It has taken me a bit to write this because it didn’t seem appropriate; even now I don’t know if it is yet.
There has been a shooting in the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi says the radio and I still stand in the kitchen that morning, just out the shower, letting whatever I was doing before become nothing, space. I’ll email friends and see if they are safe, think about them all day and hear the news come out over the next days, the numbers go up.
I remember being in that centre this time last year, going for a coffee so that I could use the free wifi to Skype home. I’d make an expensive cup of coffee last an hour. The images on the news reports are of the same place, the chairs on the floor, soil scattered across the tiles.
It is the weekend of the festival. I know and have seen the work gone into making it a success, the belief that Nairobi can be a city that can have these events and gatherings, invite its writers to join together.
I’m reminded of a project I care about, one which shares the same values. al-M S believes that no matter what attempt, whether it’s a bombing or a shooting, violence like this is not just about the extermination of life, it’s a specific targeting of spaces where ideas, writing and debate are exchanged.
Storymoja represents this and that’s why these expressions and events, now – more than ever – must go on.
They lit candles.
I know you were there.