Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Kenya in Turmoil

Africa as a continent, as many may know, has been in turmoil for a number of years now. Too many years to count, actually. The country of Kenya, a former English colony, has been relatively stable over the years and has served as a democratic leader for the Continent.

That was a few weeks ago. Now, it's a bit of a different story.

A recent wrangle over the country's elections has left Kenya ravished and there are threats of genocide looming
. I don't pretend one bit to understand Kenya as a nation, and I certainly don't understand its current crisis except to say that there are widespread reports that the election results were flawed.

I was listening to the BBC's "Digital Planet" tonight and heard that a Kenyan living in the United States has, upon the suggestion of Kenyan bloggers, developed a website where Kenyans can report on any violence that takes place near them. The site, called Ushahidi ("witness" in Swahili), can be accessed either through the Internet or through SMS text messaging. While the Internet is not widespread in rural areas of the country, text messaging is a staple of Kenyan society these days.

The effort of getting the word out by Internet of violence and protest was highlighted recently with the Burmese uprising of late last year. The Internet in that country was shut down in order to prevent news of atrocities getting out to the larger world community. While the Ushahidi.com site has only been up for a few days, I doubt that the country will shut down the Internet in response to citizen reporting.

I truly hope that the situation in Kenya rights itself quickly.

Report Acts Of Violence In Kenya

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