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G8 summit diary: Wednesday 06 July

Kenyan journalist John Kamau is in Scotland for the G8 summit and is writing about his experiences for the BBC News website. In Kenya he works as a senior reporter on the Sunday Standard newspaper.

STILL IN EDINBURGH, 1330BST, WEDNESDAY 06 JULY 2005

Now I have got my press pass I really wanted to make it to the Gleneagles compound today. But the roadblocks this morning on the main highway curtailed my efforts and I will make another attempt this afternoon. I haven't come this far to be put off now!

G8 protests
The protests reminded me of home...
Riots don't really scare me as I have covered countless such happenings in my career in Nairobi.

And I had been warned that I could be a target of the anarchists or the British National Party, perhaps because of my skin colour, but I don't feel like a target! I've been made very welcome here. I am still clamouring to get close to the action and get this story out.

Actually, sitting and watching the police battle protestors (and they seemed pretty lenient compared to those policing Kenyan protests) it felt a little like being back home once again...

Perhaps there was even a tinge of nostalgia for the Kenyan protests for a new constitution last year. Despite the riots and stand-offs, as it was a moment of significant change.

When I finally get to Gleneagles it will be a great moment to meet some of my Northern colleagues on the same level, and share the same media centre.

What will also be interesting is to see just how many Southern journalists have been accredited to cover this crucial summit on Africa and climate change.

A time has come when Africans should prove that they are real humans who deserve equal treatment by assertively demanding their rights.
J. Mumbi Mugambi, Mankato, USA

I have a feeling that we African journalists may be few here in Scotland, which, if so, is a real shame. But I am just lucky to be one of the happy few - who will report for Africa itself if its journalists are not here?

I have been checking various African newspaper web pages in Africa and they have a heavy reliance on western press agencies - Reuters, AP, and AFP - for the coverage of G8.

It is a sad state of affairs that we cannot find concrete analysis from African media on what is happening here simply because it seems few efforts were made to invite them.

But all in all, it has been a good outing for me. This morning I went back to Princes Street which was the scene of chaos for two days and wanted to sample the normalcy there. The beggar guitarist was back at his corner and I parted with 50p, joking with him that I was trying to "Make Poverty History".

If we make it this afternoon to the Gleneagles Hotel I will have this opportunity to sample "some of Scotland's finest produce" as it says on my invitation card. They have even mentioned Scottish whisky - which is, of course, quite well-known back home.

Roadblocks on the way to the summit
One thing I have come to admire about Scotland is the patriotism of the people. We stumbled on a karaoke bar the other day where the drinkers explained to me that the rousing song they were faithfully singing was "Flower of Scotland". I wish I could have sung a Mau Mau freedom song.

There are things I want to see in Gleneagles: the many media studios, the lavishness of the G8 and how they cage themselves from the outside world of protestors.

Meanwhile, I am off to try again to get past the police - and congratulations to London for 2012 - I look forward to reporting track-side on the string of Kenyan medals!

And finally where can I eat real food in Scotland?

Previous diary entries:


John Kamau attended the G8 summit in Edinburgh with assistance from the Panos institute, a non-profit media organisation that works with journalists in the developing world.



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