Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Terror At The Mall

I have seldom  seen a documentary that has reduced me to tears, but tonight's showing on BBC2 of Dan Reed's film Terror At The Mall had me bawling.
The film, through some horrific CCTV and harrowing personal testimonies told the first hand story of the Shabab militant attack on the Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi just a year ago.
With Muzak  echoing around the burger bars and upmarket supermarkets the audience watches in horror the security camera footage of ordinary people fighting to survive the idiocy of four killer gunman who have chosen to kill women and children for a fucking cause.

I hope that any surviving Somali fanatic somehow gets the  chance to see this documentary in some airless jail cell...for overwhelmingly it celebrates the strength and the dignity of the human spirit regardless of race, class, belief and community.
It's not just a horror story.

The fate of one group of survivors linger long in the mind. Behind a small display table a group of black African, white African and Asian women had taken refuge with a handful of children. Together, after several hours, the women fled the crossfire, each one carrying the child of another. And together they reached safety after being saved not by the incompetent security services but by a handful of off duty police and civilian men with their own weapons.

One woman of that group, a serene and quiet spoken Valentine  Kadzo ( below), finally added  "We all come from different communities, but at that time we were one. I’ll always treasure that moment because everyone was caring about the other.”

It was those worlds and their delivery that made me cry even more

32 comments:

  1. Very powerful indeed, John.

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  2. I did not see, better that I did not. How horrible.

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  3. And now ISIS threatens citizens everywhere .... I pray we don't see a repeat of this horror,

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  4. It has not been on tv over here, but the world is going mad or rather some of the people are.

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  5. The question is always, "WHY". What could it be that makes somebody want to kill people they do not know and who have never done anything to them? Yes, the world has gone mad!

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    1. What was most shocking was the scene they shot a poor man hiding underneath a model elephant...and in the next moment waving at a baby cradled in a mothers arms
      Madness

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  6. I was born in Nairobi and went to school there in my early years. It saddens me so much what it has become. My family has many wonderful memories of Kenya.

    The mall shootings was just awful. A despicable act of terror. That woman's quote is, however uplifting as is the image of people carrying children to safety.

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  7. And my eyes are leaking just reading about it.

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  8. Horrifying.

    Love,
    Janie

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  9. If there is anything, anything at all that we should be thankful for in this incident, is that the two kids you show above didn't seem to be so aware as their saviors were. Perhaps in years ahead it will not be a memory that will haunt them.
    I know nothing else that can draw hope from this. The courage of people, yes, there is that.
    But religion, in all it's forms, has done more damage to the human race than anything. Radical Islam is just another point on the continuum that includes other religions and racial hatred. Any value system that says others outside their system are the enemy is simply wrong.
    Every time I look at someone and think 'they aren't from around here', every time someone looks at a stranger with suspicion and doubt, we're perpetuating that.
    Sorry for the long-winded reply.

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  10. I cry because we all could be one all the time. It should not take a crisis.

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  11. I have not seen this but on some channel (possibly PBS) after this happened there was a a special report about what had happened.
    I watched it and cried.
    Just awful.

    cheers, parsnip

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  12. And what did those juvenile terrorists gain.... absolutely nothing.

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  13. Have this one set to record on the DVR. I don't want to see it, but I feel I need to see it, if that makes sense. For those here in the states, it will be on CNN this Friday, Sept. 26 at 9:00pm and again at 11:00pm (those are both Eastern time).

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  14. People are capable of such barbaric actions. And on the other hand, such good. The human brain is a complex organ. I wonder if science will ever be able to reprogram the bad ones and if society will allow it to happen. Imagine what the world could be.

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  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. yael, there was no need to delete your post
      i understand that things have been terrible for you over the years a fact i think we overlook

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    2. I agree, I read it before you removed it and it was fine to say what you said Yael. Have a happy afternoonx

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    3. thank you Rachel and Jhon.I wrote the comment and went to visit my 91 years old father in Tel- Aviv. While driving those 60 km I had time to think. I thought that may be it is not fair to dump every time my fears on people. Irealy wanted people to understand that we are not the bad guys in our ongoing story here but than I thought about my bad english and about Johne being such a nice person and decided that if I want to complain I can do it in my blog:) And now it is our holiday and I want to be positive any way:) both your comments tuched my heart very much, thank you again.

