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Uhuru Park Blasts: Link Roundup [Updated]

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By now you’ll have heard about the explosions in Uhuru Park that occurred toward the end of a “No” campaign rally on Sunday. Kenya Imagine has reports from both the Nation and the Standard, with some video. The topic also made a showing on Twitter, and gave me a scare when it was covered by the BBC just as I was thinking about getting to bed.

This is a terrible time for Kenya, as we face threats both from within and around us; the last thing we need is to descend into more unnecessary bloodshed instead of trying to move forward. As someone who is not religious, I don’t know why the followers of two flavours of Sky-Daddy can’t seem to reach a compromise, but that is apparently what happens when you are told that your way of magical thinking is better than all the others.

The Kenyan blogosphere hasn’t been slow to react, and here are some links that address the explosions:

  • Kenya Political has a good summary and also reminds us that this is the second security incident this year, as previously Al-Shabaab — or their sympathisers — were involved in a violent protest against the extradition of a radical Islamic preacher.
  • The Latest Kenyan News also has a good write up, though I’m not sure how much is original reporting or if they have simply cut-and-pasted from another source.
  • Ken Opalo also mentions the Somalia connection and hopes that this isn’t a sign of a deterioration in the political environment
  • The Kenya Young Voters Alliance has a blog post by Tome Francis, who is very firmly in the “Yes” camp and seems to be getting a little happy with the conspiracy theories.
  • Kumekucha is also on the whodunnit bandwagon, but doesn’t actually come out and name anyone.
  • Kenyan Entrepreneur, on the other hand, is all about the conspiracy theories and is convinced that they know who’s behind the explosions. Who knew that keyboard detective work could be so effective?
  • For true tinfoil-hat craziness, however, we have to turn to an outsider, briefed by the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, who is convinced that this is all a plot to bring sharia law to Kenya. In other news: water is dry and cats bark.

Links will be updated as I find them. Feel free to add any news you find in the comments.

Update: and links I have found since getting some sleep can be found below.

  • Socialight Media takes a look at the social media reaction to the blasts, and has some choice words for KTN and their lax or non-existent commenting policy.
  • Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that churches blame the government for the explosions, which is precisely the sort of rhetoric we don’t need.
  • The Standard reports that President Kibaki is meeting with the Cabinet Security Committee. Detectives have collected another body from Uhuru Park, bringing the current death toll to six.
  • In the Nation, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission has apparently asked that all referendum campaigning be suspended. I don’t know if that would help or hinder matters.
  • Capital FM leads on the government calls for calm, and the interesting titbit that the police now think it was three grenade explosions, rather than two homemade petrol bombs as had been speculated earlier.
  • Reuters Africa has a good timeline to illustrate how we managed to reach this pitiful level of political discourse.
  • Kenya Chat has some embedded NTV video about the blasts.
  • Alshahid has a piece on the strong condemnation of the attacks issued by Kenyan Muslim leaders.
  • A good personal account of the variety of public reactions can be found at Universalism is Dead.
  • Architecture Kenya has also issued a strong condemnation against all acts of violence.
  • Soni at Kenyamyland has a heartfelt plea for a better kind of politics in Kenya.
  • The Guardian has a series of 16 photographs of the rally and the aftermath of the explosion. They’re not especially graphic, but those of a nervous disposition are probably better off avoiding them.
  • Members of the clergy asked Nairobi City Council for a permit to hold a memorial service at the park but were turned down. These particular clergy members are also the same ones running around saying that the blasts were a government plot. There also say that, permit or not, they’re going to go back to the park anyway.
  • Global Voices have their own link roundup of reactions in the Kenya blogosphere, conspiracy theories included.
  • KBC reports that three suspects have been arrested, though at present we don’t know if the attacks were instigated by local or foreign antagonists.
  • Christian Science Monitor accurately reports that there is more conjecture than fact swirling around the attacks, and that conspiracy theories are rife.

And that is about it. There are a lot of theories and accusations flying around at the moment. Given the details that have emerged, and the history of our country so far, I have my own ideas, but have decided to keep my counsel. What is far more important is how the country as a whole reacts, and whether the political class will respond proportionately.

Note: This post was  originally written at 4am UK time, and despite what the rumours say, I am not a sleepless zombie. As such, I will probably be asleep when the first people (if any) comment on this post. Nevertheless, do not even think about posting any tribalism, calls to violence or any other nonsense in the comments. My house, my rules. If you don’t like it, start your own blog. And don’t give me any crap about censorship: that only counts if you are unable to publish your toxic opinions anywhere, not just on a blog post that you have happened to read. Freedom of speech also comes with the responsibility to bear the consequences.

[Image by Ax2Groin]

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