Friday, 4 January 2008


The news of the unrest in Kenya is deeply unsettling.

Not so much because of the rioting, looting and lawlessness: we lived through many such situations when we lived in the country. The attempted coup of 1982 and the demonstrations in subsequent years often spawned violence, usually in relatively small areas of the country. It wasn't too difficult to avoid if one was sensible. Then, after a short time, it was back to business as usual.

It seems different this time. So much tribal enmity. Neighbours have turned against each other, whole communities have been destroyed. It is heartbreaking to get emails from acquaintances who are hiding indoors in fear, often with rioting going on around them, and with little food.

I can only begin to imagine what it must feel like. Terrifying is far too mild a word for the intense stress of fearing for one's life. I experienced this once, for a relatively short time. What must it be like to be in that situation for days on end?

It is hard to see a way forward for Kenya which is not paved with further damage and destruction.

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