A daddy blog.

16 January 2008

Scare Quotes Will Save Kenya

I respect the intention of this piece, which I assume is to make sure folks don't see the violence in Kenya as a bizarre surge of hatred bubbling up out of the countries collective consciousness. But all the same, it seems pretty misguided:
Hundreds have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced in the three weeks since Kenya's hotly disputed presidential elections. Once considered an island of stability in Africa, the country is suffering what the media has called a "shocking outbreak of violence" and "tribal clashes."

The key questions we should be asking are: Who is responsible for this violence? How is it happening? But we will not ask these questions if we continue to see the current violence as simply a spontaneous outburst of anger at the election rigging or "tribal warfare."

The international community must realize that Kenya's violence today is fueled by strongmen on both sides of the political divide. They are exploiting ethnic identity, pitting one community against another, as a means to gain power. It is a practice with a long history in Kenyan politics.

Emphasis mine, because everything bolded above is the proper way to refer to a situation where a group from one ethnicity burns a group of people from another ethnicity alive.

Yes, there are leaders in Kenya who have, at the very least, winked at the violence. If reports eventually come out that Kenyans were paid by politically connected bosses to club their fellow man, no one will be surprised.

But that's true of every ethnically riven country, of every ethnic cleansing, of every genocide. Even in healthy democracies, there are always cynical, selfish politicians looking to grab power through nasty means. Give them a chance in our own country, and they'll happily champion whatever evil is most popular.

What makes some countries at some times different is how willing their populace is to be lead through hate.

Kenya has an ethnic hate problem and irresponsible political elites. They're not mutually exclusive.

Via Black Star Journal.