It's been a rough week, for a number of reasons. Last Monday I was getting through a typical morning at work when I started getting alerts about "a situation" at Navy Yard. Navy Yard is one metro stop over from us, less than a mile away; we pass by regularly coming from Eastern Market. mortuus worked there, amaz0n_princess knew several of the victims, and our former home teacher was there that day (he is fine). This afternoon's memorial service took place at the Marine Barracks, another familiar venue. I thought this WaPo essay rang sadly true: Beyond the Beltway, Americans can be forgiven for not knowing the geography of the city. For not knowing that everything here happens within a few miles. That the site of the massacre is about a block from a park where kids splash in a fountain.
Then there was Nairobi. I didn't mind so much that the airport burned down. Kenyans are resourceful and they had the place running again within 24 hours. But the attack on the Westgate shopping mall was another matter. I really can't remember if I'd been there or not - I was never in Nairobi to go to shopping malls - but does it matter? It's the type of place I would've gone to during the weekend, to shop or meet friends. I would've known people who would go there; in fact, I've already received in my work email an agency notice that the wife of a Kenyan staff member was among the victims. It was indeed, a war zone too close to home. Most of all I feel for the families of the Kenyans who kept the mall running. The cashiers, the shop assistants, the guards, the cleaners, the parking attendants, the waiters, the cooks, whose livelihoods are now gone. I imagine that each of those employees support at least 10 people each. The expats and the wealthy will bounce back, but most Kenyans won't be able to.