Westgate – one year on

Memories of heavy smoke billow-on a year after the Westgate Mall attack in Kenya:

Of how Kenyans, and the world helplessly watched, clueless as to what exactly was going on inside the mall; a swing of relief each time a message of hope came, then another pendulum swing into gloom and tension as the hope faded. We remember the country was paralyzed for days.

Photo credit | The Daily Nation

The photo above and minimal words would probably have been ideal to commemorate this day, but leafing through ordeals published on Kenya’s dailies today, some accounts beg to be written, especially remarks from parents of Former Bidco Sales & Marketing Director, 38 year old Mitul Shah.

The late Mitul passed on after he offered himself as a hostage to save lives of a group of children at the mall. Only pain can so vividly express pain, his elderly parents know this:

He was the best son any parent could have asked for. He was the life and strength of this family, the glue that held everything together. With my son by my side I had the motivation for life, I could take risks even with my business because I knew that he had my back. Now, I am much weaker and take no joy in anything – Amu Shah (Father)

We know it is a year since Mitul died, and we know we are supposed to feel better, but to us he might as well have died yesterday because the wound is as raw as the day we found out about his death. No pain compares to that of losing a child – Sudha Shah (Mother)

Even deeper scars from families of the 67 lives lost in this ordeal live on, and today, as more chilling stories emerge, we grieve with families, friends who lost loved ones, and the tens of survivors who remain maimed for life. May God comfort and give you strength.

A year on, #Westgate


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Edwin Kuria

Edwin Kuria is World Concern Kenya’s communications officer. He also writes for our Kenya blog at http://kenya.worldconcern.org/.

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