Sunday, June 29, 2014
Today I attended Mass service at Christ the King cathedral in Yei, South Sudan. During the prayers, there was a special prayer for peace, and in South Sudan this is very close to the heart of the congregants. I listened to the congregant who was leading in the prayers as he mentioned countries in the Middle East and also in East and Horn of Africa which are fragile. Kenya was one of them. The truth is I expected him to mention Kenya and if he did not I would have thought ‘bad neighbor’ yet again I was still shocked…. I have been doing a course on peace building and fragile states in the last two weeks that kept making me wonder “are we officially conflict/post conflict country? Every time I read a reference to Kenya I want to scream no!
A few years ago Kenya was referred to as the “oasis of peace” in East Africa. Little did we realize the pot had been boiling and tipped over in 2007 and our nakedness was exposed!
Sometimes I read posts by fellow Kenyans and feel we are really doomed. I cannot even try to talk about conflict in Africa, or in Kenya. I recall a story in primary school books “who caused the fire”. It has been many years but I can really bits by pieces. Someone was annoyed by someone who was annoyed by someone…and eventually one of the annoyed someones’ hit the cat that ran and hit the candle that caused the fire. After the house got burned down they were able to admit that “we all caused the fire”.
We can start looking back and we will realize we all caused the fire. We continue causing the fire as we fuel our differences as hatred instead of appreciating diversity. We fuel the fire as we think democracy is less important than who is in power. We spread lies and hatred in words and deeds. We hide criminals in our midst and allow violence to continue as we protect “our own”. We stop thinking as one country and think as regions, tribes or individuals.
Kenya is such a small country that I do not see any chance that we will ever divide into different (viable) states hence we are together forever hence we must learn to live together. Sometimes our ego is too huge to coexist. When we fight each other and kill one another who will come to our rescue? Have we not learnt from (more violent) countries the effects of violence? Doesn’t it sound ironical that the land where several peace talks for neighboring countries have happened is now a fragile suspicious place to be?
The government has a great role to play, but I can bet that the worse violence that can befall Kenya will be when we are fighting among ourselves.
I cry for Kenya, the fire is real. Do we care? Do we have what it takes to stop thinking any one person or persons or group or tribe or region are more equal than others and choose to building Kenya.
Do we have the will to stop the fire?