On Monday, two days after the siege began, we went for a walk down dusty Kisumu roads, dragonflies lazily circling our ankles.
A heavy drop on my head and then, rapidly, violently, rain blotching on my back, spattering on my bare arms. We took shelter beneath a bougainvillea tree, next to a ditch heaped with splendid pink blossoms. Beautiful, dead.
A crack of thunder drove us back into the open. By then, the roads were red rivers. We were wrapped in my sodden indigo scarf.
And it would not leave me. The string of no-no-no on my lips, the fierce disbelief burning in my chest. Westgate, starry lights overhead and icecream and those gleaming pink floors. Those expanses of shining floors are stained with blood, and they will never be clean. The front steps where I skipped up, feeling light and cool and young and happy and free – and a picture on KTN: a dead man lying on those same steps. My whole body filled with horror.
We have seen the pictures. The innocent. The children...
We Are One, they all cry, and I cry it too, my heart thundering with harambee and gratitude that I am part of this land, that Kenya is mine and I belong to your red earth, your jacarandas, your cicada song and your mighty sun –
I am proud of this bravery, this heroism.
But Kenya, beloved, let us remember to grieve, too. Let us withdraw during these days of national mourning. Silence us, Kenya, let us remember what we’ve lost.
And justice. In this courage – the strength to keep moving forward, to banish our fear – let us seek the white flame of justice. We cannot forget the lives snatched away. A thousand deaths remain unavenged in Kenya's recent past. No more. No more.
We Are One.
And never, never, never again.
'Shall I leave their innocent blood unavenged? No, I will not.' Joel 3:21