The Gangs Of The Nairobi Slums Should Not Be The Gangs Of America
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This is an Op-Ed in the New York Times by a young Kenyan, describing what it's like in the slums around Nairobi:

Terrorism’s Fertile Ground

By Kennedy Odede, New York Times, January  8, 2014

NAIROBI, Kenya — Terrorism is a global reality, and for me as a Kenyan, this struck close to home in September with the siege of the Westgate mall. Yet in many ways, growing up in Nairobi I was always in the midst of terror. As a boy living in extreme poverty in Kibera, one of Africa’s largest slums, I learned early on that I was disposable, that human life is not equally valued. Life expectancy in Kibera is estimated at 30 years, compared with 64 in the rest of Kenya and 70 worldwide. In Kibera, people are desensitized to death. Living is understood to be the exception.

I am 29 years old — on the threshold of a new decade of life. All my close friends from childhood, save for two, were robbed of this experience. Some took risks to feed their families; for stealing bread or charcoal, they were shot by the police. Others, who worked for as little as $1 per day, fell from construction sites or burned in factory fires. Still others perished in the violence after the 2007 election. Violence and loss became part of day-to-day life.

These are more than singular tragedies; they contribute to the psyche of being poor. This psyche inculcates hopelessness, dispels a belief in the possibility of tomorrow’s being better than today, compels a resignation to the fact that you may suffer the same tragic fate as your peers, and fuels anger because there is no escape and you did not choose this — you simply drew life’s short straw.

This, perhaps, is terrorism’s fertile ground. Because if you grew up as I did, self-protection requires coming to terms with violence and terror. Violence becomes a vehicle of survival. My friend Boi was 16 when he joined a gang with the goal of supporting his mother and sister. If stealing or fighting was the only way, he was ready. In the end, he was shot dead.[More] emphases adds. Kennedy Odede wants the slums of Nairobi to be better places, and who can blame him? I want none of these people to come to America as "refugees." They'd be "refugees", in effect, from each other.

All the awfulness in  Kibera is, of course, 100 percent African—no colonialists or white oppressors are involved. Kenya has been independent since 1963, and if they want a better life, they can stay home and make one for themselves.

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