When will it stop?

It’s been a couple of days since the Riverside Attack in Kenya which Al-Shabaab militants have since claimed like it’s something to be proud of.

An achievement or feat of some kind warranting an award and our applause, when what they did was hurt dozens of innocent people. Someone lost a parent, a child, sibling or partner. Two best friends, Abdallah and Feisal, who were having lunch didn’t make it.

Once again, we find ourselves asking the same questions we do following a terrorist attack. Why does this evil continue? Why are these murderers so determined to cause so much pain and damage to people they usually don’t even know?

Why do they target the places they do and what compels them to inflict such carnage? We ask these questions because it doesn’t make sense to us. Why would anyone want to blow themselves up? With robbery, say of a bank, the masterminds have a goal.

Steal as much money, jewelry and other valuables as they can. What do terrorists have to gain? Surely, they don’t really believe that seven virgin hogwash! Listening to survivors recount how they had to hide in stores and toilets for hours, I could only imagine their terror.

I looked around our office building wondering where I’d hide in the event that the unfortunate happened and there’s really not many places as ours is one of those open workspaces. There’s one entrance to almost everything.

The tearoom, meeting room, toilet, I believe even the boss’ office doesn’t have an emergency exit so we would certainly be trapped. The thought alone terrifies me and that’s what makes the aftermath of these terror attacks even worse.

The sheer randomness of these senseless acts of violence means we’re all at risk. You don’t know when and where they’ll strike next and so you can’t “prepare” or plan your escape in advance. Some attacks happened early in the morning, others later in the day.

Buses, schools, airports, plush hotels, places of worship and restaurants have all been hit before and so you just don’t know the next target. I got chills hearing about another survivor who tweeted what he thought was a final goodbye to his loved ones fearing he was going to die.

Can you imagine having to send that message? Or receiving it from a friend or relative? I’m so glad he was eventually rescued. The other positives from this tragedy are all the selfless acts.

The Special Forces who quickly converged to take on the attackers because in doing so, they risked their own lives. The Red Cross Staff and volunteers, trauma counsellors and other Medics on hand to treat the injured, Kenyans who answered the call to donate blood at a moment’s notice and the lady who brought tea and refreshments for the Security Forces and Rescue Teams! Just goes to show that you can’t break the human spirit and that is what gives me hope. That even in moments of distress, strangers are willing to help.

 

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