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Kenya can draw lessons from Paris march against terrorism

13 January 2015, 08:04

Nairobi - Kenyan diplomatic and security experts agreed the country can draw vital lessons from the Paris march against terrorism.

International media outlets reported that an estimated 1.5 million people and 40 heads of states and government turned up for the rally to condemn terrorism.

Patrick Maluki, a lecturer at the University of Nairobi's school of diplomacy, said the event in Paris was an inspiration to countries grappling with terrorism.

"France is the birthplace of liberal values that have gained a foothold in many parts of the world. It was therefore encouraging to witness this nation galvanize a global attention on the threats of terror," Maluki told Xinhua on Monday.

Kenya and France have diverse political and cultural norms yet share identical challenges like youth unemployment and radicalization that bleed terrorism.

Maluki noted the European nation is grappling with social disruptions occasioned by poverty and feelings of exclusion among the migrant communities.

"Remember that France has the highest population of Muslims whose ancestral roots are mainly from North and West Africa. The second and third generation of these immigrants has never felt accommodated in the mainstream society hence the radicalization of their youth," Maluki said.

Last week, France lost 17 lives from terror attacks perpetrated by three male youth from the minority communities.

Maluki regretted that organized terror networks have spread tentacles inside the French migrant societies where youth unemployment is rampant.

"The French government and entire society deserve accolades for their restraint and sense of patriotism during the tumultuous event last week. People were united against this common enemy," Maluki said.

Also read: Paris attacks: Video shows gunman pledging allegiance to ISIS

He stressed that Kenya can only defeat domestic and foreign terror threats if leaders and the citizenry were united.

"In the past, our parochialism and disunity has undermined the war against terrorism. But France set a precedence by mobilizing citizens from every color and creed to condemn jihadism," Maluki said.

Kenya is ranked among top five African countries grappling with the challenge of terrorism. The other countries facing similar challenge include Somalia, Nigeria, Mali and Niger.

Experts noted that Kenya must be prepared to fight terrorism for the long haul as long as foreign jihadists find it easy to infiltrate the country.

"We have to reconcile with the fact that geopolitics and the fragile nature of our security architecture has exposed us to global terror. It behoves national leaders and citizens to rise up and condemn this evil in unison," remarked Joshua Kivuva, a political scientist at the University of Nairobi.

Terrorism is a mortal threat to nation states founded on the ideals of liberty, freedom and human rights. Kivuva said the marchers in Paris sought to reclaim enduring ideals that resonate with humanity.

"France suffered a monumental revolution that ushered in an era of liberty and demonstrators who gathered in Paris on Sunday reaffirmed this enduring theme to the world," Kivuva told Xinhua.

The French society employed innovative methods to galvanize a global response to terrorism. Kivuva noted the massacre of journalists at a satirical magazine did not vanquish creativity and resilience among civilized societies.

"The cowardly terrorists went ahead to kill innocent shoppers at a Jewish supermarket yet the act only triggered an outpouring of condemnation against xenophobia. The world stood up against divisiveness," said Kivuva.

He urged the Kenyan political class and religious leaders to unite and condemn extremism that sow seeds of violence and division in the society.

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- Xinhua


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