Today February 28th marked one year since President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga signed the peace accord that started coalition government in Kenya. The signing of the accord spelt hope and peace for Kenyans who had spent two months marked with violence, fighting, looting, killing etc because of refuted presidential election results. Many Kenyans were displaced, dispossessed, killed and the events of those two months in early 2008 will forever remain in the history of this great country.
In commemoration of this day that marked a new beginning for a country that was on its knees, Concerned Citizens for Peace organised a photographic exhibition that captured those dark moments of our country. Looking at those photos today brought fresh tears. First because I saw how far we had sunk as a people and as nation and second because I was glad that we got out of that period and I have a chance to look at those photos without worrying that I will be harassed, arrested or even killed for being there. Things may not be perfect but I believe we have a lot to hope for and a whole lot of difference to make each day we live.
There were photos of women and men running, running from police, from tear gas, from gunshots, from bullets, running from each other, running helplessly, aimlessly but with a mission-to escape with one's life. There were photos of men attacking another with all sorts of weapons, men with gun wounds and others burnt beyond recognition.
There were photos of women and children, crying, I imagine there were screams coming from the burning houses around them. There was a front cover of a newspaper with an elderly woman with her hands on her head as a church behind her burnt. Many people had gone there for refuge, believing that no one would attack them on holy ground, how wrong, women and children were burnt in that church, some of the children who survived have been in Kijabe hospital for long undergoing corrective surgery, their inner wounds however will never heal.
There were photos of Kenyans pushing to grab a packet of unga (flour), many of them women, showing how poverty truly wears the face of a woman.
This and more disturbing and depressing photos makes the words never again resonate in my mind with a new resolve-a resolve to be the change I want to see in my country, in my continent, in my world-it starts with embracing my sister, my brother, my neighbor.