It is shocking to read and hear about elections dissolving into civil crisis as we are seeing in Kenya right now. However, as a Kenyan friend of mine is warning, we should be reluctant to take media portrayal of an event as absolute truth:
“When it comes to international media I am nothing short of disgusted. The international community has a very bad (not to mention ignorant) view of Africa. So when something happens to slightly re-affirm that view they have a field day with it. I am not in any way trying to downplay what is happening in Kenya but you all have to understand that there are those of us who voted for the current president and are happy with the outcome. However, a happy Kenyan is not deemed 'newsworthy' as compared to a disgruntled rioter. That is the sadistic nature of journalism.
Before I watched the international coverage on the Kenya, I used to feed on everything the news said. At least now I know to take everything with a pinch of salt...Kenya has 42 tribes, that's why I don't see the Rwanda scenario playing out. However, the biggest tribe (the Kikuyu) are scattered everywhere in Kenya. There's even a joke that they are found everywhere in the world. The opposition has decided to eliminate Kikuyus in the opposition strongholds..thus the killing. Only because the president is Kikuyu. Apart from those places in Western Kenya, the rest of us are fine...it's very unfortunate and maybe the Kofi Annan team will realize that this has shifted from a political crisis to a humanitarian crisis.”
It is hard to understand the political situation going on in countries far away from us, ruled in a way unknown to us. Judi, my friend, makes a provocative argument about the desire to sensationalize stories rather than give bare-bones facts of the matter in cases like these, and it is difficult to know where to go to learn exactly what is taking place without hyperbole.