This column is generally about the sunny side of things. The new spin to old things. The “we could also look at it this way” side. The one that makes you hold the newspaper closer, squint and re-read the sentence, all the while wondering whether there isn’t a law against keyboards bringing to life such sentences. The “fall on the floor laughing then get up to call the whole neighbourhood to share the joke only for them not to get it” kind of thing. Life is heavy, let’s lighten up here. At least that’s what the columnist thinks to himself.
After a week like this though, this columnist’s keyboard, undoubtedly like many around East Africa, isn’t moved to lighten things up. It is a sad time when the terror you see acted out ever so professionally in movies hits so close to home. When the blood and gore that flashes across the screen as you crunch popcorn is seen in pictures posted by your friend on Facebook. When we aren’t looking to Denzel Washington to give us a good ending before the 90 minutes we paid for are done but to the Kenyan police, the one we know more for kitu kidogo-corruption. When the death toll is rising by the hour. When the middle-aged man who left home to go shopping with his two children finds himself trapped by armed men. They will have to jump over dead bodies to escape. What kind of trauma are those children going to go through? The young lady, fighting for her life now, whose only worry earlier was whether James really likes her seeing as he is late for their date and has not called!
One of the natural reactions is to ask questions and where facts and figures fail, our experts have theories. Then we name how many of the people killed were foreigners.
Anger also kicks in. Track them down, make them pay, kill them!
Then fear. Should I go out tonight? I can’t shop there anymore. What’s in that bag? Security checks go into high gear everywhere.
In the midst of that, a young minister here says that indecently-dressed women deserve to be raped. Emphasis on young because old ministers in ill-fitting suits hardly shock us anymore.
It is a sad time. Life is heavy. This columnist thinks a lot more about the afterlife now. And about legacy.