Monday, January 14, 2008

Political violence in Kenya

Here's a link to the Register's editorial on the recent political violence in Kenya. It is to some extent true that there's an ethnic/tribal aspect to the violence in that mostly members of the long-dominant Kikuyu tribe have been targeted, but it is more accurate to call it political violence. What one article I read call "political entrepreneurs" are often skilled at stirring up identity crises and identity politics among people who have lived side by side and, as in Kenya, intermarried without uncommon tension. But when somebody wants to hang onto or seize political power (by democratic means in Kenya) they stir up latent identity/tribal feelings. It's happened recently in Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania, former Czechoslovakia, Iraq, Pakistan and too many otherplaces to count. I'm not saying that without the struggle for state power different races and ethnic groups would get along without any tension, but the friction would be notably less.

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