Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Kenya, My Kenya

The situation in Kenya has lost all sense and civilization. I am heartbroken to read today that the ethnic warfare has taken on a life of its own, pitting the Kikuyu, the tribe of business and power, against everyone else. It seems that no lesson was learned from the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 when up to a million Tutsis lost their lives at the hands of the Hutus. Can you imagine 750,000 Latino-Americans being slaughtered on the streets of Los Angeles and then swept into the La Brea tar pits? What about 1,000,000 African-Americans mass-murdered in New York City, dumped into sanitation trucks and buried in the Staten Island waste fill? Kenya was supposed to be a bastion of peace and stability, where the numerous tribes forged together as the economic engine that powered East Africa. And yet today I read it was all just a myth. That ethnic tensions had been simmering all along. That the tranquility I saw eleven years ago in Nairobi was just a facade. Indeed, the pictures of Kibera, the slum where I taught math, show that nothing has improved for the poor. Discontent is rearing a head with blood in its eyes. Where once there were arms that stood to welcome me, now there are only hands wielding machetes. How could it all have been such an illusion? No one who looks at me--a picture of health and strength--would ever think that I harbor a deadly virus within my bloodstream, one that's been forced into remission for the moment but waits silently within my brain and organs to strike. I look into the mirror today and see the failure of Kenya and humanity.

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