“Why had you gone to Somalia?”
“I was just fresh from Campus and I had no job.”
“And why were you killing innocent souls- children, women, men, people’ husbands and wives and mothers and fathers?”
“Though I didn’t kill, I would have killed to live.”
“How do you think your mother felt?”
“She never knew and if she would have known, I know she would get very angry with me and I would have tried to explain but I’m sure she wouldn’t have listened. All I would have prayed for is that she finds her heart to forgive me.”
“And what happened you are here now?”
“Ahh, it’s a long story and I hate my recent past.”
Indeed it must be a very long story. Imagine of that conversation!
I like children and it is my hope that one day one time I will get one of my own. The most interesting thing is that, every person was once a child. Who does not know the qualities of children especially those from zero to two years old? They wholly depend on their parents. They are innocent and helpless. It is the responsibility of their parent(s) to take care of them. So now, think of the hard core criminals, terrorists(Al shabab in Somalia; Boko Haram in Nigeria; ISIS in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria etc), Bank robbers, drug lords, smugglers, thieves and all those who perpetuate evil in our societies, they were once breastfed and maybe if not, there is a time they could not help themselves.
Again, think of the world’s good people- the Barack Obamas, Bill Gates, Malala Yousafzai, William Shakespeare, Lupita Nyong’o , Mwalimu Peter Tabichi and all those who tried/ tries to make the world a better place-freedom fighters from Africa in Particular: Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah and among others, our the very own Jomo Kenyatta. These two groups of people have one thing in common, each was once a child. They kicked their mother’s wombs for nine months or more, their mothers experienced labour pain, they caused them sleepless nights when they had fevers, their mothers were insulted because of them and so on.
How do you think a mother of a thief, most wanted criminal or a deadly terrorist feels for her child unless she is also a part of the game? And at the same time, how do you think a mother of a president of a country or an organization, a CEO somewhere, a honest billionaire and so on, feels for her son or daughter? Many, numerous times run down their memory lane. The mothers whose children are doing great things say, “Thank you Lord.” But those whose children are “NKT”, each keep on asking, “What did I do wrong?”
I know many will ask; “What brings the difference?” The hard truth is that all are as a result of our societal molding. Nowadays though may be unknowingly, people tend to create problems which later they might end up trying to fight – fighting your own creation.
I want to explain why in Kenya and perhaps in the whole world, fighting terrorism is a losing battle unless we change our tactics. I am sure everybody must be aware of WestGate attack, Mpeketoni, the most deadly Garissa University Attack and the recent Riverside drive in Dusit Hotel, all in Kenya. Also you must have heard of the ‘mad’ Truck driver in France, Istanbul Airport attack, over 200 girls held hostage by Boko Haram in Nigeria (some released already) and many others around the globe. If you look at all these incidences, yes at the end the terrorists are overpowered but in my own view they are always the winner because many lives are lost- and that is their main aim.
When the question “why terrorism?” is asked, in the minds of many the word ‘religion’- Islam, comes but I tell you this is where the problem starts. “So you are accusing us? Let’s show you we can make it real.” Terms like radicalization start being defined and soldiers affiliated to the religion turn to be enemies. But what people do not get right is that Islam is a religion of peace. It is founded on tenets and beliefs which do not encourage violence. Even its founder prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him) wanted to create peace, he brought good governance and before he died he had unified the two warring towns-Mecca and Medina.
The truth be told, unemployment is a major factor why many young Kenyans are joining Al shabab. They go to school; starting all the way from primary schools up to universities and in this whole process of learning, they are taught to work hard, pass their exams and as a result, they will get good jobs. They are never taught how to create their jobs and in contrary when they step out of school, they end up becoming unemployed. And while in that situation, when Al shabab agents come knocking to their doors, “why shouldn’t I take the chance?” Remember these are our children, they are educated, they know our ways, they know our weaknesses and they know the shape, size and the layout of our houses, therefore what will make them when they come back attacking us in our own houses not to win and yet they know all holes?
The other problem is with our good peacekeepers – most of them are not educated they know nothing about ethics. I do not blame them anyway, it is a requirement to become a police officer in Kenya and if you think not, tell me how do you expect a well-trained police officer to keep peace, to kill innocent citizens for no reason only because his/her seniors or a prominent politician requires it done? They accept to be used as scapegoats. Others bribed to get employed; therefore they will definitely be corrupt to repay themselves. When are offered ‘fried eggs’ by the terrorists, they will take. This too is salted by the government when our good security officers are underpaid, what will prevent them from stretching their hands to receive when offered ‘their-dream-come-true’ to kill or to allow terrorists to pass unfrisked? Mahatma Gandhi once said that, ‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.’ For the government to answer many questions in the minds of Kenyans, need to create employment for our youth.
Again the government needs to re-frame our education system whereby the students will be taught how to create job instead of being promised windy jobs (if the new curriculum is our only savior in this, then we should give it our full support.) Corruption is another problem, it does not matter which ministry is corrupt. For example when the minister for devolution is corrupt, the amount of the money he or she embezzles, would have been used to create employment for our youth. Still that would have been used to increase salaries of our peacekeepers-we need proper planning.
Therefore, maybe we complain too much about the problems while instead we should keep quiet or deliberate in low tones looking for ways to finish the problem. Politicizing every attack will not help solve the problem. When you cut a tree from the stem, the stump will continue tripping you down. So you need to uproot it completely. Again I want to let you know that a father will realize that his son is serious when given a second slap. Therefore, even if he acts from that point, the truth remain he has been slapped. And you should know that not only a bad son who can slap his father, even the good ones are forced the circumstances sometimes.
My dear Kenya, please take care of our sons and daughters.