Modern Warfare in Kenya...
March 18, 2008 12:25 AM   Subscribe

Very recently the Kalenjin and Kisii peoples of Kenya's Olmelil valley began skirmishing over land disputes. Over 20 people have died so far. This type of inter-tribal unrest is nothing new in Eastern Africa. What makes this particular conflict most jarring to western eyes is that it's being fought with bows and arrows (Time Magazine Slideshow, a forum post with many large images inline, [coral cache of same]). You get the feeling that somewhere in Fresno, California Gary Brechter might be pretty wound-up at the moment...
posted by cadastral (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Gary Brechter: a caffeine fueled, sardonic god. That is all.
posted by jaduncan at 12:55 AM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

I can't think of a better weapon for disputes. If both sides had done this in Iraq, there wouldn't be a fraction of the number of deaths.

Actually, I'd assumed that arrows were being used in some gentlemanly way to minimise the carnage. After RTFA, it appears that the arrow is a step up in the local arms race. Weird.
posted by seanyboy at 2:08 AM on March 18, 2008

it appears that the arrow is a step up in the local arms race.

And lots more steps to climb.
posted by three blind mice at 2:22 AM on March 18, 2008

to minimise the carnage.

You must be new to war.
posted by DU at 5:27 AM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

I think the moneyquote is at the end of the Times slideshow.

A Maasai warrior returns to his village after fighting. "Nobody can remain at home doing nothing," says one warrior. "You have to go. One day, instead of going to church, everybody went fighting."

So it just takes a disturbance like a botched election and then bashing in your neighbors head becomes natural like shit. Makes you wonder which country is next.
posted by uandt at 6:35 AM on March 18, 2008

"One day, instead of going to church, everybody went fighting."

Everybody was

kung fu fight ing


-culturally insensitive asshole of the morning
posted by blacklite at 7:41 AM on March 18, 2008

(The "insensitive" part is that you... see no difference between Kenyans and the Chinese? I don't get it...)
posted by cadastral at 8:11 AM on March 18, 2008


The Maasai top my list of "cultures most likely to survive modernization".

Their adult male warriors provide security (using modern weapons) throughout a lot of Eastern Africa, and are known for their reliabililty and loyalty. As a tribe they formally rejected having a homeland in favor of their nomadic lifestyle, and now are coming to grips with the consequences (no schools, no hospitals) and so are in the process of coming up with a compromise solution. In short, as a culture they are very deliberate about keeping traditions alive while at the same time freely mingling with the modern world.

This looks like more of the same. These tribes could easily be having it out with AK47s (which are about as rare as rocks in Eastern Africa) but even with lives on the line they're keeping their traditions.
posted by tkolar at 9:23 AM on March 18, 2008

In addition to the bow and arrow, some of the warriors have adopted the slingshot.

Isn't that a sling? I remember those being pretty deadly when used by the otters in the Redwall books. I always wanted to try one. Times writers seem to not know their rope weapons very well. But cool photo.
posted by lostburner at 9:54 AM on March 18, 2008

Just wait until they are supplied by the same archery arms dealers that Green Arrow and Hawkeye rely upon. When the boxing glove arrows come out, things will get ugly...
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:09 PM on March 18, 2008

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