Blaming the Environment: Ethnic Violence and the Political Economy of Displacement in Kenya
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Within the context of historical and political economy, this paper examines the link between environmental stress and the contemporary problems of ethnic violence and forced migrations, specifically internal displacement in Kenya. It examines the various theoretical links to political and ethnic persecution which cause displacement and environmental stress. Examining the historical antecedents of the phenomenon of displacement in Kenya, the paper argues that environmental stress per se cannot generate violence and displacement. Instead, over the years natural catastrophes and environmental degradation have created fertile grounds to justify violence. Internal displacement is essentially a creation of war, persecution, violence and human rights violations. The paper concludes that the healing process, beyond violence and displacement, must incorporate both the human made causes of displacement and environmental problems.