I have a standard rule against writing about headlines; we have enough blogs doing just that. But this one time I am going to break my rule (I did make it after all). Normally, I shy away from stories with regards to terrorist attack; not because I am unconcerned but because I don’t handle such gruesome and senseless death very well especially when images are so visual. But I have been drawn to the news on the Kenyan Westgate Mall attack for reasons I am not very sure (Maybe it’s because I am human, just in case you didn’t know *smiles*).
Turning on the News these days is just a nightmare. It’s constantly dominated by some sort of sad story involving terrorist attacks, deaths or political unrest in one nation or the other. After a while, one even begins to accept it as the norm and defines it as News itself. These days, it is almost impossible to think of the Middle East without thinking about political unrest, death, refugees and its likes.
Such gruesome and sad realities come close to home, being in Nigeria, where over the last couple of years Muslim extremists have terrorised the northern part of the country, in the name of some religious/political statement or the other. But even being a Nigerian and living in Nigeria presently, these current happenings still feels like some far away story because, well, I don’t live in the north and have never personally experienced such nightmare first hand (Thank God for that). It is this way for me as it is for a lot of people, whose experiences of this is only what they hear and read about. I am not saying people don’t empathise, but truth be said, one cannot really understand the depth of such terror if you’ve never experienced it. Sadly, this distant reality is an everyday terror for some people who live in Syria and other places, even some places in Northern Nigeria. For some unfortunate people like those involved in the Kenya Westgate Mall attack, it is an unexpected reality, they only thought they could read and hear about, nevertheless, a reality that struck and they will live it for the rest of their lives (Assuming they were lucky enough to survive the attack).
Considering how dominant these sad realities have become, it is no wonder they hardly come as a shock anymore. Hearing about Boko Haram attack in Northern Nigeria is less of a shock than it was when it all began. Hearing about riots and unrest in Egypt has become a passing story for most of us, even less, attacks and suicide bombers in the Middle East. And honestly, this, in my opinion, is what makes it sadder. It is so sad and heart-breaking that such gruesome attacks and senseless deaths have become part of the world’s reality so much so that, no matter how much BBC, CNN or any other television network repeats the story or get different analysts to analyse it from different angles, it has become normal to the average individual who isn’t directly involved in it. We may stay glued to the television, we may empathize with those involved but the reality is, it is someone else’s reality and we move on with our own lives, our own issues and the next story.
However, this time, the last attack on Kenya Westgate Mall did hit me more personally than before. I have spent more time thinking about it, analysing it in my mind over and over again. Trying to see if I can understand the terror those involved experienced (even though I know I can’t) or what could ever make a human being lay siege on another fellow human being in much a frightful and despicable manner? Maybe my longer focus on this attack is because it went on over a couple of days, maybe it’s because the visual images of those involved included pictures of children with such unguided terror in their faces (Children who were probably having ice cream and enjoying the afternoon before the terror struck and maybe saw their parent or family member die in front of them), maybe it is because this time the fallen individuals became so personal, knowing that one of them was a woman who was 7 months pregnant. It seems so personal, so needless, and so heart-breaking that all I can really ask is WHERE IS ALL THE LOVE IN THE WORLD???
Love that promotes peace instead of war
Love that promotes unity instead of division
Love that promotes lifting up instead of pulling down
Love that is adverse to hate
Love that promotes respect for life
Love is the one thing I know that can heal the world and stop these despicable happenings around the world. Maybe it is naïve to expect sure love to rule the world but in my opinion, it is what the world needs and what it should preach because from where I am sitting, it is the only thing that can cut across boundaries, religions, cultures, race etc and save the world from such needless and gruesome realities.
I have chosen to write about this and send a prayer for all victims everywhere, across boundaries, cultures, religions and race… before like most people, life moves me along to my own issues and challenges.
My heart goes out to everyone involved in the Kenya Westgate Mall attack, their family and friends and the survivors, I pray your physical, mental and emotional wounds be healed as quickly as possible
My heart also goes out to everyone around the world suffering from one senseless loss, attack or the other; the refugees from Syria, Victims of the Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria, ALUU 4, Nigeria, Victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School, America and so many others. I pray for all survivors, family and friends of the unfortunate non-survivors, that y’all all find peace and beauty in life again.