all hell breaking loose
vendettas that date back generations
out of control
depressed, frustrated, frightened
chaos of post election violence
These are phrases I heard on the radio this morning describing the horror of ethnic violence that is raging in Kenya, a country we love. Our hearts are heavy as we continue to hear stories of murders, burnings, riots, and more.
Coty and I lived in Nairobi from 1981-1984. Our first child was born there. We went back the summers of 1987 and 1988 to Egerton University and returned again to Nairobi for an academic year in 1991-92. We have many friends there. We have friends that work in Kibera, the scene of the worst violence in Nairobi. We are grieving to see the country being plunged into ethnic fighting following the election debacle.
The BBC online news service is a good way to keep up with current events in Kenya and other African countries. The East African Standard/Online Edition and allAfrica.com:Kenya are more sources for news about Kenya. This is the news for today. We have been in the places mentioned in these new reports - Kibera, Naivasha, Nakuru, Mombasa, Eldoret, Kisumu, and the Rift Valley. We have ridden the train upcountry over tracks that are being ripped up by rioters. I can hardly believe that these things are happening.
I know that those of us who read from afar cannot truly grasp the reality of the situation. We are prone to err in either of two extremes. We may blow isolated events out of proportion and assume that things are much worse than they are or we may minimize the actual severity of the situation. After viewing this photo essay, in which the backgrounds of these violent events are so familiar, and the video news clip below, we weep and pray. Please pray with us for the peaceful resolution of this terrible situation. Pray that ethnic tensions and violent actions will not lead to genocide.
If you know anything about the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and how the West failed to respond, you will be haunted by the prospect that this could happen in Kenya. Archbishop Kolini, the head of the Anglican Church in Rwanda has said, “When UN Troops were asked to help Rwanda at the time of the genocide, instead of helping, the world abandoned us."
Lord God, you are sovereign over the affairs of the nations. Restrain the evil and bring peace to Kenya...and if we in the west are called to respond, do not let us turn our backs this time.