The weekend of the 21 September 2013 is one that Nairobians will never forget. Everyone seems to have a tale to tell – of being there, of knowing someone who was there, of almost going there that day. The horror and the loss have impacted a wide swathe of Kenyan society, and with ripples felt as far away as Australia and Canada.
The day before his murder, Awoonor was at a lunch where he “…was talking about… the borderlessness of the world,” fellow Ghanaian writer Nii Parkes recounts, “and all the miracles within it.” And while terrorism knows no borders, neither do compassion, prayers and the search for a just society.
Regardless of where we live, these attacks impact us. What gives me hope is how those living in Kenya have reacted. They rejected Fear – the real weapon of terrorists – when thousands lined up for hours at various emergency centres to donate blood to help the wounded.
The rejection of fear could be seen in the volunteers who brought food and water for the rescue workers, army, police and survivors. It can be heard in the promise by the Ghanaian High Commissioner when he told the Hay Festival organisers, “Next year, I will bring you more writers from my country. That is what Kofi Awoonor would have wanted.”
Storymoja’s Aleya Kassam summed up what many of us were feeling: “Just when we were feeling too overwhelmed to imagine continuing on this journey, it seems we must.”
Such sentiments are reinforced in the following quotations:
There is a saying in Tibetan:
‘Tragedy should be utilised as a source of strength.’
What more befitting tribute can we give to the dead and wounded than this: to persevere, to hold up the light and keep hope alive? Please leave a comment and let me know how you’re going to shed some light.
Vered Ehsani is a writer, an environmental consultant & a radio show host of Africa Creates. Africa Creates is an online radio show that provides a platform for African writers, musicians, filmmakers & other artists to be heard & promoted both locally & internationally.