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Someone please explain Gaza, Israel, West Bank, Palestine for Kenyans

People who live in Gaza are called Gazels; the war in Israel is between Christians and Muslims; and they are fighting because the Arabs robbed Israel’s central bank called West Bank, right?

One of the most talked about stories in local pubs and food joints in Nairobi has been ‘the Israel war in Gaza.’

Now, sitting quietly in the shadows at the corner listening to these conversations, those of us who know that we know risk choking on drink.

See, most of these ‘War in Israel,’ ‘holy war’ conversations are epitomes of ignorance; noisy manifestations of humongous information gaps relating to exactly where the war is happening, who is fighting who and why.

Throw in names like Palestine, Gaza and West Bank and hubbub created by the six blind men in John Godfrey Saxes’ The Blind Man and The Elephant emerges, albeit noisier and more confused.

Then the “pro-Israel”, “anti-Israel” debate of the “the war in Israel” becomes what someone we know would most likely call “upperdeck silliness.”

One fellow after looking lost for a moment, summons enough courage to ask: “Hebu niulizeee, kuna tofauti gani kati ya Gaza, Israel, West Bank and Palestina?

Palestina ni ya Waislamu. Wanaishi Gaza. West Bank ni central bank ya Israel. Wanapigania iyo pesa ya West Bank, offers one Albert Einstein Kinuthia in the group with some finality.

Hata kulikuwa na Gaza hapa hapa Nairobi, kwenye ile Gaza gang iluwa ina-oparitingi, nakwambia waliangushwa na polisi! Wueh!

Ile vita itakuwa Thud World War. You Es wameingia ku-support Israel, baaas, sasa wacha uone Russia iingie ndani ku-support Waaarabu, boom! Thud World War nakwambia,” interjected another local war expert.

Waeslaili wanapigwa kwa vile ni watu wa Mungu. Soma bibilia my frien, ii vita ilitambiliwa kwa bibilia! Itisi a hory war nakwambia! Waisrael watapiganiwa na Mungu,” quipped some animated fellow between mouthfuls of rice and beans at Mama Onyi’s place.

Clearly, we do not have a shortage of war experts on the streets of Nairobi. More specifically, we do not have a shortage of Israel-Gaza conflict experts in every corner of the city, thousands of miles away from the flying bullets and exploding bombs.

One thing we have a shortage of in this town, is someone in our local media to put all the madness in local perspective; including patiently explaining where the war is happening, why it is happening and who exactly is shooting at whom.

We have left this to local village wags who have no idea where Gaza is in the world map; whether people who live in Gaza are called Gazels; whether Gaza is Palestine misspelt; whether the West Bank is the central bank of Israel; and whether all the people who live in Israel are Christians.

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