We Kenyans need to stop scapegoating Somali refugees. You know the phrase “blaming the victim”? It’s often used when rape victims are blamed for wearing “revealing” clothes, being out late at night, meeting the wrong people, partaking in alcohol, etc. Here’s another. Somali refugees fled the terrorist group Al-Shabaab and sought refuge in our country. We immediately started accusing them of stealing our business and jobs, whereas in fact, Somali businessmen have created jobs and boosted the economy. Insecurity increased in our cities due to poor urban planning and a lack of priority on the security system and forces. We blamed the refugees for infiltrating our cities. Terrorist attacks have been occurring throughout our country, from Nairobi to Garissa. We blame the refugees for atrocities committed by the same group they are fleeing from. Further, specifically referring to the said “sleeper cells” in the camps, these sleeper cells are throughout our country, not just in the camps. Rooting out the terrorists will not happen by pushing half a million refugees to their death. It will happen by increasing security throughout the country, and securing the refugee camps.
As for the xenophobic attacks now and in recent years in South Africa. Really?! Absolutely inhumane and disgusting acts. And after apartheid too..
Are we not a global community? A human family? I strongly believe that people everywhere need to change their mindset from prioritizing their country and their citizens over others. Hey Kenyans, Kenyans are not better or more important than Somalis! Similarly, hey Somalis, Somalis are not better or more important than Kenyans! Americans and Israelis, you are not more important than Palestinians! Muslims/Christians, neither group is better than the other! Your tribe is no better than the next. Nor your race. Nor your gender. And the list goes on. Can we just treat all people equally?
As for borders, they are often arbitrary, and should not reflect a line dividing people you care about more from people who you will sacrifice to help those on your side of the line. It should not be “their” duty, but “our” duty as global citizens to work towards equality for all, whether Kenyan, Somali, American, Israeli, Palestinian, Muslim, Christian, Kikuyu, Luo, black, white, female, male or queer. Populations through history have moved, migrated, such change is part of adaptation and should be facilitated rather than resisted.
Let’s stop drawing lines. Let’s stop separating people and blaming victims for criminal acts. Let’s look into our hearts and act like caring human beings.