Saturday, February 2, 2008

say something

Violence in Kenya. I don't need to write about it because we've all read about it and seen the footage. It's awful, and it's particularly awful because it shows that even the most stable of all African countries is still like a pile a wood. Drop a match and no matter how peacefully it's been sitting, it will erupt into flames. This has to stop.

Kofi Annan is there right now, trying to broker peace. But I can't help but think: where the hell are the Tanzanians? Where in particular is President Kikwete?

Let's remember that Tanzania hasn't exactly been a shrinking violet in the past. When the Ugandans invaded, the Tanzanians didn't just drive them out, they invaded Uganda in return, sending Idi Amin running. And Kikwete is known as a diplomat, having played a significant role in brokering peace in Burundi and the Congo (yes, it was a fragile peace, and it's over now, but still).

But lately African countries have been butting out of each others' business. The most tragic example of this, and I've ranted about this before, is Mugabe, who is still, 27 years later, bringing Zimbabwe to its knees, while nobody says anything.

So what's going on here? Is Tanzania just following other countries' lead and butting out? Or is it something more selfish? Part of me thinks the Tanzanians are contemplating the almost $1 billion that used to come into Kenya from tourism every year. That money won't be seen again in Kenya for some time. Has the possibility that some of this money may come into Tanzania instead become more appealing than saying anything to stop the burning tire necklaces, machetes and poisoned arrows across the border?

I feel sick thinking about it.


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