The Hague Trial has taken so long. After such a positive start, after all the hearts that were beating to the same drum, the euphoria dried up and the message got lost in smoke.
It was all about the deaths, right? The killing of what we loosely term as brothers and sisters. What was it, a head for 500 bob or less? I wonder if people would stop killing if they knew they would have to pay for their victims’ funerals as well… Anyway, I don’t even remember at what point I stopped hoping that justice would be right around the next corner. It just happened. I stopped hoping.
The only victory, and small recompense to those who can still hear the blood crying out from the earth, was that questions were answered. They had to be. Suspects had to prove their innocence, and the rumours and resentment borne of genuine or hateful suspicion was momentarily snuffed out.
But how hard is it to just get the truth? Why is it so dramatic? Why all the drum-rolls and smoke before the curtain rises to reveal…nothing! Is truth so valuable that no amount of money can buy it? Or is some wealthy individual hoarding it, like gold, in hope that one day the value will appreciate? Perhaps when we all want it enough.
What happened in 1984? Who can say what the Degodia people had done to deserve being fed to the hyenas? Is it all ok because the Northern Frontier District remained a part of Kenya? Was it 457 people who died when they were shot at the airstrip and burnt down in their houses, or was it more than 3,000?
I don’t know the real story. Can somebody tell me? The only thing we seem to be sure of in our history as Kenyans is that the Mau Mau were invaluable in helping Kenya attain independence. We all agree and it gives us a sense of pride.
But surely, mistakes were also made. If we don’t learn from the past, and look at the right way to do things then the past will surely keep coming back, to teach us a lesson.
It’s been 31 years since the Wagalla Massacre. And the truth is still looking for a way to come to the surface. It’s impossible to put it down now. The light burning in the hearts of the victims is passed on to their children just before they close their eyes.
We will pay a far higher price for truth than the embarrassment of ignorance. So let’s celebrate the truth today, shall we? The truth about our past, so we can embrace our future with confidence and freedom from all the pain we carry inside.
These thoughts were inspired by a screening of filmmaker Judy Kibinge’s new documentary: Scarred, The Anatomy of a Massacre. In four years, she managed to interview survivors of the incident and document their experiences. Some have died with burning questions in their hearts, a yearning for truth passed on to their children.
I want to know these stories. I want to know the truth of where we came from as a country, and as a people. I want to be able to tell these stories to our younger generation.
I hope that one day all these secrets don’t destroy us.