Kenyans died by a mentality

Posted: January 14, 2010 in Kenyan

“If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and color, we would find some other causes for prejudice by noon”. ~George Aiken

I admit that sometimes I can be a hopeless debater especially when I know I am just right.  On occasion I pass as over-dramatic, arrogant or even offensive. Recently, I got into one of those arguments, that think deserve a unanimous opinion amongst people I deem sane and humane. My contentious topic was tribalism.  So it cropped up with one my colleagues who has a rather downbeat outlook on a certain Kenyan ethnic group. A self-proclaimed activist, I am, I fortified this tribe I do not even belong to with fervor and feeling. So I asked him whether he was alive in Kenya in 2007 when children died because they belonged to certain ethnicities.

Not sure he was paying any attention; I spoke of my admiration of the Tanzanians, of their low tolerance to tribal differences. I even talked of the Molo, Mt. Elgon and the Saba Saba clashes in Likoni Mombasa in 1997.I spoke of the bloodshed, and how I was affected as a school pupil in Mombasa. How Mombasa was clouded with fear, school sessions missed, and businesses abandoned.

I couldn’t stop talking, I was in a crusade right there; It was as if I was preaching to adherent masses ready to grasp my next magical remark.

Then in his tranquility, my colleague said that the kids who died and women raped during the violence were not innocent, with the validation that certain communities just are worthy of death.

I lost it.

I make a clean breast that I became a hopeless debater. I called him ignorant and useless with all justifications upheld. He told me I’m being unreasonable not to respect his opinion. Well I held that it is my onion that he’s being a fool and as a Kenyan father he should know better.

And right then I knew I had broken the rules of diplomacy, so maybe I should have done it better.  I had failed as a communicator and a peace advocate finding myself tucked in guilt and offered my sincere apology for my choice of tone.

What I don’t apologize for is the fact that Kenyans did not die by machetes and bullets but our brothers, sisters and children were killed, tortured and raped by hatred.

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