RWANDANS AND JEWS-Historical Lessons for Kenyans

History allows us the opportunity to learn from other peoples mistakes in the hope that we will avoid those mistakes ourselves in the future.

Two things happened this week that had a profound impact on my psyche.I finished reading A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali and i watched Hitlers death squad which aired on National Geographic.

The documentary and the book had two things in common,they all talked about the same thing-while the book documents th Rwandan genocide in which almost 800,00 Tutsis were massacred,the Jewish holocaust saw the extermination of 6 million European Jews during World War Two.

While it beats logic why people would believe the lies that were being peddled by the masterminds behind these two events,it is worth noting that Benjamin Ferencz the Chief prosecutor at the Einsatzgruppen Trial, says that these people were not your ignorant,uneducated kind but were people who looked like you and me,normal human beings engineered this evil acts.

The Rwandan genocide were the same,neighbors snitched on Tutsi neighbors,people whom the day before you probably shared some titillating gossip with over the fence.Closer home we saw what happened during the post election violence,while it was not on the same scale it still bordered on ethnic genocide where people were targeted because of what was deemed as their identity.

Closer home the events after the 2007 general elections will always remain as a dark past in Kenyans history.Over 1500 Kenyans lost their lives during the post election violence just because they came from the ‘wrong’ ethnic community and were in the ‘wrong’ place at that time.

While the best thing would be to forgive and move on,we need to ask ourselves why tribe has always been a major factor in Kenyan politics.Just look at the scandals taking place today and nay politician who feels hounded by the media because of some perceived whiff of a scandal will quickly retreat to his constituency ,maybe to seek moral support ahead of the grilling they will be facing in parliament come the next Tuesday we will never know.But that weekend will see a declaration of threats and counter-threats to all real and imaginary enemies deemed to be a threat to the politician ad the tribes well being.

While this is a sad and pitiable occurrence,Kenyans need to know all wrong doings are individual and all these money that mysteriously disappears from government coffers only go to benefit these said politicians’ cronies and never his or her tribe.With this realization should come the realization that politicians only bring up the issue of tribe when they feel they are being hounded for their personal wrong doing and seek safety in numbers.

Anyone on God’s green earth is created equal and while we may differ in the color of our skin,the texture of our hair and even our skills,no human being should be looked down upon because he is shorter than his neighbor or he has a funny name .We need to be careful about believing what our leaders tell us,be they politicians,religious or persons in authority who seem to promote prejudices and stereotypes about a group or groups of people.

Looking at the change in Kenyan society today most people below the age of 35 are more often than not marrying out of their tribe.With this i hope we will see a more Kenyan identity devoid of tribal inclinations and prejudices.


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