On April 2nd, 2015 four gunmen stormed into Garissa University College, in Garissa, Kenya and took students hostage for hours of panic and pain. This was the deadliest terrorist attack in Kenya since 1998, killing 147 students, and injuring many others.
Today the UN family gathered in a vigil to honor those lives taken away.
147 is not just a number. They were daughters and sons, they were brothers and sisters, they were friends, more than anything they were human beings who were pursuing their education to fulfill their dreams, their hopes and aspirations.
The shocking images of that bloody Thursday will haunt us, and will be sadly remembered. The reckless attack on university students was a direct attack on the future of Kenya. Those 147 young people killed are no longer able to contribute their talents neither to fulfilling their dreams.
The barbaric attack took away from Kenya 147 unique opportunities. Those youth will no longer grow to become doctors, or teachers, lawyers or musicians, will not become engineers neither politicians. 147 lives cut short, 147 dreams terminated before they had the chance to make a difference.
That is why today the UN family in Nairobi united in their honor. We want to remember the victims not just as another tragic number, but recognize their lives and stories and honor their passions and their dreams.
The vigil hosted today at the United Nations Campus in Gigiri, Nairobi was accompanied by Andrew Cox, UN-Habitat Chief of Staff and James Ohayo, President of the UN Nairobi Staff Union.
The Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhendawi sent his message of condolence, but as well expressed strong support for the people of Kenya in their time of need.
The vigil was an opportunity for staff members to pay respect to the young men and women whose lives were so needlessly cut short, remembering the bereaved families and praying for the recovery and emotional restoration of those who were injured, as well as hundreds of students who were traumatized by this heinous and despicable attack.
147 is not just a number, today the UN honor the loss of 147 dreams.