Marvin's Window: Feeling pain for friends in Kenya

As I looked out my window, my thoughts kept returning to the terrorist attacks in Mombasa, Kenya, and my friends who live there.

Mike and Grace Mbugua (they use English first names that sound familiar to us) became good friends after we met Michael at a men's religious conference in Orlando during the 1980s.

I was living in Phoenix at the time and Michael came by bus from Orlando to the Gideon's International convention.

Grace and another couple returned for additional conferences over the years and the four of them stayed with us on the farm in South Georgia.

They were surprised when I introduced them to the Georgia secretary of agriculture at the opening of a tobacco auction.

In Kenya no citizen ever got that close to a public official, for security reasons.

Michael owns an insurance company in Mombasa and Grace worked for some years in social services on the docks of Mombasa, Kenya's major seaport.

The city has a large Muslim population from early history, long before Kenya became a colony of England.

A huge statue of Jesus sets on an island at the harbor entrance.

Nairobi became the capital when England built a railroad inland from Mombasa and the tracks stopped at the site where Nairobi grew into a city.

Kenya depends on tourism for most of its foreign exchange dollars.

The two big draws are the game reserves and the coastal region of the Indian Ocean where Mombasa is the urban center.

The recent attack on the ocean resorts and the earlier destruction of a Nairobi Hotel by a terrorist bomb has devastated tourism.

Kenya has a common border with Somalia, a known Osama bin Laden partner, and is across a narrow sea from Yemen.

The country has been a bright spot in Africa for democracy, education and a relatively good economy.

It makes a good terrorist target.

The attack on Israel tourists and aircraft emphasize the real target of the fundamentalist Muslim terrorist led by bin Laden.

It is Israel and their supporters—the U.S.—that the terrorists want to destroy.

The same Muslim countries have been attacking Israel since 1948 and want only for Israel to disappear.

I feel pain for my friends in Mombasa and the suffering they have endured in this fight to eliminate terror around the world.

The attacks on Nairobi and Mombasa have killed a larger portion of their people than the portion of U.

S.

citizens who were killed in the Sept.

11 attacks.

I expect the events to be as important in Kenya's history as Sept.

11 and Dec.

7, 1941 are in our history.

The Dec.

7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor thrust the U.S.

into WW II after a decade of peaceniks had insisted that Hitler and the Nazis were not a danger to the U.S.

Two oceans protected us while Hitler devoured Europe and Africa a country at a time.

We had long ignored Japan as they took over China and much of Asia.

Thank God the attack on Pearl Harbor came while we still had time to build enough military strength to win a war and bring peace to the world.

I did not want to learn to speak either German or Japanese!

I have often wondered if Pearl Harbor and the Nazi bombing of London could have been prevented if we had stopped Hitler when he first invaded Poland.

Would an early entry in WW II have saved American lives?

What would Saddam be doing today if Bush 41 had shrugged his shoulders and said "none of our business" when Saddam took Kuwait?

We bought peace with North Korea so they would not develop a nuclear bomb.

They took the money and built a bomb!

I pray Bush 43 and the world will stay the course and defeat terror around the world.

A bully in the schoolyard or in the world understands only force.

I do not like that idea, but I have learned that fact over the years.

Some of you will remember a column about the goats and ponies that illustrate bully behavior.

Michael and Grace have two sons and a young daughter that should be able to live in a peaceful Mombasa, just as other children in the U.S., Israel, Palestine and elsewhere should.

As little Sara's godfather, I take a personal interest in what terrorists do in Mombasa.

Christmas season is a special season to pray for peace in the world.

In my opinion, it will take concerned prayer, a strong will and a sustained effort.

Terrorists must be defeated everywhere or we all will live in fear of where they will strike next.

Even Kingman will not be safe.