Once upon a time, when arms were limited to sharp blades and to piercing points, death was just as inevitable and as hard to accept as it is today.
So we "progressed" from that era. And now, we have more efficient large scale-killing machines to show the "heights" that humanity has aspired to after centuries of self-enlightenment. How cold-blooded the minds that have perpetrated this!
How do I even begin to describe the anguish that tears my heart when I read in a daily, 1 day after the fact and thousands of miles away from my home, that my people came under attack yet again? What about the families that lost their children and their breadwinners? And you have the nerve to tell them that their loved ones were blessed, that their death was a sacrifice in the fight for the greater freedom of a nation that never even figured in their minds during their daily struggles?
Once upon a time, their voices rang clear across the streets, and their feet left prints in the wet sand. That is all over now. It changed on a Thursday in the last week of November.
What about those who are left behind? If August 1998 had already faded from our minds, then this is a stark reminder: Wapiganapo fahali wawili, ziumiazo ni nyasi. How appropriate the words of that Swahili saying are for the hopelessness of our situation: Two bulls clash against each other in a field. They walk away with a few scratches, but the real damage is done to the blades of grass, which are bruised, torn up, and even uprooted.
The people of Kenya may, for the most part, have nothing to do with the struggle in the Middle East, but they're paying the price. Spare a thought for them: people with hopes and dreams, individuals struggling to feed themselves and to clothe their babies, citizens of a nation that has been an island of relative stability in a troubled region.
This is the global village we worked so hard to build. It's a reality that our generation is going to have to face: The borders that we see on our atlases are just imaginary lines. Conflict and war, religion, politics and disease don't recognise them.
God help us all.
First published in TakingITGlobal's Panorama Zine
on 3rd December, 2002.