Somalians Proudly Holding their Flag(:

Thursday, April 14, 2011


   Hey everyone, my name is Paola Cruz and I have to admit that when I first chose Somalia for my project I had never heard of it before, and probably neither have you. And guess what?? That's the main problem. Very few people know about this struggling country in Africa and those who know about it, ignore there problems completely. Now that I have come to know better this country I am truly glad I chose it. In the few weeks that I have researched about Somalia, this country has really grown on me and I have come to really care about what they are going through. It has opened my eyes, opened my world, has made me think very differently, and most importantly has made me appreciate more the things I have.
          It is really sad to see this people just like you and me living in such inhumane, unsanitary, and poor conditions. NO HUMAN BEING should live this way.Something that really shocked me was that when I googled Somali pictures the results were all deaths, violence, wars, guns, sad faces, and skinny bony bodies. I really couldn't believe what I was seeing. All that came to my mind was: How can they live like this? Can a country really be in such bad conditions? and finally Where are the HAPPY photos? Do they even exist? Somalia is passing through one of the world's worst humanitarian crisis today, and yet very little help is given to them. One of their biggest problems has been their lack of no permanent government for 20 years. This has has made them suffer from not having all the human rights they deserve, they've been treated unfairly, cruelly, and have made their lives a living hell and a daily battle field. Each day Somalia experiences out of control violence and hundreds of deaths, but sadly this has all become natural to them. A normal day in a Somalis life is a constant struggle to survive. While we calmly go to our homes, find food at our tables, and sleep in our beds with air conditioners; Somali people struggle and worry if they can afford bread for their families, if they can find water, if they can find a place to sleep, or even their families are safe. I don't know about you but this has to STOP. People can't live like this. 
      Right now the news and other media communications only show one part of what is happening in Somalia. All they talk about is of how awful,violent, corrupt, and rebellious Somali people are. How Somali pirates are hijacking ships and stealing, how Somalia is always fighting and killing people. All they do is make them seem as the bad guys, but no help is given to them. But the question is, why do Somalis act this way? This question and the answer for it is never mentioned because it would implicate a lot of countries, high social leaders, inequality, and illegal things that would get into trouble many people. The truth of all of this is that Somali people have actually tried to protest peacefully, they have sent complaints to Human Rights, but what has happened? They have ignored them. An example of this was when many years ago private companies started to throw nuclear toxic wastes at Somali shores and nothing was done to stop them. Why? Don't they have the same rights as everyone? Things like this OBLIGATE Somalis to take matters into their own hands and do whatever they can to survive so they started to hijack ships for money. Can you really blame them? They didn't have too many choices and drastic problems call for drastic measures. All they were doing was finding a way to survive. They had also tried to agree with them that if they stopped throwing this toxic wastes they would also stop piracy, but like always they were ignored. Now why are they violent? They have tried to be peaceful but nothing changes. All they want is freedom and equality and all they are doing is fighting for it. It may not be the best way, but they felt they had no other options since their voices weren't heard. They kill and fight defending the only thing they have, their country. They have also lost their trust to other countries since the UN lied to them by saying they would help them when they really went to invade them.
         Somalia can't change without our help, they can't do this alone. They have tried for years to better their conditions without any help but as you can see it hasn't worked. It is not going to be easy, but big things aren't easy. Every helping hand counts and can make a difference.We should start by trying to educate and reason with Somali people to make them vote for the type of government they would like, so they can finally have a stable permanent government. This will facilitate a lot of things for them like getting international protection and aid supplies. We should also try make a foundation for them and publicly speak the REAL TRUTH about them so that people can understand what they are going through. Sp please helpe create awareness because people need to understand they are the real victim's here. Once people know the truth they will start to complain and protest so that they can have the same rights as us. I also think countries that have hurt them the past years and have taken advantage of them should give them a certain amount of many for all the problems they have caused. It would also be very helpful if countries with good economies and stable governments would donate money and food supplies for them, instead of using it for unnecessary things.


Somali people are facing one of the worst Human Rights crisis in the world today. This is mainly due to the fact that Somalia has not had a stable government since 1991, and has been the only country in the world with no central government for 20 years. As I looked through the list of Universal Declaration of Rights I found that Somali  people are being depicted from the rights of articles: 2,3,5,6,7,12,16,18,23,25,26,28 and MANY MORE.   
 What it's Like in Somalia:
People are banned from publicly hearing music and having public gatherings. Preference and discrimination of gender is very common in Somalia. Something that really chocked me was that nine out of ten Somali women are obligated to FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION, young girls are forced into marriage with militiamen, and dress code for women is very strict. If any of Somali women resists or brakes any of this rules they can be killed. Also in Somalia three out of four girls do not have the opportunity to get an education. Since Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world facing an economic crisis, a lot of families don’t have the adequate amount of money to have a stable condition of living. So parents have to choose which of their children should get an education and MOST of the time they choose the boys.
About 12 yrs. old and already in the MILITARY
Somalia has been facing horrible conditions of living since a drought they experienced and have had very little help of food, water, and first aid services from other countries. Malnutrition rates are reportedly rising among children. Humanitarian agencies face huge challenges in efforts to provide assistance to the displaced people and other vulnerable groups living in Somalia, due to serious security concerns. Approximately 43% of the Somali population lives below the extreme poverty line and one in seven Somali children die before the age of five mainly of malnutrition. Also many underage boys are obligated to enter military services because of the extreme necessities for 

