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Posts tagged "somalia"

Somali pirate stories were seemingly all the rage 3 - 4 years ago, in what I thought would likely be the beginning of a deluge of pirate movies, all fashioned after the piracy stories the media fell in love with, but failed to properly vet.

Of the many films that were announced, the highest profile of the bunch to finally become a reality is Columbia Pictures’ Paul Greengrass-directed adaptation of the story of Richard Phillips - the captain of one of the ships captured by Somalis (the Maersk Alabama), later rescued by the U.S. Navy, with Tom Hanks starring.

Titled Captain Phillips, the film opens wide this weekend. I haven’t seen it yet, but I will. Not only am I a fan of the starring actor and the film’s director, I’m also obviously very curious to see how this particular film handles the “Somali Piracy Issue.”

Not that I’m expecting anything groundbreaking in terms of depictions, but from the handful of reactions I’ve read/heard from those who’ve seen it, Greengrass does attempt to make actor Barkhad Abdi’s Somali pirate leader (Abduwali Abdukhad Muse, who’s currently serving 30 years in an Indiana prison), 3-dimensional and complex. But it’s still ultimately the title character’s story, as played by Tom Hanks. And as I noted in a previous post, it would be great, for once, to have a story like this, of this caliber, be told strictly from Muse’s POV, giving the audience a well-rounded picture of his universe, his journey, his background, his family, etc, and what led him to become the man he is in the film.

Meet Ahmed Kismayo, a Somali bodybuilder. His story portraits the challenges of a muslim bodybuilder during Ramadan, the month of fasting. Determined to keep up with his workout routine, Ahmed has resolved to work out in the middle of the night when he can eat to keep his energy up.

Ahmed was born in Somalia and grew up in Kenya, now he resides in Burlington, Vermont where he is aspiring to compete on the national level as a bodybuilder which will make him, according to Ahmed, the first Somali to compete in this discipline on national level in America.

submitted by http://dushime.tumblr.com/

Iman in Michael Jackson’s iconic ‘Remember the Time' music video.

Can you actually handle it though?

(via shontay91-deactivated20140311)


Giving Succor to Rape Victims in Mogadishu

Fartuun Adan is a Somalian human rights activist who followed the stirring of her heart and is working tirelessly to give succor to women who have been raped and abused.

Leaving her 3 children in Canada she went back to Mogadishu to help the women in need. Women and children are usually the most affected during war times and Fartuun’s cause was to help these women. A champion for human rights she started “Sister Somalia” with Lisa Shannon, founder of “Run for Congo”. Sister Somalia is Somalia’s first rape crisis centre.

They started [the initiative] with developing a hotline [that then became dangerous to use because of the hostility and violence the women were facing.] At the centre, women and children receive a holistic treatment [including] drugs to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, medical attention, [and] emotional support.

In last week’s Inside Africa on CNN, Fartuun talks about the work she’s doing with the women. She talked about the work her husband did before he passed away; a project called “Pick Up the Pen and not The Gun”.

[Fartuun’s efforts are nothing short of] inspiring and [her story] is one that makes you think – “It is time to get up and DO something”

source: ballanaija.com | watch the inspiring video of Somalian Activist Fartuun Adan on CNN’s Inside Africa here


Last Person To Get Smallpox Dedicated His Life To Ending Polio

So far, the human race has eliminated just one disease in history: smallpox. But it’s on the cusp of adding a second virus — polio — to that list.

One special man in Somalia was at the battlefront of both eradication efforts. He died unexpectedly last week at age 59 of a sudden illness.

Ali Maow Maalin was the last member of the general public to catch smallpox — worldwide. And he spent the past decade working to end polio in Somalia.

World health leaders called Maalin “an inspiration.” Even in the weeks before his death, he was leading anti-polio campaigns in some of the most unstable parts of Somalia.

Maalin’s fight against polio began in 1977. Jimmy Carter had just been elected U.S. president. Apple Computer had just incorporated in California. And the world was on the verge of wiping out smallpox. Decades of vaccination efforts had pushed the virus into one last corner of the world: Somalia.

Maalin, then a hospital cook near Mogadishu, caught smallpox while driving an infected family to a clinic. He was careful not to spread the disease to anyone. And about three years later, Somalia — and the world — were declared free of smallpox.

Continue reading.

Photo courtesy of the World Health Organization.

(via npr)

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has told Malta to pay thousands of euros in compensation to two African migrants whose rights were violated.

A Somali woman who had a miscarriage during her detention in 2011 is to receive 30,000 euros (£26,000; $40,000), plus 3,000 euros in costs.

