Saturday, August 09, 2008

10th anniversary of East African embassy bombings

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." -Aristotle

Yesterday, there were commemorations in East Africa to mark the 10th anniversary of the bombings of the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

My father was driving me to the bank that morning when US National Public Radio broke the story of the bombings. I remember being worried because I knew a friend of mine and her mother were visiting Kenya at the time. Apparently, they had been in the embassy for some reason left something like half an hour before the attacks. She said they were so close that they heard the explosion from their taxi but had no idea what it was until later on.

This was effectively the first al-Qaeda attack on US interests; though it's important to remember that of the hundreds who died, almost all were Africans. US President Bill Clinton responded by flexing American military muscle and bombing an aspirin factory in Sudan.

Some regional press accounts on the anniversary...

-The East African Standard had some first hand accounts of what happened in Nairobi on that day.

-The Kenyan Nation has a photo essay.

-The Nation also mentions how the present Kenyan government has promised more vigilance in dealing with potential terrorism.

-Tanzania's Daily News has an account of the ceremony in Dar es Salaam.

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