Nobody wins a war.

What the hell is going on in Eastleigh? And Kasarani? And why is no one in authority talking about it, other than giving us meaningless quotes about security operations?

Are there people, possibly Kenyans, being held in ‘detention centres’? How is ‘detention centre’ a phrase I use in this our Nairobi, in 2014?

Are we repatriating refugees? Back to the part of Kenya we consider not really Kenya, or back to Somalia? Are we no longer hosting any refugees, from anywhere? Are other refugees from our other four neighbours, among others, being sent home too?

And how can we trust that the people being picked up are ‘threats’ and ‘suspects’, when we keep reading stories of innocent people released after paying the requisite bribes, buying their freedom? And what about the sweeps going on other neighbourhoods, if any? And why now, and not last year?

Why is the mainstream media silent?

Are we really detaining people in Kasarani, with no food or water? Are we those people


Now what would you do, what would you say
If you heard a bomb was headed your way?
Where would you go, what would you bring
If you heard a bomb was headed your way?

We’re angry. And we’re scared. And we’re tired of being some random idiot’s target practice as he works his way up to the rumoured virgins. But if the solution is to ‘detain’ people, refugees and Kenyans alike (let’s face it, the cops are not being too discriminating, if the stories are to be believed), then we have much bigger problems on our hands. We are wilfully casting aside that which makes us…human, and this to chase the illusion of security? What makes us believe that with every single refugee, Somali, Muslim…insert preferred culprit here…gone from our streets, what makes us believe then we shall finally be safe? What if these terrorists are not foreigners, outsiders or strangers?

And then?

What if the government decides we, you and me, are the terrorists?

What if I want to detain you too, because you’re not like me?

The song is ‘Nobody Wins A War’ by Raheem Devaughn, featuring pretty much everyone worth listening to in Neo Soul. Listen to Jill Scott from 5:20…

You make the sky a storm
You destroy the earth, make possibilities bleak
Your lies are your destruction, your justice stinks
Your pride is maniacal, you are the bearer of grief
Your win is shallow, your truth is oblique
Your patriotism is garbage, it rots and it reeks
Of death in the wind, the foul stench of men
Basking in their cruelty, rejoicing in their sin
You give up and give over so easily to the darker side
Because of your pride, you risk all of humanity

I’m angry.  And I’m scared.  And I’m tired.  But I am not going to hold someone in a ‘detention centre’, and I do not want it done in my name.  Not by a corrupt bureaucracy that places more value on a few thousand shillings, at the border, at the immigration offices, at the chief’s camp, at the police station, next to the Black Maria, in Parliament, at Sheria House, at Harambee House, at State House… places more value on a few thousand shillings than on my security.

Oh, this wicked, wicked system of things
As our grandmothers say
Will soon be no more, will soon be no more
Because nobody, no one ever wins a war

Be safe.