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The Laikipia pain

By Edward Buri | September 12th 2021

Residents queue for relief food and non-food stuff at Ol-Moran area in Laikipia county on September 11, 2021. [Kipsang Joseph,Standard]

We need a Moses to save innocent lives from blood-thirsty creatures

No Kenyan with a conscience was unmoved by the 2007/2008 post-election madness. The violence mocked our independence. We laid plain the plasticity of our neighbourliness. Any caring and patriotic mind was disturbed. Now, looking at the invasion of innocent people in Laikipia, we still need a date with the exorcist to expel our galloping selfishness.

The genuine cry for peace is not from the politician who drives through the smoking schools with a sleek, bullet proof limousine with layers of security detailing him. The genuine cry for peace comes from the priest whose sanctuary is now home to wailing families. The true call for peace comes from the father whose house was torched by devil-dispatched arsonists who have no respect for the toil that is his story.

The worthwhile call for peace comes from the mother whose child was shot dead for reasons she can never reconcile. The real call for peace comes from the young person whose school has been interrupted by heartless adults. The authentic cry for peace comes from the sobs of the suckling baby who cannot comprehend why the mother’s tears are mixing up with his milk.

We must be bothered by the frightened Laikipia residents whose tears are steamed by the heat of the fires surrounding them.  Let us listen to their speechlessness. Let us listen to their hoarse voices. Let us listen to their angry eyes.

Humanness tested

As humans - irrespective of our political leanings, economic status, educational levels, family backgrounds, races, spiritualities — one characteristic that distinguishes us from other animals is our level of reasoning. But the killing schemes of Laikipia - like those of  2007 — must be confusing animals in the Aberdares. “Which are these creatures? They are neither like us nor like humans...they are too strange!”

If the persons planning and executing these acts still insist on calling themselves human, then we are thrown into a sincere confusion on what it is to be human.

It is sad just how quickly humans can be tickled by madness, how swiftly we can engage in insanity for sport. How we pray that we will permanently hate the sight and stench of blood, come to our senses and return home to humanness.

Leadership tested

As the innocent choke in smoke, they long for someone to say “Stop!” As their dreams are sentenced to ashes by devilish fires, they desperately seek someone to tell their torturers “Let my  people go!” But the “Stop!” is slow in coming.  When it comes, it is laughed at and mocked by the fire sponsors. The command that seemed to be heard is “Keep the fire burning!”   

The confident Centurion expressed to Jesus that “I tell my juniors ‘Go!’ and they go.” (Matt.8:5-10). We listen around for the Centurion’s voice in Laikipia but its sounds like a remote echo. When the disciples were caught up in the storm they called on Jesus who, waking from his slumber, authoritatively stretched out His hand to the killer waters and commanded “Hush! peace...be still!” (Mk 4:39). Surely, someone has authority to deploy the assets that would return “hush and peace” to Laikipia. But those with the authority hesitate in their command. They delay the peace. So homes keep smoking. Families keep scattering. The angel of death lingers.

At the hour when citizens are writhing in loss, God does not desire our political leaders to wear the outfit of spectators. God desires that at such times, like Moses of the Exodus fame, they take their full authority and mandate, stand before the evil machine, look right into its threatening eyes and in all boldness proclaim once and for all, “Let my people go!” 

There are those who are openly turning this pain into political gain. They are happy to point fingers saying they will solve the problem if we elect them in 2022. In the meantime, they have buckets in their stores but will not fill them with water.

They choose to fold their hands and commentate on the thick Laikipia smoke. They embody the Pharisaic error – priding and posing as they with no sins.

Hotel Rwanda

In the movie Hotel Rwanda there is a scene whereby one of the foreign reporters goes out of the hotel against the instruction of his supervisor. The reporter comes back panting and plays a video tape of horrific scenes of people cutting others into pieces.

The supervisor is shocked that such a horrible thing is happening within no distance of their hotel hideout. But he is excited because of the “Great...wonderful footage” which potentially would make the headline spot in the evening news for the television station he worked for.

The hotel manager — an African — is excited that the footage will make the world come running to help end the crisis. But the news reporter tells him (the citation is paraphrased): “You know what, when people watching news in their living rooms see these images they will say, ‘Oh! How terrible!’ and they will go ahead and have their dinner.”  

Let it not be that we learn of the suffering of our people and just say “Oh! How terrible!”

Let us break down our insensitivities and dividing walls and rise up to help our suffering people.

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