A man alleged to be from Sierra Leone is to receive 27,000 euros in total.

The court said the woman’s prison conditions were “degrading”. Malta is a target for boatloads of migrants.

Earlier this month Malta cancelled flights it had booked to return migrants to Libya, after an emergency intervention by the ECHR.

The court in Strasbourg issued rulings on Tuesday concerning Aslya Aden Ahmed, a Somali national, and Ibrahim Suso Musa, allegedly from Sierra Leone.

In Ms Ahmed’s case, it is the first time the court has ruled against Malta for violation of Article Three of the European Convention on Human Rights - prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment - concerning migrant detention conditions.

The judges criticised conditions at Lyster Barracks - the holding centre - where migrants were exposed to cold, a lack of female staff, lack of access to open air, denial of exercise for long periods and poor food.


‘A Night of Fairytales’: An Audience With Diriye Osman

Diriye Osman is a Somali-born, British short story writer whose debut collection of stories ‘Fairytales For Lost Children’ has already garnered praise from the iconic musician, Meshell Ndegeocello, feminist graphic novel genius, Alison Bechdel, African literary lion, Nuruddin Farah, and editor extraordinaire, Ellah Allfrey, who noted in The Telegraph that ‘My excitement over Osman and his writing comes, in part, out of delight at the impossibility of categorisation’.

In an intimate evening of storytelling, Osman will be performing dramatic snippets from ‘Fairytales For Lost Children’ interspersed with anecdotes in his infectious, trademark style. This event is brought to you by the groundbreaking LitCrawl series, which took root in San Francisco, and is now rocking it London-stylee!

WHAT: A Night of Fairytales: An Audience With Diriye Osman.

WHERE: Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H.

WHEN: Saturday 7th September 2013. 6 – 6pm.


The things that you hide are the things that define you.
Nuruddin Farah, Somali writer and Neustadt International Prize for Literature winner.

Happy Independence Day Somalia!

On July 1st, 1960, the British and Italian parts of Somalia become independent and merged to form the United Republic of Somalia with Aden Abdullah Osman Daar elected as president.

The Horn of Africa has been home to Somalis, who make up around 85% of Somalia’s population, for centuries. For many years, Mogadishu stood as the pre-eminent city in the بلاد البربر, Bilad-al-Barbar (“Land of the Berbers”), which was the medieval Arabic term for the Horn of Africa. During the age of the Ajuuraans, the sultanates and republics of Merca, Mogadishu, Barawa, Hobyo and their respective ports flourished and had a lucrative foreign commerce with ships sailing to and coming from Arabia, India, Venetia, Persia, Egypt, Portugal and as far away as China. Vasco da Gama, who passed by Mogadishu in the 15th century, noted that it was a large city with houses of four or five storeys high and big palaces in its centre and many mosques with cylindrical minarets.

From the 7th to the 10th century, Arab and Persian trading posts were established along the coast of present-day Somalia. Nomadic tribes occupied the interior, occasionally pushing into Ethiopian territory. In the 16th century, Turkish rule extended to the northern coast, and the sultans of Zanzibar gained control in the south.

After British occupation of Aden in 1839, the Somali coast became its source of food. The French established a coal-mining station in 1862 at the site of Djibouti, and the Italians planted a settlement in Eritrea. Egypt, which for a time claimed Turkish rights in the area, was succeeded by Britain. By 1920, a British and an Italian protectorate occupied what is now Somalia. The British ruled the entire area after 1941, with Italy returning in 1950 to serve as United Nations trustee for its former territory.

By 1960, Britain and Italy granted independence to their respective sectors, enabling the two to join as the Republic of Somalia on July 1, 1960. Somalia broke diplomatic relations with Britain in 1963 when the British granted the Somali-populated Northern Frontier District of Kenya to the Republic of Kenya.

On Oct. 15, 1969, President Abdi Rashid Ali Shermarke was assassinated and the army seized power. Maj. Gen. Mohamed Siad Barre, as president of a renamed Somali Democratic Republic, leaned heavily toward the USSR. In 1977, Somalia openly backed rebels in the easternmost area of Ethiopia, the Ogaden Desert, which had been seized by Ethiopia at the turn of the century. Somalia acknowledged defeat in an eight-month war against the Ethiopians that year, having lost much of its 32,000-man army and most of its tanks and planes. President Siad Barre fled the country in late Jan. 1991. His departure left Somalia in the hands of a number of clan-based guerrilla groups, none of which trusted each other.

(sources 1; 2)

One man is presenting a different view of Somalia, through Instagram.

Abdi Latif Dahir (@abdi_latif), a journalist based in Mogadishu, has spent the last year snapping pictures, more frequently on his iPhone than his professional camera.

