president declared, “Let this be the day on which all of us commit ourselves to erase from our minds all the hatreds and the difficulties of those years which now belong to history. Let us agree that we shall never refer to the past. Let us instead unite, in all our utterances and activities, in concern for the reconstruction of our country and the vitality of Kenya’s future.” In other words, there would be no day of reckoning for the crimes committed during Mau Mau, no memorializing of those Mau Mau men and women who had fought in the forests and died in the camps and villages. There would be no prosecutions against former loyalists, and certainly not against any of the British colonial officers or settlers, many of whom continued to live a very privileged life in Kenya.
We don’t know why he said this, why this was the path that he chose. On the surface it looks noble, a man who wanted to forgive the hurts of the past in order to build the future. The reason that Kenyatta is not held in the same awe as Mandela however is what followed this pronouncement. All the years of self-enrichment and iron control of the country put a suspect motive on his actions. However,
Had Kenyatta recognized Mau Mau as a legitimate nationalist uprising that drove the British out of Kenya, where would this have left all of Kenya’s other ethnic groups when it came time to parcel out the fruits of independence? One way around this potentially explosive issue was to erase Mau Mau from the public’s memory and replace it with the politically correct and widely embracing message: “We all fought for freedom.” With Kenyatta’s politicized spin on the truth, every Kenyan had a claim to make on the past and therefore the right to share in the benefits of independence.
So maybe he did it all to unite us as Kenyans. After all if he had let loose the dogs of war on the settlers who had committed so much crime those same dogs would have come after the home guard, the loyalist kikuyu who had collaborated, his own son. Maybe he realised that a country shouldn’t begin its life in the middle of a bloodbath. It may have been the best thing for this country even though it’s the first instance in the history of the country where Kenyans are encouraged to do that thing that becomes a huge characteristic of ours: forget. Forget who hurt you and why, forget who stole from you, forget who killed you. Forget, forget, forget, this is the way we handle national traumas to this day and maybe it all stemmed from a speech by the old man.
The old man who christened the day of the beginning of the emergency Kenyatta Day ensuring that he would be remembered more fondly than the Mau Mau are. In one of those twists of history that happen so often you think someone must be planning this stuff, one former governor of Kenya came to see Kenyatta 2 years after independence.
Baring was uncharacteristically nervous as he visited his old office, especially because Kenyatta was standing just opposite him. Indeed, what do you possibly say to a man whose trial you rigged and who, because of your signature, spent years of his life banished to a desert wasteland? There was no avoiding the subject, so after some initial pleasantries the former jailor turned to his onetime captive, gestured, and said, “By the way, I was sitting at that actual desk when I signed your detention order twenty years ago.” “I know,” Kenyatta told him. “If I had been in your shoes at the time I would have done exactly the same.” The nervousness evaporated, and the room erupted in relieved laughter. With everyone still chuckling, the new president chimed in, “And I have myself signed a number of detention orders sitting right there too.” As the two later strolled through the gardens admiring the Naivasha thorns that Baring’s wife, Mary, had planted years before, Kenya’s jails were already beginning to fill up with detainees whom the new independent government deemed threats to the country’s young democracy.
Bad things happened and they shouldn’t be forgotten. They happened all through the history of our country even when it wasn’t a country but that seems to be what history is, a collection of all the bad things human beings did to each other. Forgiving is important and I think that most Kenyans have figured out a way to do this most gracious of acts but forgetting is foolish. Georg Hegel once said that the only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history. This may be because we don’t try enough but if we completely forget; if we take Kenyatta’s words to heart then we will prove Hegel right again and again. So this Mashujaa day remember some of the heroes that gave their lives for our freedom.
Recently I self-diagnosed myself. I had a rash on the bends of my elbow it was a series of many, many pimples, some black in colour, some the same colour as my skin. They would appear and, after a while, disappear. There would be scarring and then that too would disappear. Sometimes they would be on the left hand sometimes on the right hand, sometimes on neither though this was very rare. Even when they disappeared there was always a scar that remained to remind me that they would be back. Also they itch, they itch like crazy. It’s easy to ignore them after a while because; they disappear, they aren’t on a body part that is always shown to the elements and they aren’t killing me but it’s still a disease and prudence dictates that I go to the doctor but i haven’t and I probably won’t. I know its eczema, my sister has it and my brother has it. It’s something in our genes that makes this rash appear. Something in the way our father’s and mother’s blood mixed, something in the genes of their grandparents that led to us having this disease. It’s easy to forget but it’s always there ready to crop up until the moment when I take it seriously enough to seek a dermatologist.
