The Garissa terrorism attack by Al-Shabaab in Kenya, and its context - blog by Gurdur


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The Garissa terrorism attack by Al-Shabaab in Kenya, and its context
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Posted 08-Apr-2015 at 03:23 PM (15:23) by Gurdur

Six days ago, Al Shabaab gunmen entered Garissa University and murdered at least 148 people. The initial death toll was reported as 147, thus the hashtag #147NotJustANumber, which was created by Kenyans to honor the murder victims. The terrorists had taken over 700 as hostages, then let most of the Muslim students go, and ended up murdering 149, mostly Christian students aged between 19 and 23. At least one Muslim was also murdered by the Al Shabaab terrorists.

Al Shabaab is an Islamist, Sunni fundamentalist group formed in Somalia. It has violently persecuted the small Christian minority and the Sufi Muslim minority within Somalia. It cooperates to a degree with Al Qaeda, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Boko Haram (based in Nigeria), as well as with other Sunni Islamist groups. Al Shabaab has also mounted large-scale terrorist attacks on civilians inside Kenya. After numerous small-scale attacks and kidnappings by Al Shabaab inside Kenya, Kenya finally took very limited military action, in cooperation with Ethiopia and the transitional government of Somalia, in hot pursuit of Al Shabaab, who had just then further kidnapped two Spanish women working for Médecins Sans Frontières at a refugee camp. Further fairly small-scale military action was pursued but without much result. Al Shabaab then mounted further terrorist attacks inside Kenya; some are:

2011 - several bomb, grenade and gun attacks in Kenya, above all in its capital city Nairobi, mostly aimed at working-class people in Nairobi and at Christians. A number of people were killed by these attacks. Some of them are:
2012 - several more such attacks throughout Kenya, above all in Nairobi and also, primarily against Christians, in Garissa, a northern town of around 120,000 inhabitants. Again several people were murdered in these attacks.

2013 - once again many such attacks throughout Kenya, including Nairobi and Garissa. There was a large-scale attack on shoppers and staff in the Westgate Shopping Mall, in which 69 people were killed.

2014 - more small-scale attacks, including attacks on mini-buses (the main transport for local people). There was a large-scale attack on Mpeketoni town, in which at least 48 people were murdered. There were several large-scale attacks by Al Shabaab in Mandera County (of Kenya), in which over 64 people were murdered. A further 36 quarry workers were murdered by Al Shabaab terrorists near Mandera town in another incident.

2015 - on 02 April, Al Shabaab gunmen stormed the Garissa University, and murdered at least 148 people, mostly but not all students and Christians.
Al Shabaab is a fundamentalist Somali Sunni group, dedicated to violent supremacism, whether over Christians or Shia Muslims. The victims of the Garissa attack are named one by one in the #147NotJustANumber campaign on Twitter.

There is a Je suis Kenya graphic to express solidarity with the victims, as was done with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack. I have made a new graphic to do so, this one with:
"Mimi ni Kenya,
mimi ni Garissa.
Je suis Kenyan,
je suis Garissa."
"Mimi ni" is "I am" in (Ki)Swahili, which is one of the two main lingua francas used in Kenya (the other being English). While Swahili is not as encouraged in Kenya as much as in neighboring Tanzania, owing to long local history, it is still a main lingua franca used there, owing to the plethora of many local languages throughout Kenya. It seems more polite and supportive to have the Swahili version as well as the French version.

I have visited neighboring Tanzania several times, and lived there most of my childhood. I have visited Kenya a couple of times, and I plan to do so again. Please show solidarity with the victims of terrorism in Kenya; and, by doing so, please show support for Christian, animist and Shia Muslim minorities in Somalia and Kenyan districts. support against violent supremacism such as carried out by Al Shabaab.

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  1. Old Comment
    BluePoppy's Avatar
    My heart goes out to the Kenyan people and friends I have there. Since public universities in Kenya admit the most promising students from every district based on a quota system, the tragedy left a trail of grief touching virtually every community and ethnic group. The attack struck a particular nerve because in Kenya parents make huge sacrifices to educate their children hopes that they in turn will support their families one day.The killings robbed many families of their best and brightest. So sad.
    Posted 08-Apr-2015 at 11:24 PM (23:24) by BluePoppy BluePoppy is offline
  2. Old Comment
    BluePoppy's Avatar
    On a different matter I find it interesting that in English the plural of lingua franca is lingua francas while in Latin it would clearly be linguae francae. Should we call this Langlish?
    Posted 08-Apr-2015 at 11:27 PM (23:27) by BluePoppy BluePoppy is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Originally Posted by BluePoppy View Comment
    On a different matter I find it interesting that in English the plural of lingua franca is lingua francas while in Latin it would clearly be linguae francae. Should we call this Langlish?
    This scares me. Latin endings are something which I did in Medical Latin (which I did in German!), and I have no desire to go through the torture again.
    Posted 09-Apr-2015 at 05:03 PM (17:03) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
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