Memorializing all Kenya’s terror victims

"I want to go to a place ... where we can find the names of all those who have died for Kenya since 1963."--Binyavanga Wainaina.

Image of statue of Jomo Kenyatta by Mkenya Flani. Via Twitter.

I want to go to a place. A piece of ground, also a place online, where we can find the names of all those who have died for Kenya since 1963. I want to know their names. I want to walk and walk listen and witness know the lives of those no longer visible to me, but whose blood mattered. I want the children I may once have to go there and visit and walk through our stories. I want all schools to go there.

We are not a nation if we can’t properly and fully memorialize each and every citizen we lose. I want to see the names ages and photographs of those who died in Mpeketoni. Those killed during PEV. Stories. Forgetting is not good. It is in these acts, our public commons reawaken. The politics of saying we are not ready to face ourselves, the fullness of our pain, is the same politics that allows us to ignore it when a Kenyan strips the institution they are given to run, strips it dry, dry, and returns like a zombie, a plastic rubber-band zombie in some new form, to govern somewhere else again.

I want a public again. I want some random church choir knocking on my door at easter to sing at my door. I want to see three million Nairobians flood the streets to cry, and sing, and hug because our children have been killed. I want to stop feeling that we live inside mostly the private. I want never to hear the word self-empowerment again.

I am the product of a nation that empowered me. I am a child of Municipal Council schools, I am a child of Kenya National Library Services, of Provincial General hospital, Nakuru. I want thousands of names inscribed permanently in Uhuru Park. I want each name to have a story. I want to see the names. I want to see the names. Stories. I want to see the names. Photographs. It is not enough to send MPESA to Red Cross. I want to be a citizen of a nation that is not just Electoristan.

My heart is dull with pain, and I feel the pull to cover it all with that hard, now familiar Kenyan cynicism and move on, which really means suck the very remaining soul of it dry.

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