In this world facts are never simple even if they can be reduced to numbers. The beginning of the story always stretches so much further than we can really summarise especially if it’s historical. The story I want to write about is the ICC and Uhuru Kenyatta(unless context otherwise demands whenever I say Uhuru Kenyatta or the President it also includes William Ruto the Deputy President.) In 2007 ostensibly due to a disputed and rigged election violence broke out in Kenya which had previously been an “island of tranquillity.” What most people didn’t realise is that violence broke out after elections in 1997 and violence broke out after elections in 1992, it was a story that had happened before but never so severely. Why did violence break out? It wasn’t because of a bungled election it was because of historical injustices that had never been resolved. It was because of unfair land allocation that stretches back before independence to the British settlers. It was because there are some people who recognise what chaos and mistrust do for them, it makes power easier to grab and opportunities more exploitable. It was because of the scramble of Africa and the shorthand separation of a continent into borderlines. But even before that the story can be found beginning in the industrial revolution and in the migration patterns of Bantu agriculturalists and Nilotic herdsmen.
In 1998 the Rome Statute was signed. This brought into being (on the ratification by enough member states in 2002) the International Criminal Court. The necessity for this stretches back a long time. The world saw a need for a special court to try crimes that had an effect on a whole nation and on our common humanity. There had already been the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia after the blood shed there in the 90’s. The world’s powers began to realise that this reactionary way of handing crimes against humanity was extremely myopic. But it starts even further back with the Nuremberg Tribunals after the holocaust which goes even further back to the ineffectuality of the League of Nations and the unfairness of the Treaty of Versailles and further back than that even.
The story as it is now, well according to some people, is very simple. Uhuru Kenyatta is suspected of committing crimes against humanity and he should face trial for these crimes. It doesn’t matter that he’s president, it was a job he sought knowing what was facing him. He acknowledged in fact that such “personal issues” were not as important to the people of Kenya as the right to self-determination. This is where he flipped the script, turned it over and burned it down crafting his own story about what was happening. Here are the facts of that story; since the ICC was formed it has indicted 23 individuals for crimes against humanity. All of them, all of them, are African. They come from Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Cote D Voire and Libya. In the meantime there have been wars all over the world. There is a drone program being run from America that stands on shaky, shaky ground legally. Tortures, renditions, summary executions and invasions of foreign states have marked the American response to the war on terror. Assad in Syria is suspected by the whole world to have used chemical weapons against his own people in a civil war that has dragged on for years and killed more than 100,000 people. Israel has continued killing and mistreating Pakistani civilians with impunity and in the midst of all this war and carnage the only 23 people who have committed crimes against humanity are from Africa. This according to our president is “race-hunting.”
We have two conflicting stories. The impunity of the political class in Africa and the racist imperialism of the people holding the purse strings in the ICC (both of these of course are alleged.)
Uhuru Kenyatta told his version of events to the AU summit on Saturday. He stood up below his “fellow excellencies” and gave a speech that touched on themes and experiences that almost all Africans can relate to. He talked about structural colonialism and the path the west has taken in dealing with Africa. He accused the criminal court of race-hunting while talking about the promise of the future of Africa. He gave a pan-Africanist speech appealing to our basic desire to determine our own futures. The statistics are damning. It does seem like the ICC on the face of it is an inherently racist organisation and in their failure to put forward an alternative to these charges and this interpretation of their actions I fear they will fail as a court. After all justice must not only be done it must also be seen to be done.
