Thursday, July 21, 2011

Somalia: famine, war, pirates

This is Somalia. It is in the horn of Africa (East Africa). Thought a mini- history lesson might be in order since the country is back on the radar. According to the UN, 3.7 million Somalis are now in crises and fleeing the country in search of food and water.

In 1991 opposing clans overthrew President Barre. The country has not had a central government since then (only a transitional government). It is considered a humanitarian disaster due to clan violence, rule of law absence and frequent stretches of drought and famine.

International media is obsessed with Somali pirates. They're not a myth but they're not wearing eye- patches yelling aaargh either. There is still debate on whether there is a direct link between poverty and piracy. There is no debate in my head that with a functional central government, economic growth and social development, piracy would cease to be popular. The pirates hi- jack ships, take crews hostage and demand ransom money. With every hi-jacking, the pirates are getting craftier and more sophisticated- for this reason, I also have an arb fascination with them.

 I keep torturing myself with images of malnourished children and helpless parents. It's easy to conclude that God forgot about Somalia a long time ago. To make donations and keep up to date with progress made in the region visit the World Food Programme website.

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