Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Women always raped in conflict. Violence is violence whether in Kenya, Syria, The Middle East or DR Congo

The status of my mind
I don't know about you but  the weight of so much violence around the world has reached an unbearable level. I look at it from individuals to countries and the last few weeks have been so shocking that courage to ask for bettter things must be drawn from events of these days or else our spirits will weaken.

I am sure you were angered by the attack on Malala of Pakistan. And then there was Anusha whose parents burned her with acid because she smiled or talked to a boy. She died a horrible death. Oh, if only we could let love riot!  Cultural and religious complexities. Not so easy. Jerusalem is named after peace.

Rape. Ten women in Kenya have joined the legion of so many raped women in the world. Raped in times of conflict and of peace. "Women are condemned to not only see their children die in war, their husbands and sometimes their femaile friends but to also have their wells of life poisoned with rape.Sometimes they are infected with the HIV/virus. In this way their minds and souls are shattered and their lives broken and in the end, they have to get up again and continue to hold the nation together, a task they were already doing for thankless people, when the enemy got them down."

The ten women that are reported to have been raped in Kenya in the last few days are not just ten. Ten is the figure of a few who speak up. They are not just ten because in many situations rape is not reported. We have a poor record of dealing with rape that is reported. The result is that women who were raped in during the Post Poll violence which we suffered in 2007/2008 have not found justice. They have been left infected with HIV/Aids and soon, even their story will tire us. We shall not want to hear. The signs are all there. Politicians are abandoning political parties to join new ones for political convenience. Parties have been sold and bought.

 The face of war is terrible anywhere in the world. Look at how the Middle East has been shattered for years. It is incomprehensible in away that nations will accept wars to happen. It is clear that even if we keep saying women and children should never be attacked, they and children bear the brunt of any war. Lyse Duset of the BBC wrote a story that makes one ask self what they are living for if these things continue to happen in our world today. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18951552. Indeed the UN has not much to show for success today for even if a ceasefire comes in the Middle East tonight, this spot has been in conflict for most our lives. This is a conflict that was born pretty much at the UN. But today Banki Moon looks exhausted and yesterday Kofi Annan had to leave Syria still broken. What is that the world needs then? What are some of the earliest signals we can read in a place before war breaks? The DR Congo is at war now but we hardly hear much about DR C unless things are at their worst.

Kenya is not at war but deaths and scenes of conflict in Garissa were compared to those in Syria today by some Members of Parliament. Rapes. Tomorrow shall we say that we had not foreseen it if Kenya should come apart? An alarmed investigative journalist Mwenda Njoka penned his last column in a local paper regarding the attack of politician Kingi on an election platform in Mombasa and stated that this has not been seen before in Kenya and that it was a sign of worse things to come. Since then a politician has been stabbed in the back during a rally in Nyanza and a few more have been attacked in similar ways. A political activist Okiya Omtatah endured a terrrible assault last week. Scores of people have died in different violent situations. But are we willing to learn and accept the truth?
The two main politicians summoned before the International Criminal Court ICC for the problems of violence that beset Kenya during the last election are working to be the elected leaders of Kenya next year. For this and all the violence going on Kenya is not in a good place. In August hundreds of people died in the Tana River District in what turned out to be politically motivated killings. Last week the deaths of 43 Kenyans in Suguta Valley has not been explained. Worse still, it seems the government thought the cause was the usual cattle rustling as we have called it for ages, but it is not. Nobody has been clear on what is really going on. A grenade attack on November18 has unlike the many previous ones thrown by people thought to be part of Al Shabaab which Kenya sent the militatary to Somalia to finish has sparked a two day long battle between what some people seem to see a Christians versus Moslems. People, among them politicians are dismayed.  http://www.nation.co.ke/News/-/1056/1624454/-/xa8thdz/-/index.html

What is disturbing is that this is one country which can make it but which it seems is determined to go the way of a failed state. I did not want to say to go the way of Somalia because Somalis are taking enough blame for all the grenaded thrown by Al Shabaab fundamentalits, but Paul Muite had once in great frustration in Moi days declared that Kenya would go the Somali way. The way of becoming ungovernable. We escaped it then although we have to say that in 2002 when Narc took power under the leadership of Mwai Kibaki and on the platform of reform it appears that the country took things easy and expected change to just happen. In fact, taking things easy is the wrong phrase to use. The newly elected government began to behave just like the one it had dethroned. You have to read Michela Wrong's It's Our turn to Eat, the story of a Kenyan whistleblower and hear an insider's story to believe this.

But let me give one hard stare at Kenya. There are some disturbing facts. Early on the morning of June 10th 2012, Kenya's Internal Security Prof George Saitoti, and his deputy died in a helicopter crash. Since then it has transpired that this may not have been an accident. It has been said that the National Security Intelligence Service have asked for reports on the matter not to be released. It is also said that doctors and other experts working on the matter have received warnings not to divulge their findings. But what else is not being faced after these deaths? What are we hiding from in the country? What are we not able to face and name right now? I ask these questions because it seems clear that there is a lot that we do not want to, or have not wanted to face.

George Saitoti in a last meeting with his colleagues in Mombasa had said that there are some people in Parliament who are ready to use militia gangs to get votes to remain in power. I ask these questions because so many of the currrent Kenyan politicians including the president have had long experience in Kenyan political life and have the responsibility to leave the country stronger not weaker. It is a sad thing to watch to many  opportunities lost in Kenya. It is a sad thing to watch a country which was before 2007 if not completely peaceful, well at least filled with hope. Today if one reads the newspaper articles and comments  made on them, it is very clear that Kenyans are losing hope, are tired and are even as they wish for better times are becoming more and more uncertain regarding what is really going on and who has their interest at heart.  I ask these questions because those who care need to train their eye in Kenya more closely. We do not want to pretend that we are taken by surprise should things go worse than they are.

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