No soft targets

I SOMETIMES think of her as Grace, although her name was Beth Wabera. But "Grace" was what she was—in thought, in word, in action. I first met her in the United States in 1988, and each time we crossed paths over the next several years, her penetrating, joy-rich smile, the unrushed articulation in her distinctive East African voice, and her beautiful clothes all spoke of her homeland, Kenya.

Like others in Kenya more recently, Wabera died much too soon, a young woman. I never learned how she died, but when I first heard of her untimely death, it just didn't seem right. It didn't seem fair. Beth, like so many Africans, became one more statistic in a land where life expectancy is threatened continuously. That is one reason that today my heart fills with compassion for her fellow Kenyans—the relatives and friends of those lost so tragically in November's suicide bombing in Mombasa. To them, "fair" doesn't get a toe in the door of their grief—grief brought about just because they had the misfortune of living in a country deemed vulnerable to attack. For geopolitical reasons and because of a dearth of security funds, Kenya has become known as a "soft target" for terrorists.

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