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  16. I didn't know it was on but am not sure I could have watched it. The human potential for brutality in so many parts of the world, in the 21st century, saddens and sickens me.
    The little pockets of the planet where people can live safely show that human nature is not all bad, but there is so much evil in the world.
    The heroism and selflessness of some of those people gives us hope but nothing can make amends for the damage done.

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  17. Dreading this weekend.........Is joining in with Obama on Air strikes a good move? Is this what the terrorists are waiting for?
    Didn't Nostradamus mention something starting in the Middle East?
    I hope that people from around the World can prove them all wrong with prayer or whatever anyone wants to call it. Wouldn't that be something?

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  18. I didn't watch it. My friend's son, wife and baby live in Nairobi, so it was a worry when it happened, but luckily they were safe at home at the time. One of their friends however was there with her baby, but happily they escaped unhurt. They visited Harpenden recently and said how wonderful it was to be able to go for a walk in the town and feel comfortable.

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  19. It is heart-breaking just reading this, I didn't know it was on or I would have watched it, although at the moment I am completely overwhelmed with man's inhumanity, both to fellow man and to animals.

    I was sent a link to a film called 'Earthlings' by a relative and could only bring myself to watch the trailer. She sat and cried her way through the full film, I'm afraid chickened out ....... even the images I saw stayed with me for days.

    There is so much bad news broadcast, I really do think we need a 'good news' channel, there are SO many good things both large and small that happen on a day to day basis and they don't get broadcast to counter balance all these horrific things that are going in in our world.

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    1. its on iplayer sue
      and well worth a view even though its a diffcult watch

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  20. The faces of nobility and humanity in the midst of indiscriminate slaughter by murderous deluded mobs are poignant. The scenes are shocking because they are so out of our ordinary conception of everyday life.
    I have a very hard time knowing some variety of this horror actually is the everyday life of too many people.
    We're in for a very rocky couple of decades as this strain of delusional tribalism continues to evolve and spread around the world. Unfortunately our nations seem more adept at military action after waiting too long to stem the early tide or paradoxically acting too precipitously with deathly power.
    The one thing that helps one deal with seemingly overwhelming horror is the totality of small kindnesses shared in our little piece of this world. John, you share much of this with us through your blog and that's a good thing.

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    1. yes the induvidual acts of kindness and bravery sometimes help to outweigh the terror.
      i am still thinking of another of the stories of last night's programme when a mother of two literally walked past the gunmen with her children, a wounded boy that she lifted into a shopping cart and an african girl shot through the stomach
      together they just walked out of the carnage

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    2. We are so naturally repelled by the horror that the acts of nobility keep us standing at times. It helps me but I agree it doesn't reduce the terror for those involved in it.
      Having never been in such a situation I simply can't imagine it but I am always stunned by the random taking and leaving of lives amidst the chaos. It seems to play out in slow motion as the mind strains to comprehend.
      The randomness of the world can overwhelm us if we don't turn often to the things we can impact. I have some difficulty doing that much of the time and find myself in a maze of incredulity.

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  21. I didn't see this film! I need to find it on the iPlayer. Although part of me suspects it might be better NOT to see it -- I suppose turning away like it never happened isn't exactly responsible. (And as you pointed out, there are uplifting messages to be received amid the horror.)

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    1. its compelling viewing steve....for so many reasons

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  22. I don't now and have never known why these people think that slaying innocents will accomplish anything? Their cause is lost in the horror of their actions. Sick indeed.

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  23. Sometimes I wonder if the only war we all need to be fighting is one between women and the men amongst us who are assholes. Death to assholes everywhere! Where's my danged AK47, did I leave it out by the chicken pen again?

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