"Umoja ni nguvu utengano ni udhaifu" is a Kiswahili proverb which translates to unity is strength, disunity is weakness. What better way to display unity than to come together to protect yourself and those not like you? Of recent, Kenya has been under attack by the Al Shabaab. From the Westgate Mall siege to the Garissa attacks and the Mandera bus attacks, the MO has largely been the same: kill the Christians, free the Muslims. Thanks to this MO many Christians live in fear that one day they'll wake up only to die because they're not Muslim, because they do not subscribe to the Muslim school of thought. Many fear going to church because of late grenades and IEDs have become part and parcel of Sunday worship, with worshippers taking the risk of been blown to Kingdom come every time they attend a church service. Many have taken to pointing a finger at Muslims, living in fear of the Muslims within because Al Shabaab, like many terror cells and militia, operate under the name of Islam. Accusations have overwhelmed Muslims, turning this all into a great divide - remember Trump's declaration of shipping out Muslims and not allowing anyone who professes the name of Allah into the United States? I would like to delve into why there is the existence of terror cells and militia but that is a story for another day. Today, I just want to focus on the miracle that happened on Sunday the 20th of December when Al Shabaab attacked a bus with the intent of killing the Christians in it. As reported by BBC,”
A group of Kenyan Muslims travelling on a bus ambushed by Islamist gunmen protected Christian passengers by refusing to be split into groups, according to eyewitnesses.
They told the militants "to kill them together or leave them alone", a local governor told Kenyan media.
At least two people were killed in the attack, near the north-eastern village of El Wak on the Somali border.
The Somali based al-Shabaab group says it carried out the attack.
The group often carries out attacks in Kenya's north-east.
The bus was travelling from the capital Nairobi to the town of Mandera.
When al-Shabaab killed 148 people in an attack on Garissa University College in April, the militants reportedly singled out Christians and shot them, while freeing many Muslims.
Last year, a bus was attacked near Mandera by al-Shabaab militants, who killed 28 non-Muslims travelling to Nairobi for the Christmas holidays.
'"The locals showed a sense of patriotism and belonging to each other,"' Mandera governor Ali Roba told Kenya's private Daily Nation newspaper.
The militants decided to leave after the passengers' show of unity, he added."
What those Muslims did was heroic, brave and selfless. When the militants asked them to step out, they refused and hid some of the Christians under the seats while shielding others. They told those militants outright that terrorism is not Islam. They refused to help them propagate their agenda by standing for what they believe - that we're one. They refused to give in to fear and chose to stand up and defend the Christians in that bus. This is more than just about religion. It's not Muslims versus Christians. It's the fate of humanity. All those times that Christians have been mercilessly slayed by people under religious pretense and Muslims let go, what if the Muslims in the Westgate attack had stood their ground like these valiant Muslims? What if the Muslims in the Garissa attacks had done the same? Alexander the Great conquered his vast territories by using the divide and conquer method, which is exactly what these goons are doing. They kill Christians, Christians live in fear of Muslims, Christians banish Muslims, an uprising arises against Muslims and the world's two largest religions go head to head in one big war, all the while with those behind these massacres reaping the fruits of labor - oil, natural gas, agricultural goods...etc. They do not care about religion, they're in it for the spoils. And we who separate ourselves and refuse to stand up when politicians such as Trump and also citizens help propagate this propaganda by letting fear blind us, we who refuse to stand up for those of us designated to die simply because they profess a different religion, we who just sit and watch and do nothing about it...all of us, by these simple actions that we might think don't matter, we're aiding and abetting terrorism. THIS IS WAR AND EVERYONE'S IN IT. Look around, we're being divided and conquered every single day by religion, race, finances, social classes, ethnicity...the list is endless. And every single day we play along. When are we going to wake up? Yes, it's hard to be brave with a gun pointed to your face, but there are worse methods of killing than just guns and if we don't stand up now, pretty soon it'll be too late, we'll have doomed ourselves to a dark hopeless helpless fate. So when someone says that Muslims are not good people, politely remind them that goodness is not determined by religion. When someone says that they're going to kill Christians in the name of Allah, politely remind them that nowhere in the Quran does Allah give the order to kill others simply because they are of a different religion. Those terrorists who attacked that bus backed down when they realized that they couldn't win due to the unity displayed. They scampered and were off in the wind. Unity is strength. Let's all be united. Let's teach our kids that a house divided against itself does not stand. I end this piece with a story told to me by my grandparents about a wise old man who had six sons. This wise old man had a lot of wealth and he was going to leave it to his sons but he knew that wealth of any kind brings discord so he had to teach his sons not to be greedy. He told each of them to bring a stick and them asked each of them to break their sticks. The six sons found it very easy. He then asked them to each bring another stick and tie all the six sticks together and try to break them. Each of the sons had their turn to try and break the tied sticks but none was able to do so. Moral of the story: UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL.
