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Victims of the Dusit Terrorist Attack in Nairobi are laid to rest. Photo credit: Daily Active Kenya.

Kenyans are rightly criticizing The New York Times‘ publication of victims’ photos from the January 15 Al Shabaab terrorist attack on Dusit D2 Hotel and Secret Gardens restaurant, Riverside Complex, Nairobi, which claimed 21 lives, according to an updated report by The Star. The graphic photos were posted on Twitter and swiftly drew backlash. The American media house subsequently had its photo handle, @NYTphoto, suspended by Twitter for violating its guidelines.

The publication of the photos represented a Western media double standard when it came to negative news from Africa: unlike their coverage of the many mass shootings in the US during which they have never published graphic images of victims, the Times did not hesitate to do this in covering the Dusit attack. Shortly after it began being called out, with more than 12,000 people having signed a Change.org petition to force the paper to take down the photos, it made a tweet that basically justifies the decision.

But Twitter users were having none of it.

Using the hashtag #deportkimiko, some Kenyans are pushing for the removal of The New York Times‘ East Africa bureau chief, the Paris-born Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, less than four months into her appointment. The controversial report of the attack—which emphasized that the complex houses foreign companies without mentioning that it actually houses many more Kenyan companies—had been written by her, and she had been among the first to tweet it with the images. Her initial response to the criticism had been “dismissive.”

Kimiko, who has been described by Hapa Kenya as someone who “doesn’t respect black bodies and Kenya to some extent,” had returned with a softer stance.

This is a profoundly tragic development. We commiserate with Kenyans.

Read more about it on Africanews and Daily Nation.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. The recipient of the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature in 2019, he is a judge for The Gerald Kraak Prize and was a judge for The Morland Writing Scholarship in 2019. He is Nonfiction Editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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