And there is the problem, justice. People died in Kenya. People were raped, people were burned, and people were forcibly deported. These things happened, they happened 6 years ago and we think we can forget about them because now it’s just a small itch. Those wounds hide just below the surface and they can come to light fully formed and breaking out all over the skin of our nation if we do not pay them the attention they deserve. The situation in Kenya was dire then. People had lost faith in their systems. The government was given chance after chance to put together a local tribunal to try the people who would be accused of being most responsible for the violence. It failed. The people in the government then are people in the government now. Our president was in the executive and wielded immense power as the political leader of the Kikuyu and the Kalenjin people. But he wasn’t our president then. He was Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto. They did not do enough to boost confidence in our judiciary or to set up systems that the citizens could be satisfied with. And when the last chance had passed it was not a stern European dreaming of his by-gone days of colonial glory that recommended the case be put forward to the ICC, it was Kofi Annan. One of the most prominent and respected statesmen Africa has ever produced. People in Kenya now will accuse any civil society organisation that demands the cases go forward of boot-licking, can anyone with any clear conscience put the same charge to Mr Annan?
But, things have changed since Kofi Annan was last in Kenya. The presidential “we” came to power. Their unity symbolising the forgiveness and healing that had happened in Kenya over the last 5 years. These were after all the leaders of the two tribes that had most ferociously gone to war with each other and here they stood smiling and laughing, convincing their constituents to give their brothers a chance. We had a mostly peaceful election. We went to the courts and we had a Supreme Court decision that was respected. This is not the same Kenya where a chief justice swears in a president under the cover of darkness. Things are different. The elections show that Kenyans were ready to accept a president with this dark cloud of the ICC hanging over his head. We may not all want to think so but his victory was the voice of a country. The voice of a people saying that we want you as a leader no matter what anyone else would have us believe about you. Vox populi vox dei as the Deputy President said during his victory speech, the voice of the people is the voice of God.
He is now president and as has been said many, many times it is humiliating to have a president answer charges before a court. The voice of God spoke in his selection while there was no similar sound in the selection of the judges. A question that isn’t asked enough though may be whether it’s more humiliating to have a president who is alleged to have committed crimes against humanity than one who is appearing before a criminal court. The Kenyan answer seems to be no.
There are to my mind at least two trials going on with the ICC case. The trial of the president for his alleged crimes against humanity and the trial of the ICC for their alleged racist and imperialist tendencies. One of them tells the story of a country that went to the brink of disaster. A country that asked for help and received it and then failed to help itself. It is a simple court trial. The judges will try their best not to be influenced by outside considerations and they will try to act in as isolated manner as justice demands. The structure of the court seems determined to keep on with their path. Telling a lifeless story about impunity and thousands of dead, Salman Rushdie wrote in Midnight’s Children that we are unable to conceptualise numbers over 1,001. Stalin famously said that one death is a tragedy, 1 million is a statistic. The court is dealing with statistics. While this may help them with the first case they are trying there is the other one.
These numbers can be conceptualised, 23 indictees. 23 of them African. Simple story. Familiar story. History is filled with stories of the rape and plunder of Africa. People in Africa know about powerlessness, they know about having their fates determined by people from elsewhere. We know about not having enough autonomy to draw our own borders and we know about foisted economic policies that help those doing the foisting more than they help us. We know about the stealing of natural resources and we know about Patrice Lumumba. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Uhuru’s speech to the AU was peppered with quotes from Americans and Englishmen about the ICC.
“The British foreign secretary Robin Cook said at the time, that the International Criminal Court was not set up to bring to book Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom or Presidents of the United States. Had someone other than a Western leader said those fateful words, the word ‘impunity’ would have been thrown at them with an emphatic alacrity.
An American senator serving on the foreign relations committee echoed the British sentiments and said, “Our concern is that this is a court that is irreparably flawed, that is created with an independent prosecutor, with no checks and balances on his power, answerable to no state institution, and that this court is going to be used for politicized prosecutions.”
The ICC does not seem interested in putting up a defence in this trial. The African Union decided that Uhuru’s trial should be postponed, that we could not have a sitting head of state appear before a criminal tribunal. Self-determination and breaking the shackles of colonialism, being taken seriously at the table of the world, having their voices and their opinions count, these are all the admirable things that they want. Things that we all do and this issue serves this purpose. Success is not even necessary. They can appear before the Security Council and be turned down, appear before the UN and not have their resolution pass, attempt to modify the Rome Statute and fail. Every one of these steps will lead towards a conviction of the ICC on its charge of imperialism and racism. With no defence put up the world will side with the only person whose story has been told. After all the Chinese know about colonialism too, the Asians do, the South Americans too. This is a story that can resonate all around the world as long as it’s the only story being told.
