On Tuesday afternoon, the country was shaken by news of a terror attack in the capital. The news came at around 3pm when reports emerged that 14 Riverside Drive complex had been attacked by a group of gunmen. Explosions of what were burning cars as well as gunshots rang in the air. Some people managed to scamper to safety but many more were left trapped in the complex. People of all walks of life came together to watch as the events unfolded and to offer any help they could from any part of the country they were. Security forces were prompt to answer to the distress calls and the attackers were soon neutralized. The whole ordeal was scary and quite gory, but it's over now. Here's an update on the situation as it stands.
Security officers responded in a timely and organized fashion and rescue operations went on well into the night. The attackers were all killed in action. According to media reports, a total of about 700 people were rescued. Unfortunately, the president reported in his address that there were 14 deaths recorded. Additional deaths were reported in the media later bringing the total up to 21, including 1 police officer. Numerous other casualties were recorded as well. There are still blood drives going on at Aga Khan University Hospital, MP Shah Hospital, Avenue Hospital, and Kenyatta National Hospital. If you are eligible to donate blood and you are around the city, please do. Uber is even giving two free rides to and fro the blood donation site.
Of course this was bound to come up. There is just a way that white media likes profiting off of black suffering. Well, UK's Daily Express decided that it was the time to ask their readers if it was safe to come to Kenya. What? As if anyone asked that after the Manchester bombing and all the other terror attacks they've had. Or after hearing reports of all those knife crimes in London. Or the new wave of white supremacy in the UK. They didn't even think to show their support first, they jumped straight into it.
Another one was the New York Times and their East Africa bureau chief (ironic) Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, a "Japanese, Portuguese-Irish American, French citizen of nowhere", who simply decided that irresponsible journalism with a touch of racism was the way to go when it came to the images they used to publish their articles. And when questioned about it and requested to change/remove the images, they were all up in arms, and finally NYT gave a bullshit apology that Kimiko shoved in our faces, after an afternoon of replying rudely to anyone who dared question her. Why are the images an issue? Well, NYT says they acted within policy but history shows that 'policy' is different when it comes to white and black people. A white man kills his family, show a photo of him lovingly cuddling some puppies and his kids. A black man is wrongfully arrested, show a photo of him looking menacing, preferably a mugshot. White people get killed, don't show the gory images of the bodies, especially if the families haven't been notified yet. Black people are killed, the gorier the images, the better. NYT and Kimiko are still adamant about the images, in case you're wondering.
Though the attack hasn't made that big a splash in the world as it would have made if it were in London or Paris or New York et al, we have reveived an outpouring wave of support, especially from Jamaica, with Jamaican artists such as Konshens (and many others) leading the wave. We are thankful.
One young man, whose name I will not mention here at this time for his privacy, was arrested in what appears to be a case of mistaken identity. He was one of the victims of the attack. From witness accounts, he was very brave, putting other people's lives above his own; helping them escape into the nearby Nairobi River. He was one of the first people to alert the police of the attack via Twitter. He was working at the complex and he is a student at one of the top Kenyan universities. Due to his actions, Kenyans on Twitter, known as KOT, rallied behind him as soon as they learnt of his arrest and demanded to know his whereabouts and got lawyers involved to ensure that he got legal services. There was a moment of panic when he could not be traced, even by his father, and a big media house tried erasing online footage of his arrest, but KOT did not rest until the job was done. Human rights activist Boniface Mwangi got involved as well and, early today, the young man was released unconditionally.
What next is we rebuild. We rebuild our sense our security, our trust, our faith. We face our pain. We deal with the events that have happened in a constructive way. We seal the loopholes. We can and we shall overcome. Nobody can stop reggae.
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