Violence in Somalia is sadly out of control and each day is a battle field. Daily people are being executed, innocent people are being beheaded, mutilated, used as human shields for protection, crushed to death in their homes, bombed, raped, slit their throats, assaulted, fled of their property, have suffered unable to reach medical care, and practically killed in all possible ways. A very cruel and common act of violence is when people are stoned to death for unfaithfulness/ having sexual intercourse with a person other than your husband or wife, and for religious beliefs different from Islam. Somalis are in dire need of international protection and should be granted asylum even though they may not meet the criteria for refugee status, and yet they are not given this due to their government. 

People NEED to open their eyes and realize the severity of the problems Somalia is facing still today. We sometimes think we are the ones having it difficult, but we and the whole world forget about places like Somalia. We have to start taking action to help this poor people because they can't do it alone and if we don't help them they'll literally become "EXTINCT" like animals. We can't see this happen and not at least TRY and do something to help them, they are humans just like us trying live a happy life. It is an injustice and horrible thing what they are doing to Somalis and they have rights just like us. I know they may sound like very violent, corrupt, rebellious people, but we need to understand WHY they are this way. Since no one helps them they have taken matters into their own hands and have done every possible thing they can to survive, whether its legal or not. So we really can't judge them for what they are doing when all they want is to survive and just bring food and water to their childrens tables. For them it is like the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


From 1972-75 Somalia suffered from a severe drought called The SAHEL DROUGHT which caused a crisis of widespread starvation. This continued as dry weather brought disaster and swept eastward through the Horn of Africa. This had a horrible impact in the country, causing both the population and the livestock herds to drastically decrease. Crop failures and losses of livestock often occur when seasonal rains fail or when unusually heavy storms cause widespread flooding. Pastoral nomads, suffer alot in droughts in search of water and grazing. During this time, People's emergency food supplies start to diminish rapidly, and hunger and starvation become very common. This famine threatened the lives of hundreds of Somalis who had to leave their home and struggle into other countries like Kenya seeking for relief from starvation.
All of this starts to stabilize again when weather starts to improve and livestock slowly rejuvenates. By the end of 1973, famine had claimed the lives of about 300,000 peasants throughout Africa. Most were women and children, who suffered from dehydration, malnutrition, and diseases such as malaria, and tuberculosis.There were more than 700,000 reported refugees scattered in twenty-six makeshift camps, where the absence of sanitation and inadequate medical assistance were compounding the misery created by the food shortages. During the 1980s, the crisis intensified, as 2.5 million people in the region abandoned their homes and sought asylum in neighboring countries.
For More Info:http://countrystudies.us/ethiopia/46.htm

"Black Hawk Down": Somalia in 1992-93

On December 12, 1992, the U.S. sent 28,000 soldiers into Somalia under the cover of the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM) in what they said was a "humanitarian mission" to bring food to starving people. This invasion came after a several year drought had taken hundreds of lives. What people didn't know was that U.S. troops were not delivering food but instead were starting daily gun battles and bombing attacks in heavily populated neighborhoods. In ten months, more than 10,000 Somalis died as a result of the U.S aggressive actions.
Resistance among Somali women, men and even children to the U.S. troops became widespread. The Somali people have a long and proud history of resistance. They fought for the freedom of their country from Italian, French and British colonialism, and the U.S. wouldn’t be the exception. The human rights organization in Africa stated that troops "have engaged in abuses of human rights, including killing of civilians, physical abuse, theft. Many U.S. soldiers have also displayed unacceptable levels of racism toward Somalis." These abuses included opening fire with machine guns against unarmed protesters, firing missiles into residential areas and murdering civilians without no reason at all, including many youth. Finally on 1995 the U.S leave having failed their mission.For More Info: Black Hawk Down
1996-Warlord Muhammad Aideed dies of his wounds during this attack. 
Raw Video: Dozens Killed in Clashes in Somalia 
Piracy is one of the biggest concerns in Somalia. Somali pirates are recognized for going on little boats, armed with lots of weapons and hijacking and stealing other ships and boats at sea. Although they rob all their money, food, clothing, and pretty much all they can find, they never kill their captives. Before piracy became popular in Somalia, one of the most common jobs was fishing. Since Somalia didn’t have a stable or permanent state of government; some toxic wastes were started to be poured in Somali shores. Somali people tried to peacefully fight for their rights, but nothing was done about it. Since fish were contaminated and poisonous the fishing industry decreased, and deaths and diseases increased. They decided to take matters into their own hands. Somalis didn’t have another choice, but find some sort of way to find food and money to survive so they started PIRACY. At first it was just done for necessities, but then it became popular, common, and people started to get greedy.
During April,2008 EU calls for international efforts to tackle piracy off the Somali coast after a series of hijackings and attacks on vessels. Then on September, Somali pirates hijack a Ukrainian ship carrying 33 tanks, which caused a widespread concern. The US and other countries placed a naval force to patrol Somali waters in an effort to control piracy. It didn’t work too well, and later on November 2009 Somali pirates hijacked a super-tanker carrying oil from Saudi Arabia to the U.S and demanded a 25m dollar ransom for its return. This was one of the largest ships captured by Somalia. By 2011,  Pirate attacks on ships made a worldwide record with 49 to 52 hijacked ships.
For More Info: PIRACY  
K'naan talks about the truth behind Somali Pirates:
Somalia Pirate interview   
Life inside the den of Somali pirates - 16 Jun 09 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Somalia's UNIQUE Way of Life :)