As for the other trial. Justice is important. Horrible things happened in Kenya and our capacity as Kenyans to sweep things under the carpet, to forget how much of our land was stolen in the 60’s, how much of our money in the 70’s, how much of our dignity in the 80’s, how much of our fighting spirit in the 90’s, how much of our hope in the 00’s may result in a rash too large to treat. Justice needs to be done. 1,200 tragedies occurred in our country and this is something that people seem to forget. I don’t know how to heal those wounds. Jacob Zuma spoke about how the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions helped South Africa but I am not sure how healed South Africa is. At the same time, as any African who has had a hard time finding someone who knows how to shave his hair when away from home will tell you, you cannot simply import foreign ideas and hope they will work.
Justice though is not a foreign concept. I fear that we will fail to impart justice to those who most need it. In such a situation the person we should be rousing ourselves most to protect is not one of the richest men in Kenya. It is not the most powerful man in the country and his deputy. It is not the kind of person who can give a speech before the assembled African heads of state and have them agreeing with all the points he puts to them. The one who needs justice is the one who cannot talk because he is buried beneath the ground, the one who owns nothing because it was taken away from him, the one who is sick today because of what was done to her years ago. They deserve justice too. They deserve justice especially. A question then is how it can be served to them and this is the question that I want an answer to. Because after all justice must not only be seen to be done it must be done too.
I lost my phone on a Thursday and replaced the sim-card on a Tuesday. I had another phone by the Saturday but a lot of events conspired to make it so that I couldn’t make it to the airtel customer care place in order to replace it. On Monday the phone was still on. I would call and there would be a ringing, I even sent a message to the thief worded as diplomatically as I could,
“Hello, you seem to have my phone or at least my sim-card, by the fact that it’s still on I can tell you do not have morally suspect motives for keeping it so could you reply and tell me where we can meet and do this exchange.”
As you can imagine this came to naught. On Tuesday I walked into the airtel office, handed over my id and got a new sim-card at the cost of 50 shillings. It took me all of a day to realise that there was something wrong with this sim-card, I could not receive calls. Everything else worked, I could call, I could text but I couldn’t receive calls.
I tried to call the zain customer care offices but they never put me through to a human being which is a bitch move zain. I mean, never, it didn’t matter what time of the night or day I would call this guy with the automated voice would tell me that all of their customer care executives were busy. I heard this line so much I know the tone, I recall the inflective dip at the “our”, his slight English accent pisses me off and I know that its press 8 to go to the previous menu and # to go to main menu. I know that as soon as I call I will get a lecture on their call prices that I have to sit through before I can do anything and I hate it, I hate it all.
As the days went by with my problem unfixed a couple of other things became clear to me. It was clear that i would rather not hear that voice again than be able to receive calls. It was clear too that I kind of liked having a phone like this. It made me feel vaguely like a spy, or Soviet Russia who you don’t call, she calls you. I liked the faux-unavailability that was open to me, I had a phone but only when I wanted to. I could talk to people but only who I wanted to and when I wanted to. I relished the freedom.
I also realised that I hadn’t put any credit in the phone for days and days. I had been calling helter-skelter. I had been texting and texting and my credit wasn’t running out. I thought that maybe there was a connection between this and the fact that I couldn’t receive calls. In fact I was sure of it and began to enjoy my limitless credit facilities. I called when I wanted and gave no mind to how long I talked. I loved it. Though the fact that I thought this and thought it seriously makes me question the calibre of people who can attain la degrees.
Soon my spending days were over and I had to buy me some credit. I bought a 50 bob, put it in and tried to call wherein I was told that I needed to put in another 50 bob to replace my kopa credo loan. It was then that I realised that whoever had stolen my phone had kopad and used the credit for his own furtherment. That made more sense than thinking I wasn’t being charged because they weren’t doing me the service of allowing me to receive calls.
That problem was fixed too pretty soon. Went into the customer care in town, handed over my phone to a pretty lady who looked at it for a while and called the guy who fixes such problems, the guy touched it for all of ten seconds and handed it back saying it was fine. Leaving me to hear the lady dreamily say of him,
“He has magic hands.”