#147NOTJUSTANUMBER : THE LAST WORD ON GARISSA


Students dead during the Garissa Univeristy terrorist attack.

Students dead during the Garissa Univeristy terrorist attack.

Solidarity with comrades that lost their lives

Solidarity with comrades that lost their lives

Having let insomnia win in tonight’s war, I have resorted to getting out of bed at 2 am to type this piece. The past few days are taking a rough toll on me, with sleep fleeing because every time I close my eyes, images of Garissa writhing in pain and death are conjured.
Going by the incessant phone calls I’m getting from Grandpa Richard, I can tell he’s not doing any better either. The shock he sustained after the atrocious bloodbath must be a ten on a Ritcher scale. Grandma says the old man has aged ten years in the past one week.
The deranged cries of the families whose children fell victim to the terrorist attack pierce deep inside me, making humour desert me. Sarcasm too escapes upon the realisation that my comrades who survived the incident will forever live in trauma; with the horrendous memories replaying in their minds nanosecond by nanosecond. So today, I’m simply writing from the heart.
I was flabbergasted to learn that one of the attackers, whom a newspaper headline described as a monster and rightly so, happened to be a recent comrade of mine. The 24 year old would have made an excellent attorney, but instead he chose to use his gifts for evil.
Even more flummoxing is the chilling factoid that the country is crawling with virulent Al Shabaab sympathisers. I am ashamed to admit that some of the sympathisers are my very own comrades. Just the other day, the papers reported that three young girls, among them university students, were arrested while fleeing to Somalia. It is alleged that they planned to marry themselves off to terrorists and support their heinous cause.

There’s something very gauche about abetting mass murderers in the hopes of a celestial token in your afterlife. All true religions abhor such subterfuge. Evil only begets more evil, even in the hereafter. I could write verse and chapter about religious extremism, but this is neither the time nor the forum. All I’ll do is to urge my comrades to desist from radicalisation. Radicalisation is the exact antithesis of self-actualisation.
The tension in institutions of higher learning and the country at large is almost tangible, and understandably so. However, comrades should refrain from stereotyping fellow students by labelling them terrorists on the basis of religion. The country needs unity now more than ever.
While the nation wept until the colour of its tears turned red, some comrades took to engaging in the most detestable form of scare-mongering. They created fake social media accounts and posed as terrorists, then proceeded to issue bastardly threats. Such people only serve the interests of radicals, and remind one of the reason why jails were created in the first place.
The Garissa massacre should serve as a wake up call to our security forces, which have in the past proven to be as effective as dried up pens. Never again should our universities be turned from fountains of knowledge to rivers of blood. 147 is not just a number. Never forget.

jowaljones

Jowal Jones is a columnist and correspondent with Kenya's leading newspaper, Daily Nation. He also dabbles in fiction works at times, hoping to be the next Stephen King. Sometimes he takes time out from writing to perfect his deer-dancing and goat-screaming skills.