By Michael Meyer
NAIROBI – It sounds like the plot of an old Western movie. A posse of desperados gallops into a frontier town, burns the saloon, robs the bank, guns down leading citizens, and disappears into the dead of night before the sheriff gets himself out of bed.
That is what has happened, repeatedly in recent days, in a small Kenyan town named Mpeketoni, just south of the Somali border on the Indian Ocean coast. Last week, a gang of armed men hijacked a mini-fleet of matatus, small group taxis, and roared into the city center, shooting as they went. They set shops and banks ablaze. In neighboring villages, they went door to door, asking for citizens by name. Those who were Muslim and could prove it by reciting the Koran were spared. Others were shot at point-blank range or hacked to death.
Pope Francis recorded his voice last 30 November, reading several passages from the book “Ombra Bianco” (“White Shadow”) by the Italian author Cristiano Gentile, which seeks to raise public awareness of the situation experienced by albinos in Africa: a population often rejected and repudiated. The Holy Father was invited by the writer to close an international symposium on Africa organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
The reading and the Pope’s testimony form part of a universal message of peace and brotherhood, addressed on this occasion to African albinos, living symbols of the absolute periphery, the “last of the last”.
The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa presented awards to three university students as part of the Embassy’s second Student Journalism Competition.
The objective of the competition is to encourage students to gain practical experience in journalism that can be applied to their future careers.A panel of judges, including practicing journalists, reviewed the entries and judged them based on content, presentation, use of resources and research materials. The competition was conducted among university and college students throughout the country. Students submitted stories that were published or broadcast in public or private media outlets.