RIP Charles Ouda: Dear Ciru Muriuki, we have failed you…
It continues to be a difficult time for the Ouda family and media personality Ciru Muriuki following the sudden death of actor Charles Ouda, fondly referred to as Charlie by friends and fans. Their grief is immense and still raw.
His untimely death on the night of February 3, 2024, dealt a blow to the entertainment industry and Kenyans who enjoyed decades worth of his performances on legendary movie productions such as Makutani Junction and Salem, alongside his television hosting gigs on various stations.
He will be missed, terribly.
And while his loved ones continue mourning him, a disturbing trend has emerged. A section of Kenyans abandoned their humanity and embraced cruelty; and targeted the deceased’s fiancée, Ms Muriuki.
Without any information regarding the sudden death, all guns were trained on Ciru as some people unfairly blamed her for Charlie’s death.
Where did Kenyans’ empathy for the bereaved go to?
Strangers who have nothing to do with either Charlie or Ciru, who know nothing about their lives, their relationship, their mental health status basically anything to do with them- suddenly had paragraphs of biased opinions to write on their social media pages.
This tragedy must have never become fodder for netizens to ‘Like-Farm’ on social media and go viral using the shock factor.
Where has our empathy gone to? Where is our compassion for Ciru who lost the love of her life just six months after receiving a marriage proposal?
Where is our understanding of her pain as she faces a future without Charlie, with whom she shared dreams and hopes? Where is our empathy for Ciru’s shattered heart?
Are some Kenyans simply callous to think death will only visit Ciru’s door and not theirs? Are they immortal? Are they detectives who processed a crime scene to ‘know’ she killed him? Are these Kenyans too perfect to think that other people may be struggling with unspoken issues they just want to get rid of?
Empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings, thoughts and experiences of another person, putting yourself in their shoes – is the most basic thing humans were created with.
To these people assigning blame to Ciru, insulting and trolling her on social media, were you born in labs?
Manufactured in Petri dishes?
We have failed Ciru as a society.
We have failed Charlie’s family by allowing such conversations to have space on our social media. We have failed as a country to have social media bullying regulated.
We have failed as a society by having dark hearts that only think of ‘me, myself and I’ before remembering you will need someone down the line.
Death is inevitable and indiscriminate. This week it knocked at Ciru’s door, next week it may be yours.
You lacked empathy this time around, let’s see what karma has in store for you- it has a way of balancing the scales.
To the trolls and ‘Judge Judys’, the simplest gesture you should have offered was to offer your condolences, say a silent prayer for the bereaved and move on.
If you trolled or insulted Ciru, you had no reason to.
No one needed your snarky comments and bullish sentiments.
Let us reflect on our collective failure to uphold empathy and kindness, especially in moments of grief. Let us strive to be better, to offer support instead of judgment, and to remember that our words have consequences.