It has been a year since the presidential election that sparked off the crisis in Kenya. The world has moved on to an economic depression, a black president of Kenyan heritage in the United States, and deja vu in the middle east. Everyone (Almost Everyone) looks to 2009 with optimism and expectation. Meanwhile the fate of the displaced people in Kenya is suspended in time. Nothing has really changed except the name; ‘Displaced Person’ has been replaced by ‘Squatter’. The rest of the Kenyans have had a range of mixed emotions in 2008; from shock and horror to outrage and disgust then short-lived exuberance as Obama took office. The crisis itself has been temporarily fixed, but remains unresolved.
I was in Somalia a few months before it disintegrated and I’m surprised at how indifferent I was watching the events unfold on CNN. I however, was very sad to hear some families we knew hadn’t made it out. Still there was some kind of disconnect – because that wasn’t my country, those weren’t my people and most importantly because Kenya was peaceful. Only ‘other’ people went through such tribulations. It is difficult to describe the numbness and helplessness I felt as I watched my country and my people go through a similar incident. This time, I could feel knives being driven into my heart as it all played out on CNN. To everyone else, it was just news – my indifference had come home to roost.
Ushahidi was born out of calamity, to reveal to the rest of us the real cost of crisis to the human race – an attack on our defeatist, apathetic human nature and proof that your 2 cents really can make a difference. We are all bound to each other by invisible strands and our fates invariably intertwined. 2008 has been a year of learning and unlearning. Crisis, whether political, environmental or otherwise is a part of human nature and indeed an intrinsic component of a planet with elements struggling to survive. Ultimately, who we really are is determined by how we deal with a crisis, and how we deal with a crisis is determined by how prepared we are.