We live in a dangerous world. Yet we prefer to call it a "global village" and pretend that nothing dangerous can estrange us in our capacity as "international society". That is perhaps the way we declare our love to the world we live in. Although it may occasionally sound rather as a kind of sophisticated voodoo only a pessimist would claim that it does not work at all. It works actually well as long as we are spared any real confrontation of what our "village" is capable of.
In our world there are many things we prefer not to see. It is a normal human trait to not want to lose our peace of mind, so we tell ourselves that these horrible things will never happen to us – they only happen to others, in war zones, in distant parts of the world. It is no surprise that we are fully unprepared for contact with the dark side of reality. We cannot be.
Catherine Muigai Mwangi, the former ambassador of Kenya to Ireland, was the Dean – some would have called her the 'Queen' – of the African envoys in Dublin. Five years ago she took charge of the opening of her country's first embassy in Dublin.
She had only completed her mission here this past August and had returned home, happy to be close to her only son, Mbugua. A single mother, she had raised Mbugua and saw him grow to adulthood and become a successful businessman. She looked forward to his wedding to his fiancee, Rosemary, whom she also loved and cared for.
Tragically, in the terrible events at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi on September 21, Mbugua and Rosemary, along with scores of other innocents, were murdered by the evil terrorists who struck without mercy. Catherine's world won't ever be the same again.
The goals and methods of the terrorists are well enough known and we don't want to deal with them or their motives right now, when we wish to mourn with our friends and for their losses.
We are fully aware of the very limited power of our words and deeds, but we nonetheless wish to dedicate them fully to Catherine, her family, and dozens of others, to us nameless, victims of this barbaric act.
Catherine is a great and close friend to many of us in the diplomatic community in Dublin, and her fate (as well as the fate of her allies in grief) touches us immensely.
Catherine Muigai Mwangi is a true example of a diplomat of the highest calibre. In Dublin, she was extremely popular with the Irish people she met and among her fellow ambassadors from every continent. Her ability to integrate with her host society along with her ability to forge friendships with people from all walks of life is an example and an inspiration to all of us. Her most outstanding quality is the care and compassion she shows for many things, above all her concern to combat all forms of bias and unfairness.
She is an extraordinary representative of all of us ambassadors and of our profession of diplomacy. Catherine's courtesy, professionalism, and outstanding talents mark her as that rare being – a diplomat to her fingertips; she combines these gifts with a manner that is frank, unaffected and sincere.
Catherine has always believed in a better future for her country, Kenya, for the continent of Africa and, indeed, for the whole world. She believes that through a genuine dialogue, through openness and a profound attempt to understand the other, lies the possibility of making our world less dangerous, less violent, more friendly and more peaceful.
She has always been the best representative for all of us sharing the diplomatic profession despite the fact that she, as she loves to stress, hasn't hailed from the diplomatic "breed".
We, Catherine's friends and diplomats in Dublin, are afraid that the hopes of our dearest colleague may be severely shattered in the wake of the terrorist attack. It is difficult to provide any sufficient comfort regardless how much we crave to do it. The only thing we may do is just to try to be in our profession as determined as Catherine has been in her efforts to demonstrate that this world (despite its dangerousness) deserves to be liked and lived for. We are very sad but we won't give up.
Boaz Modai is the Israeli ambassador in Ireland and Tomas Kafka is the ambassador of the Czech Republic in Ireland