JOWAL JONES: I love my country, but I love humanity more


I love my country. I love it more than a shark loves blood. That’s why every time a terror attack happens in Kenya, I am usually among the group that speaks out in the strongest terms possible.

But there’s one thing I love more than my country, and that’s humanity. Where am I headed with this?

A week ago, the world was stunned by a string of terror attacks that sent shudders down the hearts of many global citizens. One of the most devastating terrorist attack took place in Beirut, Lebanon, where 43 lives were lost. But the humdinger occurred in Paris a day later, leaving 149 people dead.

This brought to mind chills associated with similar attacks that have dogged our country in the recent past.

The world is treading along the noxious paths that we Kenyans are all familiar with; we’ve seen our compatriots blown to pieces by grenades and had our fields irrigated by our own blood. Nairobi, Mpeketoni, Mandera, Garissa — we’ve been dragged to hell.

Only the wearer of the shoe knows where it pinches. We are well familiar with the pinch. That’s why after the attacks in Paris, I expected my comrades to take up the cudgels on behalf of Paris and unequivocally condemn the ignoble massacre.

Just as we lavish prayers on our leaders indicted for crimes against humanity, I also anticipated that the same empathy would be extended to our brothers and sisters in Paris.

To give credit where it’s due, a majority of my comrades expressed their heart-felt condolences. But a section of them left me flabbergasted when they made it crystal clear that it would be a cold day in hell before they stood with France.

They lend credence to their unabashed schadenfreude by saying that when Kenya suffered the Garissa University massacre, the world forsook us and let us stew in our own juices. Oh, how my comrades suffer from willful amnesia!

They have long forgotten how universities across the world, including France, held vigils in solidarity with Kenya. It has escaped their minds how the French government offered scholarships to survivors of Garissa.

I thought my cynical comrades would stop there. But no—there’s more. They suggested the government should issue a travel advisory against France, in retaliation to similar restrictions issued by Western powers for their citizens when Kenya was under

siege by terrorists. Call me naïve, but I believe only a mad man can find rationale in such kind of thinking. Now is a time to grieve, not treat each other with contempt.

“Why didn’t monuments around the world light up in colours of the Kenyan flag after Mpeketoni?” my comrades ask. “Why didn’t Facebook activate Safety Check after the Mandera bus attacks? Why didn’t people overlay their Facebook profile pictures with the Kenyan flag after Garissa?” Come on comrades, can we really afford such effrontery?

Whether it’s in Mpeketoni, Beirut, Syria or Paris, a terrorist attack is an attack against all of humanity. Love your country, but be selfless enough to love humanity more.