Yesterday, as we were coming home, I witnessed my first lynched body. Yep, a human body.
Our matatu started to slow down and traffic was backing up a little. I noticed mobs of people on both sides of the road. Now, I hate crowds in Kenya. They freak me right out. If there is a large crowd following or looking at something in particular, my red flag shoots right up and I get out of there fast. Kenyans have a very strong 'mob mentality'. I don't know why. Maybe they are curious or bored or need something to get them fired up. But they usually run towards a crowd rather than away. And if something is happening in that crowd, like let's saying, lynching a body, then they will just join into the crowd without thinking about it.
So like I was saying, there were crowds on both sides of the road. I immediately clutch my bag (which now I giggle at thinking that that is my first reaction to danger) and looked at Kelvin. He said to me that it's probably something political since there were some big political rallies in Mombasa happening. As we slowly drove through the crowd, I noticed all eyes were looking at a particular thing on the ground. As we got closer, someone in our matatu said, "RIP" and I knew it was bad. Just as we drove past, I got a glimpse of the body.
I immediately turned away and said, 'Oh my God!' Yah, I don't usually use the Lord's name in vain but this shook me.
All of a sudden, I felt raw. It was such a raw reality. A living, breathing human body is now laying on the side of the road, charred will lumps of coal piled on top.
Now I have seen many dead bodies before. I have seen bodies that have been mixed and mangled from car crashes and other accidents. I have witnessed last breaths. I have escorted moms to the morgue to see their babies. I have been to open-casket funerals. So dead bodies don't bother me. For this, it was the whole situation that bothered me. Watching a human being burn on the ground in the name of 'mob justice'.
We assume the guy did something like stole or slept with someone's wife. Something of that matter. And the locals took it upon themselves to deal with the man.
Really!? REALLY!? Must you go so far...
Of course it made me ponder life and how precious it is. It made me wonder how people can be so cruel to burn a man alive. It made me sick thinking about how all those people gathered just to watch some body burn. They didn't seem to mind. Their faces were blank. I think if I was to stand there I would start balling. I wouldn't want to get a whiff of burning flesh.
My thoughts are still mixed. That image has flashed through my mind for the last 24 hours. I feel anger, hurt, pain, injustice, heartache, fury, confusion, and so many other things. That's just it.