Westgate: #WeAreOne

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together” – Desmond Tutu

Last Saturday saw another visitation of unimaginable acts of terror on this country which stretched for the next four days at the Westgate Mall.  We have all been left deeply affected by these events – so many lives needlessly cut short, much more injured and left scarred for life by physical and psychological wounds. We have been tested in a lot of ways and emerged stronger and  with a lot of lessons learnt.

Our deep sense of humanity shone through, even as the dark clouds of smoke rose up into the sky and along with it, regular periods of propaganda and uncertainty from all corners. We came out to help and be with brothers, sisters, relatives, friends, neighbours and even strangers we would have never met in different circumstances. We were united as one in our condemnation of the senseless depravity irrespective our race, religion, social status, economic status, ethnic community, political affiliations and other differences that sometimes cloud our thoughts and judgments.

Many thanks to you – the very brave first responders from within and outside the mall, the entire security apparatus who risked and lost their lives to bring the situation to an end, the Red Cross team and all medical teams across hospitals all over Nairobi, countless anonymous volunteers, contributors and wananchi who contributed their blood, time, money and other resources, the media who stayed rooted to the scene to try and relay whatever they could to the rest of the world and everyone else who shared, contributed and encouraged our final victory in any way they we could. At the end of the day, a mission to deeply divide us has instead brought us closer together. We salute you all. Thank you.

Even as what seems like the most devastating period of this situation seems to be ebbing away, it will remain a difficult period for the country for a long time. Much more is to be done, and much more is to be reflected upon. Reconstruction of minds fractured by trauma and of institutions that have not been properly improved need the care they deserve. We may be tempted to recede back into the state of “normalcy” consisting of selective patriotism, an appetite for amnesia, succumbing to the pressure to not ask the difficult questions and a tendency not to expect any level of accountancy from systems and institutions whose very mandate screams accountancy. Difficult times demand difficult questions and equally difficult answers.

We are one. Let us remain one.