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Friday, 25 March 2011

Former American Embassy

03.20.2011 - August 7, 1998, what began as a typical clear and busy day in Nairobi, will forever be remembered in the minds of many here in Kenya.  At 10:30 AM, the driver of the unmarked white van which just approached the back gate of the American Embassy demands the doors to be open in order to deliver a package.  After the guard refuses, grenades are thrown at the embassy and gun shots ring out, while curious bystanders peak through the windows to see what all the commotion is.  Just then, 2,000 pounds of TNT explosives shatter all windows of the neighboring 20 story building, and the adjacent building falls to the ground.  The embassy withstands the blast; however, many onlookers standing by the windows injured from the shards of glass that ripped violently through the air.  212 innocent people were killed in this senseless act of violence (12 Americans, and almost 200 Kenyans, most of which worked in the adjacent building completely independent of the embassy).  Coinciding with the attack in Nairobi was a separate blast which killed another 11 American Embassy employees in Tanzania.  Prior to my trip here, I honestly had little understanding of these horrific events, and while this incident does not always get the same attention in minds of many, the personal tragedies are just as immense and a constant reminder of the fears that all face people face.

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