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The Unforeseen Consequences of Abandoned Children that led to #GarissaAttack

Updated on April 10, 2015


So last week in Garissa at a university I had no knowledge existed even though I live in Kenya, a number of gunmen broke in at 5am and mowed down 147 people. Maybe more…I don’t know if everyone has been accounted for. Now the sad thing about this attack is that they were warned about it; there were police on the premises guarding it – but they didn’t manage to stop the massacre from happening. I don’t know why – the government is secretive and really one has to rely on tweets from ‘pundits’ to get any real information. Nevertheless, that’s not what this post is about.

Not Just a Number

147 people killed; its hard to look but maybe necessary to see.
147 people killed; its hard to look but maybe necessary to see. | Source

Sociopath or...what?

Eyewitness accounts tell us that as the gunmen came in and starting shooting people, they were also busy telling them not to worry about the fact that they’ll die because the gunmen would die too. They told people to call their parents to say goodbye before they killed them. Now here is where I’m stuck because the way my brain is wired; I always have to know ‘why’? Why did they do that? Was it some sort of additional psychological torture for the victims or their families? Or did the gunmen view it as some sort of mercy? Was it a way to soothe a turbulent conscience or some sick, twisted, sociopathic attempt to cause additional pain? I vacillate between one and the other. The thing which creates a roadblock for me to believe the latter is that these were Kenyan guys – I know that breed; they’re not that diabolical. So if they were just trying to soothe a turbulent conscience then…

What Motivates You?

Who are these boys who join Al Shabaab to turn around and kill their own people? Is money their only motivation? Do they really believe they’re going to paradise and 72 virgins are waiting for them? What about when the suicide bombers are women? Are they still doing it for 72 virgins? Or are they hoping to be one of the 72 virgins? I think that if you can find out a person’s motivation for anything, it’s the first step to being able to control what they do or what they don’t. These boys are so young, they allegedly have their whole lives ahead of them. One of them apparently just graduated with a law degree. He was a model student. So WHAT HAPPENED? Does anyone ever ask these questions or do we just go straight to condemning them all as the villains of the piece. Are these boys victims too?

What did we do to you?

Suspects From left: Sahal Hussein, Hassan Aden, Mohammed Abdi, Osman Abdi and Mohammed
Suspects From left: Sahal Hussein, Hassan Aden, Mohammed Abdi, Osman Abdi and Mohammed | Source

Bitch Better Have my Money?

I read in the paper that when they join Al Shabaab these boys are paid a one-off fee of ksh500,000 or about $5000 or else they’re paid a recruiting fee of ksh 40,000 ($500). Who is paid this fee because these boys are going off to die – as my son said, they won’t have time or opportunity to spend the money – so who gets paid? Likely the money is given to their families which means there is some culpability of parents and/or guardians in the recruitment of these young men. Somebody has to be the beneficiary. And if the spiel they’re given is paradise in the afterlife then they know they’re not expected to survive. Which means they’ve put this $5000 price tag on what their life is worth. And that really makes me sad because something is fundamentally wrong with this picture and I wonder if anyone else sees that.

Fiction vs. Reality

How many of them really even believe in this paradise anyway? Seems to me if you graduated campus with a law degree then you have some powers of deductive reasoning. And there is no way that you can deduce that killing innocent people will lead to a reward. It just doesn’t compute. Abdirahim Abdullahi, son of a chief, obedient gifted student, future lawyer…terrorist. What happened where those three dots are to convert one to the other? And how can you and I prevent our sons and daughters from going from one path to the other?

Abdirahim Abdullahi

student, son...terrorist
student, son...terrorist

Will We eVer Know?

The paper also said that these boys join Al Shabaab because they are disenfranchised and hopeless. They feel abandoned by the state and have no tangible futures. Mohamud Mohamed, alleged mastermind of the attack was a quiet madrassa teacher before he joined up. I’m thinking that the fact that these people are a certain type is not an accident. You’re quiet, not given to having opinions of your own, keeping your problems to yourself, no-one to speak to; nobody knows what you’re going through, what’s in your head. They’re just content with the fact that you do as you’re told. Until one day you snap and the killing sprees begin. Or is it that you just find someone new to tell you what to do? People want to bring up their kids to be obedient and quiet; easy to handle; easy to ignore. The consequences of that are that maybe that’s all they know. Obedience. Guy said put on this vest and go shoot those people. No asking why; no thought of dissent. Maybe you look into their faces and you see that they’re people so you tell them ‘okay man, I gotta shoot you but you can call your parents and say goodbye’.


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