For most Kenyans today, the concept of full-scale war and the tragedy that comes with it is still largely abstract to us. Sure, we had a massive flare up of violence in 2008 and potential terror attacks on home soil are now a reality. But the sort of conflict that ripped apart Somalia, the terrible 100 days of Rwanda ’94, the daily death and destruction in Syria and Afghanistan – it all seems so far away. It is difficult to imagine a Nairobi littered with landmines and the CBD a bullet riddled ghost town only inhabited by snipers at the KICC rooftop.
Even more difficult to grasp is the personal trauma that comes with conflict, not just for populations tucked safely away in peaceful countries but also for actual participants, thanks to technological advancements in warfare. The best illustration of this is the USA’s drone strike campaigns. From the comfort of an army base in Cameroon or a ship off the Kenyan coast, US troops can now carry out “targeted killings” of Boko Haram and Al Shabaab elements. The long-term effect of drone strikes in Somalia and West Africa is yet to be established, but studies of this method in Afghanistan reveal that these mini-Hiroshimas end up killing innocent civilians 90% of the time.
ANOHNI’s track transforms the seemingly detached exercise of drone strikes into a deeply personal event, capturing the moment when the unintended target and the drone lock eyes at the very last second before the trigger is pulled.