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Archive for May, 2014

My views may not reflect the views of other Kenyans or even friends and family.  There are times when angst compels one to speak out.  I have become exasperated with continued official and media condemnation of Kenya’s handling of terrorism. The US had 1 in country attack on September 11, 2001 (aka 9/11).  I was in the US at the time and got asked by some how I knew to call family and say: I’m ok, we are likely to loose communication but I will find ways to get you info.  The protocol was no different that what got activated during the US Nairobi Embassy bombing on August 7, 1998. 

For those who don’t know Kenya, click here to get some perspective.  I was born in the US,  have a Kenyan father, Puerto Rican mother and have lived my life pretty much equally split among all 3 countries (as in physical time spent).  Belonging to a country for me is more cultural than geopolitical and yes, this inevitably leads to what some might construe as divided “loyalties.”  The only thing I can swear eternal loyalty to is goodness and those who want to pursue it.  Good intentions do not justify bad actions.  By the same token, putting down efforts and chastising must only be done when a more effective method has been demonstrated to work in the situation being discussed.  

Life in the US was completely altered as a result of 1 attack in 2001 (death toll 2,977).  Many would say constitutional safeguards were thrown out the window and the ramifications of extreme surveillance and the new security measures are still being understood.  

While no single terrorist attack in has killed as many as the 9/11 attack, Kenya has sustained the following in a country with a population (44,351,000) that is 14% of the United States (313,914, 040):

 August 7, 1998  US Embassy in Nairobi   213 killed, 4,000 wounded

November 28, 2002  Mombasa hotel bombing and plane attack   13 killed, 80 wounded

October, 2011 – April, 2013 Series of consecutive attacks throughout the country  68 dead, 344 wounded

September 21, 2011 Nairobi Westgate Mall attack   59 dead, 175 wounded 

January 2, 2014 Diani grenade attack   10 wounded

May 16, 2014 Gikomba market bombings  70 wounded

In addition, as of December 2014, 600,910 refugees account for 1.3 % of our population and no one denies a lot needs to be done to improve safety and living conditions in refugee camps.

Those who want to call themselves allies must wise up to the fact that many forces have been eagerly trying to drive Kenya towards socio-political collapse. Warning Kenya that attacks are escalating is like telling one bullets kill people: true but useless information.  We also don’t need to be told there is a crisis.  We are living it!

 



Despite shortcomings, Kenya has been the beacon of stability in East Africa.  All these grandiose criticisms/”expert opinions” can be directed at fixing the root cause of the problem: the failed states in Somalia and Sudan. Once that is fixed we can send people home and go back to focusing our scarce resources on internal stabilization matters.

Solutions are NOT theories such as the economic liberalization “help” that led to the further destabilization of former Soviet block countries. Solutions cannot be triggered only by self-serving needs like the concern for Ukraine only when oil pipelines are threatened. Solutions are given in a context appropriate manner at the time the need FIRST arises AND they solve the problem. Anything other than this is hype for the illusion of self-aggrandizement.

With respect to terrorism in Kenya, official intelligence from multiple governments have confirmed the sources. We are not idiots who believe all Somali’s are bad. I give Kenyan officials high marks for not making foolish official statements condemning all Muslims/Islamic people for the acts of lawless and banal groups that use “religion” as an attempt to legitimize their misdeeds. Using the religious label grants them the legitimacy they seek. Terrorists are despicable thugs and that is the only label that should be used. Naming such groups assigns a humanity that they do not deserve.  Everyone living in Kenya has the responsibility of contributing to safety and well being. Those who know of terrorist activities and fail to deliver information to authorities are not just failing their responsibility they are co-conspiring with despicable thugs for the sole purpose of promoting destruction.

There are those who like to boast and brag about being super powers. Such grandiose titles always fall short of incremental scrutiny. Power is accountability FIRST and authority second. Super Power requires SUPER Accountability. Most of us are content to wake up every morning facing a world of exponential change and increasing complexity with the hope that somehow our actions make this world a better place now and for future generations. Especially when faced with a future that we cannot yet conceive. Superior claims can only be made after superior success relating to the specific matter has been achieved.  Until then, cooperation is demonstrated through acts not words and public announcements.

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