Garissa University Students: We Remember!

I almost couldn't believe the pictures from one year ago.  On April 2nd, 2015 almost 150 students were murdered in Kenya at the Garissa University.  It was around Easter Weekend and the effects were shocking.  Once again, Christians were targeted while Muslim students were allowed to leave the slaughter.  This tactic was similar to the slaughter at the Westgate Mall.  If one was able to recite a verse from the Quran, then one's life was saved.  It was indicated that a former student of this university aided the alleged Al-Shabaab attackers.  I wish all of the families affected by this murder some form of comfort as they remember their children.

College is a very important time in the life of young people.  I feel especially poignant about this because we are trying to get my daughter back into Howard University in order to finish her degree.  I attended Howard University because I wanted to explore my heritage and experience a first rate education.  When I attended school, the neighborhood around Howard was tough and many people referred to the locals as 'Block Boys'.  There was periodic violence and I know at least one student who was murdered in a robbery attempt.  We never experienced anything like the horror that occurred in Kenya.

Kenya is a relatively large nation of almost 45 million people.  It features English and Kiswahili as the major languages.  When I watch the interviews of people who lived through the horror I am impressed by the English that they speak.  It is probably a result of the colonization by the British Empire.  It became the Independent Republic of Kenya in 1964.  Its first ruler was Jomo Kenyatta.  I wonder if he is related to the current leader Uhuru Kenyatta.  I know that tribal differences have affected the leaders in Kenya and these differences are something that I have never experienced as an African American.  We have our share of Black on Black crime and we look for ways to try to explain it.

Image result for garissa attack

The religious undertones of the violence are what worries me.  It seems as though the incident at the Carissa University, the Gikomba bombings and the Mpeketoni killings were precipitated by Muslim hate groups.  I remember the Central African Republic suffering through the same paroxysms of violence a few years ago.  Christians have been murdered during the recent ISIS uprisings.  They have been threatened in the churches in Kenya and the Easter services there were conducted under armed guard.  I attended the Church of the Redeemer yesterday and Pastor Hughes was talking about the fact that we should be so happy to enter the house of the Lord without fear.

Many people express a lack of confidence in the ability of President Kenyatta to suppress the violence perpetrated by Al-Shabaab.  It can be blamed on poverty and wealth disparity as in other countries.  Many of the suicide bombers have wreaked havoc in other countries were poor and found solace in the rapture of religious beliefs.  I question what I would do if I had to stare down the barrel of a gun and decide if I wanted to recite a verse of the Quran, or die.  Some people use a saying, Jesus, take the wheel!"  I would have to utilize that term and pray to a higher power.  I pray for peace in Kenya and remember the lives that were lost on April 2nd, 2015 at Garissa University. 

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