Saturday, January 26, 2008

Machetes, Spears & Bows and Arrows, Oh My!

I don't know about anyone else out there, and perhaps it is just because I've done an inordinate amount of research on Rwanda, or perhaps I'm simply over sensitive, but even just the word, machete, gives me chills. But now lets add spears and bows and arrows to the mix.

Several of the reports that I've read about Kenya have emphasized the use of traditional tribal weaponry, especially in stark contrast to the polished suits and air conditioning enjoyed by the politicians who seem to be encouraging the violence. (duh... look at the history of Kenyan politics and elections and violence will no longer seem novel...) Here's something new from Reuters, written by one Nick Tattersall. According to this, the death toll has now risen to more than 700. But the use of traditional weaponry is important, I think. Well, it scares the crap out of me reading about it, I can't imagine what it would be like to have a man dressed in fur rugs holding a ginormous bow and arrow come to the door... the psychological implications are enormous and are indicative that this fight is not about the election. It's about something more and that there is no quick and easy fix.

Side note, is it a sign of the hopelessness of the situation that the best mediator available is Kofi Annan- whose record in Rwanda (when he was the head of the DPKO at the UN) is way, way under par in halting ethnic violence? ugh. Again, I've got too much of a Rwanda spin and so it is hard for me to look at him objectively but really... I'm frustrated.

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