By Judy Lumb
Producciones de la Hamaca, year?, 131 pp., $12
In 2008 when the post-election violence was happening in Kenya, I was very concerned for the Friends I had made, FUM’s field staff, as well as the nation itself. But, I really didn’t understand the whole picture. I didn’t understand tribalism or how it could possibly have escalated to the extreme such that so many people were dying or being displaced. The big picture was beyond my grasp.
I recently finished a new book by Judy Lumb, Ending Cycles of Violence: Kenyan Quaker Peacemaking Response after the 2007 Election, that places this election in an historical context in such a manner that it fills out those illusive details for me. Between the personal stories of people who lived through it and the many interviews with those who helped to bring healing and sustenance to the IDP camps and peace to the communities as they began the process of re-uniting, Ending Cycles of Violence, weaves together a story of hurt and reconciliation through the years.
But it doesn’t end with the 2007 election violence. This book goes on to share a hope for the future — a hope that has brought Africans together to work for peace in the schools, in the communities and between the tribes. It is a hope that leaves one anticipating the next election and feeling a strong call to pray for all those involved in it that 2013 will not look like 2008.
As Kingsley Kijedi said, “I’m proud to be a Kenyan. That is why I want to erase those first memories and set in new memories of brotherhood and love. … You can’t have peace just by talking, but you can have peace by doing something together.” Friends Church Peace Team and other peace organizations in Kenya have worked together to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and love. Will the next election be one of violence? Or will it be one of peace, compassion and honor for one another?