Saturday, January 05, 2008
Much ado about Kenya
No. I was not ignoring the pandemonium in Kenya or pretending it wasn't happening. I was merely watching on the side lines to see how it played out!
At first I thought it was an exaggeration...like when they said there was chaos in Zambia after the last elections and that there was violence... which turned out to be just a few people beating each other up and burning some tires in one of the slums! Big frigging deal!!! It turned out Kenya was the real deal!
There have been countless numbers of articles on Kenya in the past week ranging from Obama being half Kenyan to the direct relationship between consumption and development...and of course the bloodshed.
There is a very interesting article In the economist http://www.economist.com/daily/news/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10422157 describing the ethnic cleansing and reasoning behind it. In contrast Josh Ruxtin in the New York times:http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/04/kenya-isnt-rwanda/index.html" attempts to point out the differences between what has taken place in Kenya and the massacre in Rwanda. I quite liked his article because it differed from most of what I have been reading. I personally find it brilliant except for a few historical flaws which I too as a non Kenyan would have probably made.
I understand that the definition if genocide varies depending on who is interpreting the situation and analysing what kind of assistance to give. I personally go by the legal definition of genocide http://www.preventgenocide.org/genocide/officialtext.htm and for that reason I really don't care whether the Luo and the Kalenjins are attacking Kikuyu's for political reasons...or whatever. What they are doing is genocidal.
***The weird thing about the word genocide if you want to be controversial is that when the attacked group retaliates... they are also committing acts of genocide. So if we take down al qaeda...that is genocide right? But I digress.*** That was my Jessica Simpson moment:-)
I like that the media is making a big deal out of it because approx.300 people have died. 300 people that probably wouldn't have benefited either way from the elections. 300 people that had families to take care of. 300 people who could turn into the thousand skulls counted in Rwanda, Bosnia or the Sudan if the rest of the world closes their eyes for a minute. 300 people. For once I am happy at the medias tendency to exaggerate. 300 died, yet who knows whether Odinga is that much different from Kibaki? It's in the eyes of the beholder I guess.
This is how easy it is for countries to fall in Africa. Overnight. One day it's hailed as a stable albeit corrupt country with great opportunity for investment with a pretty good stock exchange and the next day it's code red.
I can not even begin to imagine how much this has set Kenya back financially.
I believe in Newton's third law "every action has an equal and opposite reaction". He may have been talking physics... but it sure applies to human nature too!
Poverty breeds a lot of tension and destruction. Any economist will tell you that money talks and bullshit walks.
These are some of the problems they didn't envision during the scramble for Africa.
Its very easy to incite violence in poor communities.
Any way while on the topic of cause and effect, I will end here with a quote from Jomo Kenyatta a famous Kikuyu: "When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the Land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible."