Don't share gory images of the Garissa University attack in Kenya. Share this.

While you were looking forward to the Easter break on Thursday morning, 21-year-old Garissa University College student Elizabeth Namarome Musinai was living out her final hours.

As Islamic gunmen from the al-Shabab militant group stormed her secular university at dawn, targeting Christian students, Elizabeth was forced by the terrorists to call her family.

“There are gunshots everywhere,” she said.”Tell Mum to pray for me — I don’t know if I will survive.”

Elizabeth was one of 148 people who lost their lives in the attack on Thursday.

The gunmen demanded the Kenyan President order the removal of his military forces from Somalia– and when that demand couldn’t be assured within minutes, they made a brutal last announcement to Elizabeth’s mother, Rose Nafula, over her little girl’s phone.

“They said because you have failed to call in two minutes, listen how we are killing your daughter,” Ms Nafula told local media.

They ordered the terrified young woman to pray in readiness for her shooting — and then, Ms Nafula heard three gunshots down the phone line.

The second-year linguistic students was just one of 148 students killed by militants in the massacre that day.

Related content: 147 people are dead after gunmen stormed a Kenyan university.

At least 79 more were injured in the devastating attack, while four gunmen were also killed, the LA Times reports.

Garissa University massacre Kenya
147 people were originally believed to have lost their lives in the attack. The official figure was later updated to 148. (Photo: Getty Images)

It’s a devastating story — but it’s likely that you don’t know many of the details, because these senseless deaths received nowhere near the level of reporting as the fatal Charlie Hedbo attack in France in January; there was no Je Suis Charlie social media campaign, no immediate meeting of world leaders, no celebrity endorsements of campaigns to assist the survivors.


Related content: Explain to me: the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ campaign.

Even the country’s own authorities’ responses to the attack were lethargic: Kenya’s special police unit only arrived 11 hours after the massacre began, the LA Times reports, and there were only two police officers on the premises at the time Islamic militants began their rampage —  despite reports that a university attack was likely.

Garissa University massacre Kenya
Garissa Getty A Kenya Defence forces soldier walks past the front entrance of Moi University Garissa on April 3, 2015. (Photo: CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

In a desperate attempt  to shock the international community into action, a few well-intentioned people began sharing ghoulish images of the attacks on social media in the days following the attack.

“The whole world stood up for #CharlieHebdo and … for #Germanwings. #AfricanLivesMatter too,” one Twitter user posted alongside a graphic images of lecture chairs upturned over young, bloodied bodies.

“148 students massacred in Kenya. Where’s the outrage from world leaders?,” wrote another, alongside an aerial shot of dozens of corpses piled in a university courtyard.

Despite the noble sentiment, it was a troubling tactic: As a number of Kenyans were quick to point out, the dissemination of shockingly graphic photos risked disrespecting the dead, and retraumatising survivors and the victims’ grieving families.


Many of those photos today appear, thankfully, to have been removed by Facebook.

Fortunately, family and friends of the victims on Sunday began to name the students who lost their lives using the Twitter hashtag #147NotJustaAnumber — allowing the online community to honour the lost students in a more respectful way.

The hashtag has been used to share photos of youthful, beaming faces in happier days. It has been used to tell of each victims’ dreams, personalities, and loved ones as the details become available.

The hashtag — and the related hashtags #AfricanLivesMatter and #TheyHaveNames –tell the story, for example, of 22-year-old Gideon Kirui, whose entire family saved up for him to continue his education.

It spreads the news that Beatrice Njeri Thinwa, 20, was a fan of Kenny Rogers and had aspired to become a phD candidate.

It makes it known that IT student Laban Kumba bravely fought with the terrorists before they took his life.

It gives us cause to remember that beautiful Janet Akinyi texted her boyfriend prior to her murder, to say she would always love him.

This week, with the unthinkably horrifying events of Thursday still so fresh, it’s hard to know how to best honour the victims.

But let’s agree on this: Now is a time to respect the dead and their grieving families by sharing messages of unity without spreading al-Shabaab’s message of hate and fear.

So next time you see a gory photo of the Garissa University College massacre on your news feed?

Don’t pass that image on. Instead, help to humanise the victims by sharing their name and story; donate to an organisation that assists victims of trauma; or take a quiet moment to pay your silent respects for the young people who lost their lives.

Because they had names, and their lives mattered.

Here’s a list of 126 of the victims who have been identified so far. Some victims remain unaccounted for.

Abdulrazak Mohammed
Abel Mukhwana
Agnetta Chite
Alex Omorwa Mogaka
Alice Mbete Mulu
Angela ‘Ka/Jojo’ Kimata Githakwa
Aquilla Mulei
Ayub Njau Kimotho
Beatrice Njeri Thinwa
Bernard Kipkemboi Tonui
Branton Wakhungu
Cyrus Sila Mutuku
Dadley Mose
Dan Mwiti
Dianah Musabi
Doreen ‘Special Rose’ Gakii
Ebby Omari
Edward Wafula (Missing)
Elider Obiero
Eliud Wafula
Elizabeth Kerubo Nyangarora
Elizabeth Nafula
Elizabeth Namarome Musinai
Eric Ondari Nyabuto
Erick Gwaro Kombo (Still considered missing)
Faith Kendi
Faith Kinyala
Gideon Bryson Mwakuleghwa
Gideon Kirui (Classified Missing)
Isaac Pop Bushen (Isaac Kosgey)
Ivy Betty Wanjiku
Ivy Kihia
Jacinta Njeri
James Ochode
Jane Akinyi
Jane Nyambura
Jeff Macharia
Job Njue
John Mwangi Maina
Josephine Nyaboke
Josephine Onyancha
Joy Chepkorir
Judith Jepkemboi
Ken Glenson Echessa
Laban Kumba Daniel
Leah N Wafula
Macline Ubue
Mark Dennis Mutuma
Mary Muchiri Shee
Mildred Yondo Wakholi
Monica Ngwasi Mutinda (Still classified missing)
Newton Karani
Obadiah Okiring Okodoi (Missing)
Oliver Maina
Peter Magio Mulindiro
Peter Masinde Nyangure
Peter Odhiambo
Peter Yule
Priscilla Kathure Akwalu
Richard Bor ( classified missing)
Risper Maggie Mutindi Kasyoka
Romana Chelagat Sambu
Ruth Esiromo Nakhanu
Samuel Mwangi Maingi
Selpher Solo Wanda
Solomon Oludo
Susan Anyango Othwilla
Susan Onyinkwa Kwamboka
Tobias *
Tonie Wangu
Tracy Angela
Veronica Syokau
Virginia Simiyu
Yvonne Makori
Jessica Cherono
Mlindiro Peter Magio
Prisca Auma Wayodi
Dorcas Kasugina Julius
Alex Mueri Muchiro
Kevin Ouma Odongo
Samuel Mutiso Musau
Fransciscah Ndungwa Joseph
Duncan Mwitu Baini
Gideon Kipkurui
Faith Kendi Gituma
Marion Musenya
Stephen Mutua
Onyinkwa Susan Kwamboka Emily
Emily Namaemba
Miriam Hawa
Everlyne Lodengo
Caroline Njoki
Purity Kawira Kaunyangi
Caroline Mukami Ndumia
Syrus Sila Mutuko
Lucy Nyambura
Victor Mbogo
Jackson Kipketer
Joyce Wakiuru Waweru
Annetter Miller
Duncan Mwendwa Kalekye
Joash Obare Mosiria
Beth Njambi Gakenya
Aggrey Momanyi
Faith Chepchirchir
Ann Ongwae
Caroline Koech
Harriet Andole
Bilha Njeri Gitau
Philemon Thakaramoi Madaa
Philomena Kasyoka Munyoki
Catherine Mbithe Mutuku
Amos Wanyonyi Mwangangi
Emma Mutahi
Mumo Kilonzo
Dennis Ouma Onyango
Kennedy Ouma Echesa

Some more tweets from the #147NotJustaNumber hashtag:

Have you been following the #147NotJustaNumber social media campaign?