Thought and Ideas
We all grief as Kenya mourns victims of Westgate attack
Posted Sunday, September 29 2013 at 01:00
The terrorist attack on Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi last weekend was as despicable as it was senseless and cowardly. The victims, dead, injured and brutalised, were the cosmopolitan group of the world. The Kenya National TV service professionally depicted the ghastly consequences with vivid imagination.
The coming together of the Kenyans and other nationalities in the hour of devastation and need was exemplary and equal to any that have been witnessed in other countries that have fallen victims to the worst instincts of man.
I cried as the images of cruelty of man to man in one ghastly murderous moment occurred only to be punctuated by great passion of kindness as depicted on TV. These were images never to be forgotten. A long and urgent hand of a black Kenyan reached out desperately to grab a small Asian child who was lost in the confusion of chaos caused by stupidity and insensibility.
An emotional tight embrace between an African woman and a European one, perhaps unknown to each other, but very moved by the knowledge that they had both survived to live another day was very moving.
There was a European man turning back to where the terrorists were shooting from to rescue a young Kenyan boy, who but for this act of bravado and instinctive humanity, would have perished in the inferno.
Oh, God of mercy, dozens of innocent bystanders, citizens and non-citizens of Kenya, rushed into danger in the Mall, occasionally against the advice of the security forces personnel in endeavours to save a life or two. No one can forget the terrorised Chinese lady whose face was bloody with deep cuts courtesy of the terrorists. She was nevertheless calm and thankful that she was still alive.
The sad and teary eyes of a security man rescuing a couple of survivors and hurling them with all the force he could master out of danger, then hundreds of Kenyans and others rushing out of offices to go and donate blood to save the lives of people they had never met or known, reminded us of how precious and sweet life is.
These numbskulls of terrorists say they are motivated by the faith of Islam. They are liars because Islam is a good and kind religion. It teaches the very opposite of what these misguided torturers of mankind think. Terrorists are rightly and universally condemned as purveyors of human misery and massacres. However, every cloud has a silver lining. The aftermath of the murder of innocents brought forth unity and irresistible love for one another of peoples of all races, colours, nationalities and religions who were in or near Westgate Mall.
The voices of the world through the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, the US President Barrack Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, President Jonathan GoodLuck of Nigeria, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Joyce Banda of Malawi, all speaking movingly and clearly against this sad episode of terrorism, comforted the world.
There is unanimity amongst principled leaders and communities of the world who through the voices of Israel, France, South Africa and other countries sent messages of condolence and support to Kenya. Terrorism and military force are universally condemned and rejected as solutions to our world’s problems.
On this particular Kenya TV channel, I was saddened that no voice of condemnation or condolence was heard from the leaders of my own country, Uganda.
Ugandans are the closest and dearest neighbours of Kenya by blood, trade and friendship. The sombre programme of the mall’s events was broadcast in Uganda on Monday night. Ugandan spokespersons of the government should explain the reasons for lack of visible solidarity with our dearest neighbours especially when our own soldiers have died in Somalia fighting against the same scourge.
Compatriots who read this column should join me in mourning the departed, the widowed, the orphaned and the injured because of this sorry episode.
May God, the Almighty and the Merciful keep and protect us all from such epidemics perpetuated by man against man.
The world salutes President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto, the government and people of Kenya, their gallant soldiers, police and other security organs for the courage and stand they took and continue to show against terrorism.
Prof Kanyeihamba is a retired
Supreme Court judge. email@example.com