Friday, February 29, 2008

Archived quotes & links from right sidebar - 1/29/2008

The postcard Kenya is gone
"The postcard Kenya that everyone sees with elephants and nice sunsets is gone. We have to now deal with the reality of Kenya, which is the majority of people who live in slums with no toilets and have a very hard life."
John Githongo, Former anti-corruption official

Kenya's huge wealth gap
While Kenya's most obvious divisions follow tribal [ethnic] lines, those killed on both sides tend to have much more in common as peasant farmers or slum dwellers than they do with the ultra wealthy Kibaki and Odinga. According to U.N. figures:
+ Kenya has a huge wealth gap
+ 10 percent of Kenyans control 42 percent of the economy
+ The poorest 10 percent hold less than 1 percent of the wealth
+ Almost half of Kenya's 36 million people live on a dollar a day
+ Around 500,000 young Kenyans join the job market each year, but many fail to find work, swelling the number of disaffected youths
+ Poverty is a driving force behind high levels of crime that affect both rich and poor Kenyans.

"If this issue is not resolved, the worst thing we would hear or see is a class war where these people, men and women, say they have nothing to lose."
--Abbas GulletKenya Red Cross Secretary-General Speaking to Kenyan business leaders

A local daily columnist wrote recently that it was naive to expect that pro-Kibaki and pro-Odinga gangs would only fight against each other forever.
> Read the entire Reuters article by clicking here.

Tackle economic disparities
"...The problem is not fundamentally ethnic. The problems are related to class and the tensions between the haves and have-nots. Ethnicity is a symptom of a problem and not the root cause.... If we tackle the economic and political problems facing the country the issue of ethnicity will fade away."
-Hizkias Assefa, Nairobi 1/13/2008
> To see full analysis, click here.

Land, politics, economics - root causes of violence
> Read report from BBC, an interview with a Nairobi-based academic, with incisive analysis of the root causes of the post-election violence affecting the Rift Valley of Kenya.
Three excerpts here:

"...the root cause of some of the violence is hunger for fertile land."

"This displacement [of certain ethnic groups by others, following the colonial era] - or more accurately the historic resentment that politicians can extract from it - is part of the root of today's violence. "

"Focussing on the Kikuyuis easy," he said,"but it's really aboutdeep, long-running income inequalities in Kenya" -and a rapidly growing populationwhich sees land ownershipas a means of survival. "

> To read the full BBC analysis click here.
> To read coverage from The Star click here.

It is a political conflict
“What is happening in Kenya is not, and I repeat, is not an ethnic conflict. It is a political conflict with ethnic overtones.”
Mr Donald M. Payne
Chairman of the United States House of Representatives committee on foreign affairs
Sub-committee on Africa and Global Health

Socio-economic reasons
“They’ve ignored the socio-economic reasons underlying this tragedy… I don’t think most Kenyans wake up in the morning and say: ‘I’m a Kikuyu’ or ‘I’m a Luo.’ I think people wake up in the morning and say: ‘I have to pay school fees,’ or ‘I have to go to work,’ or ‘I don’t have money for rent.’"
Rasna WarahColumnist for Kenya’s
Daily Nation newspaper

Proverbs for Peace
When two bulls fight
it is the grass that suffers.

Sticks in a bundle
are unbreakable.

Do not say the first thing
that comes into your mind.

Because a man has injured your goat,
do not go out and kill his bull.

Talking to one another
is loving one another.

> Kenyan proverbs

African parable for Kenya
A bird laid its eggs in a certain place and flew off. Now in that place were already some eggs left by a bird of a different species. The eggs hatched and the chicks grew up together, learning how to fly despite their differences.
--from Paterne Mombé SJ of the Loyola Hope Centre, Togo
Story shared on 15 January 2008
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> Learn more about AJAN & the Jesuits' work on HIV/AIDS in Africa.

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