Where is Kenya? This may seem like an odd question to ask given last week’s events. But really, do you know where Kenya is?
Almost two weeks has passed since Somali-based terrorist group, Al Shabab launched a cowardly attack on a University in Garissa, Kenya. The jihadist organisation killed 147 Christian students as “a retribution for non-Muslims invading Muslim territory.”
The global media coverage of the event has left many unanswered questions.
Where is the mass public uproar to such a horrific incident? Where is the media coverage bombarding us with the latest updates direct from Garissa? Why are there no “Je Suis Kenya” campaigns all over social media? Where is Bob Geldof and his army of pop stars when you need them? Who were the 147 innocent people that were murdered in this terrible slaughter?
Perhaps I’m being a little unfair here; there was indeed coverage of this barbaric massacre in the media, not only in the UK but also worldwide.
There are informative pieces written about the attack, mostly published by independent media outlets, websites dedicated to human rights or citizen journalists, helping to understand what happened in Garissa.
However, the story didn’t seem to make the headlines like similar incidents involving terrorism in other parts of the world, especially the ones that have happened in predominantly white western societies.
No surprise then that the Kenya massacre is garnering more attention for it’s heavily criticised media coverage than for the actual rampage. It seems strange that the names of the terrorists have widely been published yet we know little about the actual victims themselves.
It’s likely the Garissa attack will follow the same pattern as another recent African terrorism attack.
Last April 246 schoolgirls were kidnapped in Chibok, Nigeria, by another terrorist group. Do you know anything about those girls? Probably not, but it’s very likely that you remember the name of the terrorist group that kidnap them.
We need to instigate an argument on a subject that is often mentioned, discussed and argued but not given enough importance and mostly left on the side, which is racism and xenophobia.
When cases like this happens we are faced with the harsh reality that different communities are as united as we think. We live in a globalised world but we are certainly not bound by the same morals and principles.
If asking the question “where is Kenya?” means we acknowledge the fact that terrible things are happening around the globe, not just two weeks ago but everyday, this could be the starting point to a fairer, equal and united human race.
Where is the Social Media circus when you most need it? We only genuinely care about things that affect us directly especially if that is something that we judge to be bad.
There have been a some outraged voices on social media since the attack from those who wish to show their indignation at the lack of interest this massacre has received. Hashtags like #147notjustanumber and #GarissaAttack are telling the story of the victims and promoting justice and peace.
Let’s pretend that this cowardly attack didn’t have the word “terrorist” connected to it. I bet the story wouldn’t have even made it outside Africa and I wouldn’t be writing this article.
Furthermore there’s an imminent risk of terrorism attacks and a high probability that something similar could be hitting the West anytime soon. And as long as the West keeps interfering in Middle East and African matters the retaliation will continue but that’s a whole other article.
When my partner posted on Facebook a graphic picture of the 147 dead bodies scattered all over the ground inside Garissa University a friend made a comment that summarised, perfectly how far we still have to travel before we live in an equal world:
“This awful story was covered quite well in the Irish news. It’s true it didn’t result in the same media orgy as the Charlie Hebdo attacks but that’s more to do with those who consume the media than the media makers themselves. It’s horrendous but we in the Europe have an amazing ability to dissociate from people whose skin tone doesn’t match our own.”
And by the way Kenya is in Africa.