Are we our worst critics? Lessons from New York
On Sunday morning, I woke up to numerous Whatsapp messages from friends and family wanting to know my whereabouts in New York where I am currently attending the 71st United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71).
Normally, on a good day when I have missed, I will get close to seven chats when I awake due to the time difference with Kenya. So, 15 unread chat messages on this day got my by body tingling as to what may have been going on.
I quickly got onto my laptop and a few clicks later, news of an explosion in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood injuring 29 was all over social media.
The bombing in Chelsea, New York, in an area packed with restaurants, subway stations, shops among other recreational activities came just a day before the kick off of UNGA71.
Despite it being far from the United Nations headquarters, none of the said 71 heads of states felt threatened enough to leave the city or even the country including our very own Deputy President William Ruto.
A day before the Chelsea bombing, there was yet another explosion in a garbage can near a Marine Corps charity run in New Jersey where no injuries were reported. This too having little or no impact on the attendance of the conference.
Well, I am not saying that the leaders should have left New York ahead of the conference which more often than not is of great benefit to Least Developed Countries and developing nations such as Kenya, but the situation either means that the United States of America is better at managing a crisis, considering their advanced security personnel or we are too trusting of them as one of world’s super powers.
God forbid such an attack happened in Kenya during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference, United Nations Conference on Trade or even the most recent Tokyo International Conference on African Development. I would rather not go ahead and imagine the consequences.
According to the Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations, Ambassador Macharia Kamau, it should not be any different on the treatment and reaction accorded to a country after an attack as each country is trying its best to protect its citizens, in a way they know how.
“This is a major concern for us. We do have a delegation here. We have advised them take all the necessary precautions to ensure they remain vigilant,” he said.
Some may argue that some countries perform a better job at protecting its citizens from terrorist attacks and are better equipped to do so but it clearly remains that no matter how strong the country is, we are all prone to attacks in an error of several existing terrorist groups including Al- Qaeda and Al- Shabaab.
As the world continues its fight against terrorism, it’s important for us as a nation to remain vigilant, no matter where we come from, no matter in which country we are in, be it an least developed country or a super power, anything can happen and it could be you to stop it.
That said, it is my prayer and hope that everything goes well during the 71st United Nations General Assembly.