On the road …again!
Afghanistan to Zambia
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek
Nairobi Bombing in 1998
Many years have passed since Al Qaida pulled off the attempted bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. They didn’t manage to bring down the embassy building but they did manage to inflame the passions of the world that led to a severe weakening of Al Qaida and its message of hatred.
Regardless of what most people now remember about the 7 August 1998 bombing in Nairobi, strong visual reminders of that day remain in archival records. Unfortunately, the Newsweek photo of devastation shown below is not one of the US Embassy building itself, but that of a Kenyan business college building that was located adjacent to the embassy. A 100 foot wide walking mall separated the two buildings, sparing the US Embassy except for several windows that were blown out and extensive interior damage. Indeed, there were people killed (12) within the embassy by flying and shattered glass, but the building itself was otherwise intact after the bombing. Sadly, 218 students and staff of the Kenyan Business College were killed when their building crashed to the ground into a huge mound of rubble.
Alternative perspectives of the rubble and the still standing US Embassy building are available in various photo formats
The left rear corner of the US Embassy building is revealed in a Newsweek photo (not shown) above and another photo taken in August 1998, as shown below.
Some distorted headlines about the Nairobi bombing at the time gave the false impression that the rubble shown was the remains of the US Embassy. Inasmuch as this short chronicle has been deferred for 18 years does not lessen the veracity of its message: the carnage was horrendous but some photos misrepresent the facts on the ground.
Time will not lessen the sadness of that event in 1998. For the Footloose Forester it sadly marks another place where he once stood, walked, and even conducted business; only to have terrorist atrocities visit that same ground. Other places where death and destruction followed the Footloose Forester were at the Dominican Roman Catholic Church in Bahawalpur, Pakistan, the US Embassy in Dar-es-Saalam, Tanzania; and a beach hotel near Mombasa, Kenya.
Some chronicles are rough and unpolished, much like this one is turning out to be. Until the story is related satisfactorily with other comparative photos of the rubble, many people will continue to believe that the US Embassy building was destroyed that day in August, 1988. Nonetheless, it is time to convert this sad story from a draft into a reminder that the world is still a dangerous place and our enemiies continue to plot against us.