His striking images provide alternative visual narratives of a country which has undergone twenty years of civil conflict.

(via AJE)

Members of the Somali community in South Africa have marched to parliament in Cape Town to protest against recent attacks on foreigners.

Three Somalis have been killed this month and the Somali government has requested the South African authorities to do more to protect their nationals.

About 200 people took part in the protest, holding a banner reading: “Everyone is a foreigner somewhere.”

Correspondents say xenophobic attacks have increased recently.

Some of the protesters accused the authorities of not doing enough to prevent attack on foreigners, especially Somalis, or prosecute those responsible.

Two Somali brothers were allegedly hacked to death with an axe in the northern Limpopo province on Thursday night.

Last week, Abdi Nasr Mahmoud was stoned to death in Port Elizabeth.

Mohamed Aden Osman told the BBC that criminals saw Somalis as “soft targets”.

According to the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria, South Africans are becoming “increasingly desensitised” to attacks on foreigners, The Sowetan newspaper reports.

The BBC’s Mohammed Allie in Cape Town says the violence is linked to the massive unemployment among young South Africans.

In the past two decades, many thousands of Somalis have fled conflict at home and moved to South Africa, where many have opened small shops and kiosks in townships.

DYNAMIC AFRICANS: Discover Somalia bloggers collective

Birthed out of the frustration of the mostly negative and one-dimensional depictions of their country, and armed with the ‘responsibility of building a better Somalia’, the curators behind the blog Discover Somalia make use of imagery and other sourced information in an attempt to “change the negative perceptions and stereotypes of Somalia”, and create a platform that showcases the diversity of life in Somalia.
In about five sentences or less, can you tell us a little bit about who the people behind the ‘Discover Somalia’ initiative are?
Discover Somalia was created by a group made of Somali diaspora, mostly college students in United Sates and the United Kingdom who are very much up to date on current affairs in Somalia and/or are involved with Somalia in their respective studies. After seeing how Somalia is portrayed in the mainstream media, we wanted to take ownership.
We ourselves relevant as free Somalis at this historic moment in our country wanted to help define and shape the country we want. We never got to experience how a stable Somalia looks like, but we want to take responsibility of building a better Somalia that can live up to the promise of all its peoples.
What are the main objectives of your blog? What led or inspired you to create it?
Discover Somalia is an online photography blog that attempts to change the negative perceptions and stereotypes of Somalia. Somalia is not a place of war and famine and destruction and all these horrible things, we so often hear in the mainstream media, but it’s a place where normal people do normal things all the time, just like we do. 
We wanted to start a project that could be more all-encompassing, we wanted a collection of images that showcases Somalia’s progress and normalcy. We have many present and future objectives, but for now we want display  images progress and history of Somalia, so that people understand that there is to Somalia . 

In visiting Discover Somalia, what would you most like people to gain from your blog?

For decades, mainstream and Somali media,  have and continue to documented a seemingly endless cycle of wars and famine in Somalia, exposing otherwise ignored tragedies to the global audience. But too often the subjects of these images seem to be reduced to symbols, and viewers do not encounter them as fully rounded human beings. And we rarely see photos of the Somalia’s  progress or the cultural heritage and history of Somalia. A complicated country is often reduced to caricature. So when people come to our blog we want them to instantly see a different Somalia that they don’t witness else where.

Photography seems to play a huge role in your blog’s aesthetic, do you plan on including other forms of artistic/media narratives?

Everyone sees things differently. Put 100 photographers in a room and you’ll get 100 different photos. The way you see the world is unique, and photography lets you share that perspective with othersWe saw too many people focusing on images of the deadly  explosions in Mogadishu, while turning  a blind eye to the entrepreneurs, footballers, beach goers and the reconstruction of Mogadishu. 

We believe that even though Somalia is busily rising out of the ashes, to the majority of the world; it will remain for a long while, the land of starving children, AK47 wielding rebels and greedy big-stomach-small-brain politicians. It takes a long time to change a bad image… but we can do it, one photograph at a time. 

Lastly, why the title ‘Discover Somalia’?

We had many names in mind for our blog, but at the end we decided with “Discover Somalia”, because we wanted people to discover the other side of Somalia through photography ,showing Somalia’s progress and the resilient of it’s people.

Visit the blog at Discover Somalia.

Somalia’s president says he “wants answers” from South Africa after the brutal murder of a Somali man in Port Elizabeth, Al Jazeera has learned.

The Somali man, 25-year-old Abdi Nasir Mahmoud Good, was stoned to death on May 30 by a mob. The violence was captured on a mobile phone and shared on the internet.