In a kingdom far, far away, a baby girl was born to the King and Queen. Not anyone in the kingdom knew about the baby because its birth was kept a secret between the King and Queen, reason being that she was born out of wedlock; the King and Queen were not married at the time. They feared that the kingdom would soon find out and decide against them. This fear led them to abandon their baby in a forest and leave her for dead. The little baby cried all night. Luckily, a hunter heard her cries. The hunter decided to take her home with him so that his wife could take care of her.
The hunter trotted on home with the little girl in his arms. He knew not that she was a princess. He told his wife of the tale of how he had found her and the wife gladly agreed to take care of the little girl and love her as her own. The hunter and his wife named the girl Susana, for in her eyes they saw tiny little stars glimmer.
It was lucky that it was the hunter who had found Susana, for the hunter’s wife had given birth recently, and she took it upon herself to breastfeed both children. The two children grew up together, believing that they were blood brother and sister, not knowing the secret that their parents kept from them. The boy’s name was Ezra.
Time passed and the hunter’s wife grew ill. So ill was she that the doctors had no hope for her. And so it came to be that one gloomy night the hunter’s wife died. The whole village mourned for the hunter’s wife, for she was always cheerful and bubbly and loved by all. The hunter and his children mourned the most. It was the saddest time of their lives. Although it took time, the hunter’s family stopped mourning, though they never forgot. They would forever carry her in their hearts.
Years and years later, Ezra and Susana were fully grown and very successful in their own rights. Ezra took over the family business and became a hunter while Susana became the most sought after seamstress in the village and throughout town and the country. Ezra fell in love with a lady whom he married and had children with. Susana didn’t care much for love for she was much occupied with her work. Though she was busy, she made time every week to see her father and her brother together with the new additions to the family. So was the routine week in, week out, until one day she met a gentleman who would change her life forever.
Susana felt a growing connection to this man whose name was Daniel. Susana and Daniel met one lovely day in Susana’s shop. Daniel was accompanied by his bride-to-be, Rena. Daniel and Rena had gone into the shop to order Rena’s wedding gown. It was just like a fairytale. Susana was in the back sorting out some of her new creations while in the front, Daniel and Rena placed their order. A mix-up in the front caused Susana to be summoned but all the assistants had their hands full so Daniel offered to go get her. And so it was that with one look into each other’s eyes, Daniel and Susana knew that nothing would ever be the same again
From that day onward, Daniel came to visits Susana daily under the excuse that he was checking on Rena’s gown. Daniel wanted to know everything there was to know about Susana, for he had his suspicions. The more they spent time together, the more alike they realized they were. Finally, Daniel revealed himself for he was the crown prince of the kingdom.
Susana was shocked when Daniel told her that he thought that she might be his sister. She insisted that he was wrong for she knew that she was the hunter’s daughter. However, she accepted Daniel’s invitation to the castle, making sure to ask the hunter if it was indeed true. The hunter came clean and told her the truth that he had found her in the forest. Susana was devastated.
The King and Queen were as devastated too, if not more. They called upon a public gathering in which they withheld nothing. They begged for forgiveness from Susana and their loyal subjects. The King and Queen were so happy that the truth was out for it had greatly pained them to be living with such a secret. They had suffered much in their hearts for the secret they kept.
They thanked the hunter for taking care of Susana and made the day the hunter’s wife died to be a day of public celebration.
Because Susana was such a lovely person and she was honest and true, the King and Queen decided to descend the throne so that she could become Queen. And just like that, the ordinary girl who had grown to be an extraordinary seamstress became the Queen.
If can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs and blaming it on you
If you can trust yourself when everyone doubts you but make allowance for their doubting too
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting
Or being lied to and not deal in lies
Or being hated on and not giving way to hating
And yet don’t look too good nor talk to wise
If you can dream and not make dreams your master
If you can think and not make thoughts your aim
If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat these two impostors the same
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools
Or watch the things you gave your life to get broken and stoop to build them up with worn-out tools
If you can make one heap of all your winnings and risk it in one turn of pitch-and-toss and lose and start again at your beginnings and never breath a word about your loss
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve your turn long after they are gone and so hold on when there is nothing in you except the will which says to say to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue or walk with kings nor lose the common touch
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you
If everyone counts on you but none too much
If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run
Yours is the earth and everything that’s in it