Watching the events that unfolded in my country, Kenya following the terror attack at Riverside 14 awakened some raw emotions. Two instances of Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder (PTSD).
One because I remember the struggle we went through as a country following the West-gate attack in 2013. I remember 2014 as a very difficult time for Kenyans especially after the follow up attacks which included bus grenade attacks. I remember being bus jacked around the Swedish School on Ngong Road. The bastards decided to shoot in the bus. I ducked because I thought it was a grenade attack. I covered my face to avoid sharpnels.
I later discovered that it was just a bunch of idiots out to rob us. I was just happy it was not a grenade. But that made me realise how, even despite not being at the scene of the Westgate terror attack where I lost a friend and former colleague, Ruhila Adatia, this has affected us in one way or another. So you can only imagine how I felt following the Riverside attack.
Then came in the New York Times article by its East Africa bureau chief, Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, showed the aftermath of the attack, including images of wounded people and dead bodies.
We requested her to bring it down but in a condescending tone she told us to ‘direct our anger elsewhere’. That stung. To every Kenyan but mostly me. Because I understand this language so well. I don’t normally talk about this because it’s mentally draining but since moving to Sweden I have been through some strange treatment because of my skin colour.
Last year I fought for an apology from a make up store. It was only after threatening to go tot the media that I earned the apology and monetary compensation that I wasn’t interested in. Then I found myself in another event where the the host claimed that she was working on a project which ‘did what white people do’ save Africa! When I approached them on social media they begged me to bring down the posts and requested to meet me for a formal apology. Such a pathetic apology because one of their members was later thrown out of my Tanzanian friends shop. She kept dragging the issue just like Kimiko did. Africa, do them is a non issue. They can display our bodies like wild animals. I sit through social gatherings and people will discuss their home countries traditions and skip the African. They don’t care. I mean, what positive story could come from there other than poverty, hunger and war?
I don’t talk about these things because Sweden is not my home and once I’m done with whatever brought me here I will go back home. But, dear Kenyan’s don’t relent. I’m so impressed by the resilience. Don’t allow anyone to undress you and while at it make you feel like it’s your fault. No, we don’t suffer from inferiority complex, no we are not chicken thieves killers, no we are no xenophobic. We are just woke and won’t entertain modern day colonisation.
What Kimiko, New York Times and the Foreign Correspondents are doing is intimidation. Modern day colonialism. Which is no different from what the terrosists did. The only difference is that one party used guns and grenades while the other is using words and photography!