It’s been three days since Al-Shabab launched a terrorist attack on Westgate Mall in Nairobi. As I write this, the mall is still under siege and it is unclear exactly how many hostages are in there.
The stories being told by people who managed to escape and some of the rescued hostages are heartbreaking and saddening. I get chills every time I read or hear another story. This affects all of us, both near and far. It’s a tough time for our country. We have more questions than answers. How do you explain such horrific acts?…such evil?
My faith in humanity has been restored by the many Kenyans who stood patiently in long queues so that they could donate blood. The many who raised millions through M-Pesa to help the survivors. The volunteers who have continuously supplied security officials, journalists and other volunteers with food and beverages. The countless individuals who are providing support to people who have lost loved ones or are still looking for their loved ones.
In the midst of such terror it is easy to default to hate and the stereotyping of particular groups – in this case Muslims. We should remember however that the actions of a few are not representative of the whole group. There are people out there who hide behind religion and use it to carry out their heinous acts. Such people are found in every religious group.
Here is a conversation that my friend had with her daughter about the attack. (She shared it on her Facebook status) I think that it has important lessons for all of us and particularly for those with young children.
“Keilah: Mum,are Alshababi Muslims?
Pree: Am not sure but they pray like Muslims
KK: Why do Muslims kill people even babies? (tears roll down her face)
P: Muslims don’t kill people ,Al Shabaab are bad people who kill people because they have a bad heart that comes from the devil (very hard to explain this despite having many Muslim friends)
KK: So I will not die when I go to school?
P: No,you will not die,God will protect you to come home and eat the crisps I buy for you when I leave work
LESSON: This incident affects us more than we could ever think,above all we need to teach our children the difference between good and bad people,and the importance of forgiveness, the future of peace is theirs and it will depend on the lessons taught now by the parents .PREACH LOVE NOT HATE”