Garissa Varsiy Terrorist Attack – 2nd April 2015
When I woke up in the morning of the 2nd of April to news of terror, news of fifteen – a figure that was to rise to 147 by sunset – Kenyans killed in Garissa at a university where most of the students were sleeping, my heart sank to a mirage of darkness. A host of emotions raged through my mind, emotions of anger, pain, helplessness and despair. Offering virtual condolences to the deceased families, praying for their loved ones’ souls to rest in peace is all I could do. With indescribable sadness, all I could was to extend kindness to the bereaved, and yet I knew my actions could neither relieve their pain, nor bring their loved ones back and even worse, they could not stop such act of terror from happening in the future.
I browsed through the Daily Nation, the BBC, Al-Jazeera even Facebook, I kept checking my WhatsApp messages just to hear that the terrorists had been captured, and peace was back. But no, the death toll had risen from the initial fifteen to seventy. The gruesome details of the attack were now flooding over the internet, of how the terrorists first killed the only two guards at the gate, and after that they had a free playground in the school that hosted about 850 students. They watched their blood stream down the sandy soils of Garissa. They had time to take hundreds of hostages, to separate the Muslims from non-Muslims. I asked myself countless times, I wondered what went through a human’s mind when undertaking such acts. What made them think that some lives were more worthy than others? Was it really in the name of religion or was it in protest of the presence of the Kenyan army in Somalia? What level of cowardice could make make an armed man attack innocent people in their sleep? What had those whose lives they took away done to make the terrorists feel so threatened? I asked myself these questions, over and over again, questions of which I knew I would not get answers to, questions that thousands others had, were and would keep asking themselves.
My only bet is that the fear of anything different by the terrorists could be the reason that resulted to so much hatred. Fear of facing their own inadequacies clouded their ability to reason, to empathise, and consequently resulted to murder. And that must be the highest level of cowardice.
The last hit on the refresh key put the death toll at 147, seventy nine badly injured and an unknown number had been taken hostage. This note is as a dedication to the Kenyans who lost their lives, to their families and friends, to all Kenyans whose hearts are broken, who may feel angry, sad, and helpless as I do. But even in my sea of emotions, I can only imagine what it is to walk in the shoes of the bereaved. I pray that one day, we shall all live in peace, and respect the value of human life and if we dare, be able to see ourselves in the souls of our fellow humankind.