Pastoral pictures. Fields. Sheep. That’s what the website of this particular University College shows. A teacher training college recently upgraded to a university college. A great place to prepare for a professional career. Teachers. Computer technicians. Ready to contribute to a promising future for the region.
Image you have been selected and stimulated by your local headmaster to continue your education. To become a schoolteacher yourself. To help create a better future for hundreds of school kids in the years to come. You moved to town. Thrilled. You smile. You tell stories about your new life to friends who stayed in the village. They envy you.
And one day suddenly the powers of evil break loose. The day of darkness has come. Angry armed men enter your school and shoot and shoot and kill dozens and many more. Promising young men and women. Dead. Dreams of a bright future. Shattered. Washed away in blood.
We have no way to understand. Nothing makes sense. Anger. Floods of tears. Deep deep holes of loss and sorrow. All of that and more, but no sense whatsoever. Riddles of the darkest evil and the cruellest violence. One hundred and forty seven lives taken.
Education is a road to a better future, a promise to be taken personally and a promise for all of us in a society. Schools are houses of individual growth and social development, of flowering heads and travels of the mind. They must be incubators, safe and secure. They must be places of celebration, of pride and accomplishments.
The gruesome killings at Garissa University College are the starkest conceivable contrast to the pastoral pictures on the website, to what a school is and does. We must not shy away from these sights of terror, but remember these one hundred and forty seven young women and men. Mourn their cruel fate. The destruction of their lives and futures. Weep and double our commitment to education, to schools and individual students. In Kenya, in Africa and worldwide. In remembrance to these young women and men.