The International Committee of the Red Cross has repeatedly betrayed the trust conferred on it by the local population and, in the recent weeks, falsely accused the Mujahideen (Shabaab fighters) of hindering food distribution.A statement from al-Shabaab • Discussing its decision to bar the Red Cross from the parts of Somalia it controls. That’s right: al-Shabaab is blocking humanitarian aid from being distributed over accusations by the Red Cross that they’re already blocking humanitarian aid from getting distributed. You can’t make this stuff up.
Jessica Buchanan was rescued and she is on her way home. As commander-in-chief, I could not be prouder of the troops who carried out this mission.President Barack Obama • Making a pre-dawn statement on the rescue of American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Hagen Thisted, two aid workers captured in Somalia back in October. The rescue was carried out by SEAL Team 6, the same group that killed Osama bin Laden eight months ago, so you know they’re good. All nine of their captors, rumored to be pirates holding the humanitarian workers for ransom, were killed in the rescue effort. Thisted and Buchanan were safe, however. Speaking about the rescue effort on the Today Show this morning, Vice President Joe Biden put it like this: “We wanted to act, and we did.” Well-put. source (via • follow)
Just as London started to resemble a war zone, I will be heading to another; Somalia. On Wednesday I will be flying for the East African nation’s capital Mogadishu, to take part in the relief efforts as part of a convoy being sent by the NGO I work for. Mind you I haven’t set a foot back since my family and I left in 1994 in its early stages of chaos. I was only 5 years old.
I dread to see what I will find there on my return, 17 long years later. If the pictures coming out of our screens are anything to go by, it is far worse than my memory permits. It is with this journey, a personal and a professional journey, that my blogging on newsflick will come to a pause (possibly for 10days).
I wish I could write more about this trip but my arms are still soar from all the vaccinations I took today. If and when I manage to get some internet access I will be back on here, so hang tight and stay loyal.
Bye for now - Sayid Ali
Newsflick is one of our favorite Tumblrs, and we hope that his trip to Somalia offers both perspective and something that we can all learn from upon his return. Good luck to you, Sayid.
» Will this be enough to help? Joe Biden’s wife recently visited Somalia to highlight how bad things are. In case you don’t know, here are some numbers: Aid is only reaching 20% of the people who need it, more than 12 million people need aid in the Horn of Africa, and over 640,000 children are acutely malnourished. Let’s just hope that this aid can actually reach those who need it.
We have abandoned Mogadishu but we remain in other towns. We aren’t leaving you. We have changed our tactics. Every one of you will feel the change in every corner and every street in Mogadishu. We will defend you and continue the fighting.Al-Shabab spokesperson Ali Mohamoud Rage • Regarding the al-Qaeda group’s decision to leave Mogadishu, the capitol of Somalia, a country that has been struggling with a major humanitarian crisis of late. Is it a tactical change, as the spokesperson suggests, or a real corner turned? Somalia’s president, Sheikh Shairf Sheikh Ahmed, seems to suggest the latter. “It is time to harvest the fruits of peace,” he said. “I call on the Somali people to help and to support their soldiers and point out any Shabab member hiding in homes.” source (via • follow)
» And it’s getting worse: Famine is a pervasive and devastating problem, and it’s presently burgeoning in Somalia, as well as Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, North and South Sudan, and Djibouti, to varying extents. The situation in Somalia is rapidly worsening, to boot — the U.N. believes that should food shortages continue unchecked for another one or two months, it will spread from its current concentration (mostly in Southern Somalia) and grip the entire country. The U.N. highlighting this reflects that urgency, as they’d like to see some international mobilization to ease this humanitarian crisis. Whether that happens remains unknown; it’s clear the U.N. feels the response has been far too anemic at this point.