If you have been following newspapers, websites, and twitter from Somalia and Kenya, you can’t help but notice this pattern:
Somalis express outrage and fury at Kenyan security crackdowns engaging in ethnic profiling of Somalis, but remain largely silent about (or in some cases even rationalize) Al-Shabaab terrorist attacks in Kenya.
Non-Somali Kenyans express outrage and fury at Al-Shabaab terrorist attacks in Kenya, but remain largely silent about (or in some cases even rationalize) the Kenyan security crackdown profiling ethnic Somalis.
This selective outrage plays well to narrow audiences, but is parochial, morally wrong, and ultimately counter-productive. It plays right into the hands of the extremists on both sides who hope to turn these tensions into a clash of civilizations, a campaign of ethnic cleansing, or both.
If these condemnations are to carry any weight, non-Somali Kenyans and Somalis must speak with one voice against both senseless jihadi violence by Al-Shabaab and brutal, illegal and predatory Kenyan police behavior. Anything less is just playing politics, and makes us part of the problem instead of part of the solution.