Sheik Mohammed, Somalia’s president, called on his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma to “act immediately” to arrest those responsible.

Kamal Gutale, chief of staff in the Somali presidency, told Al Jazeera on Monday: “The president has asked Mr Zuma and his foreign minister to look into the matter and investigate the brutal killing and violence.”

The murder is the latest in a number of attacks on Somali immigrants in South Africa. Police are investigating the death but no one has been arrested.

Graphic footage

The Somali presidency said the issue was raised on the sidelines of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Tokyo on Sunday, after the Somali community was hit by a series of attacks in South Africa over the last week.

The graphic footage shows the bare-chested Good lying in the middle of a street while a mob pelts him with rocks and boulders as pedestrians and vehicles pass by.

Local media said Good was attacked while trying to protect his shop from looters. He was also stabbed in the violence.

The Somali community in South Africa, which numbers a few hundred thousand, reacted with outrage.

The Somali Association of South Africa (SASA) told Al Jazeera that at least five other Somalis have been injured and about 40 shops have been looted in the four provinces across the country.

Government inaction

"At the time, President Zuma was not aware of the incident and expressed surprise," Gutale said.

The South African president promised to look into the matter, he said.

But SASA said that the South African government has repeatedly failed to act on this and previous attacks on foreigners.

"This is not the first time; this is happening over and over again. The South African government is not taking action, the community is angry and every time this happens, nothing is ever done," said SASA spokesman Ismaeel Abdi Adan.

The South African presidency was unavailable to comment.

The African Centre for Migration and Society at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, said in a report released in 2012 that Somali-run businesses suffered disproportionately from crime, including attacks by competing South African traders.

*The South African government has said that previous violence against foreigners was a result of criminality and not xenophobia.

In 2008, more than 50 foreign African nationals were killed in a spate of violence against foreign nationals across the country.

*Xenophobia is not the root cause for these criminal acts? Is that what the South African government is saying? Because I’m pretty sure the experiences of various non-South African African nationals living in South Africa, exposed to attitudes that are clearly xenophobic in nature, would counteract that statement. Unless I am misunderstanding the bolded statement, I don’t see this continued violence as simply an act of unlawful outbursts.

These heinous and disgustingly violent xenophobic attacks continue to happen and sometimes, one feels as though both the local media and the South African public have become somewhat blase about these incidents as they happen with very little expressed outrage from South Africans, at least in my experience. No substantial and progressive dialogue is initiated by the media about the roots, history and current factors that continue to fuel xenophobia in the country, that would both address these attitudes head-on and ensure that a critical consciousness about xenophobia is maintained in the psyche of the public. 

The fact that African nationals who come from countries outside of South Africa are still viewed in a manner that brings about such acts is a very serious matter that needs to be addressed with depth and caution, something the government does a very good job of not doing. Xenophobia also needs to be combated  with the help of African leaders and their ambassadors/embassies based in South Africa who should both warn and provide assistance for their citizens emigrating to and currently living in South Africa who may be the victims of xenophobia but do not feel safe reporting these issues to local authorities.

Somaliland waits for worldwide recognition

Somaliland sits on the Gulf of Aden and is officially regarded as an autonomous region of Somalia. The two were, however, separate until 1960. During the civil war in the 1980s, 40,000 people from Somaliland were killed, and nearly half a million fled.

The region then declared independence in 1991. Since then, it has held four peaceful elections. 

Ahmed Mahamoud Silany, the president, told Al Jazeera that Somaliland would like to retain its independence, despite Somalia’s calls to be united with region.

"I think I have been very clear too, that we are going to retain our independence," he said.

"We would like to remain friends with Somalia, we would like to cooperate with them.

"But as far as our independence is concerned. It is not I who has decided, it’s not my government who has decided.

"It the people of Somaliland, and the history of Somaliland, which has decided that Somaliland is going to be, and has always been a different country."

(read more)


Islamic Daggers

  • Dated: 19th Century
  • Place of Origin: Ethiopia or Somalia
  • Measurements: Longest dagger: 18.5in (470mm). Shortest dagger: 12.75in (325mm)

Group of daggers originating from the Horn of Africa, most likely Ethiopia or Somalia. Circa 19th Century, they have obvious Arab and Islamic influence. The hilts are made up of ivory, bone, and horn (some translucent) segments, with some small breakages to the extended pommels. All daggers have copper scabbards and steel blades, some with light chiselled designs, in good condition.

Source: © Copyright 2013 Akaal Arms

Is Islamic the right term to use here? Can someone shed light on that? Just want to be sure.