World in View: New Kenya massacre

May 7, 2015

From the May-June 2015 issue of News & Letters

In a day-long orgy of murder on April 2, four al-Shabaab terrorists invaded the campus of Garissa University College and killed 143 students. They took hostages and killed them, singling out those identified as Christian.

Kenya’s Muslims denounced this hideous crime and expressed solidarity with the victims. As with previous massacres, like the 2013 Westgate Mall killings, Somalia-based al-Shabaab means to drive a wedge between communities.

Solidarity at the level of the common people hasn’t been defeated. The Kenyan elite—both current President Uhuru Kenyatta and rival Raila Odinga included—are more problematic. Government responses have sometimes included scapegoating of Somali refugees, ironically, in flight from al-Shabaab rule.

Al-Shabaab has much in common with other nihilistic terror groups it relates to, including al-Qaeda, IS, and Nigeria’s Boko Haram. Not least is the way these groups, while being repeatedly marginalized and defeated, yet piggyback on every counter-revolutionary movement to find vile, destructive new life.

—Gerry Emmett

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