A Nation's CULTURE Lies in the HEARTS & SOULS of its PEOPLE!
Religion is one of the most important things in Somalia and they dedicate their whole life to Allah. Most Somalis are Sunni Muslims, interested in spiritual communication with Allah.  
 Religious Beliefs:
  • Believe in the worshiping of Somali saints and mortal spirits called jinn, which can cause misfortune, illness, and can help humans
  • Believe the poor, weak, or injured have special spiritual powers given by Allah, and so they act kind towards them in hopes that they will not use this power against them. For More Info: SOMALI RELIGION
Rituals and Holy Places:
  Mosques, which is were they pray, are found in ALL Somali cities and towns. Men and women pray and study the Qur'an separately. Somalis are to pray 5 times each day, facing Mecca. They should recite the creed of Islam and give to the poor, if able. They should make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once and should  perform the fast of Ramadan. 
I chose THIS picture of the Qur'an BECAUSE: Although their religion is supposed to be peaceful, Somalia has A LOT of violence and it CONTRADICTS ITSELF!

Death and the Afterlife:

Somalis believe that a tree representing all Muslims grows at the boundary between Earth and Heaven and that each person is represented by a leaf on the tree. It is said that those whose leaves fall off will die within the coming year.
When a Somali dies, feasting and celebration are held. A Somali wife must stay secluded at home for four months and ten days, in respect to her husband’s death.
Somalis hold the Muslim view that EACH person will be JUDGED by ALLAH in the AFTERLIFE.

             In 1969, they finally had a debate over the country's writing system. The Latin alphabet was finally adopted in 1972 and Somali was made the official language of Somalia. .Shire Jama Ahmed  is responsible for the invention of this spelling system, and  was chosen from among eighteen competing orthographies.  Their dialects differ depending on the clan family divisions. The Latin script also was able to replace the use of English and Italian in newspapers and public documents. It is used in all schools. However, Arabic, English, and Italian are all still widely spoken and understood.

For more info: Somali Language 
Somali and music consists of a combination between the tender melodies of the nomads, the explosive hot drumbeats of black Africa and just a little colorful instrumental accompaniment. This music is a very young, happy, festival, and up beat music.

FAMOUS SINGER FROM SOMALIA, K'NAAN:  K'naan became very famous with his song 'Wavin Flag' accompanied by David Bisbal in the World Cup of 2010.

Islamic Holidays: 
Holidays are celebrated with feasting and storytelling, visiting graves, giving to the poor, parades, plays, and ceremonies.
-Ramadan: Is the month of fasting and anyone in good health over the age of 15 is required to fast.Muslims believe that a person who dies while fasting during Ramadan is especially blessed by Allah.  Fasting is obligatory during Ramadan, but it is also practiced among Somalis at any time of the year if they want more spiritual purification. Many Somalis fast for one day or more at least every month.

-They also celebrate Independence Day on 26 June, the Foundation of the Republic on 1 July, and at the beginning of August they hold a New Year celebration called Dab-Shid (Fire-Lighting) when they light a stick and jump over the fire.

Somali Women Generally DON'T Socialize with MEN in Public Places.
Somalis offer a milky tea and burn incense to welcome visitors. Men of the same clan-family then share a long handshake. Women greet one another informally and may hug and kiss one another on the cheek, but can NOT  shake hands with the opposite sex.. Members of unrelated clan-families do not shake hands or exchange intimacies.

Verbal Greetings:
    • "THUMBS UP"considered BAD
     Assalam Alaikum (Peace be upon you)  
  • Subah wanaagsan (Good morning) 
  • Galab wanaagsan (Good afternoon) 
  • Habeeb wanaagsan (Good night)
    Somali use sweeping hand and arm gestures to dramatize speech. Some examples are:
  •  A swift twist of the open hand means "nothing" or "no".
  •  A thumb under the chin indicates "fullness".
  •  It is impolite to point the sole of one's foot or shoe at another person.
  •  It is impolite to use the index finger to call somebody; (gesture used for calling dogs)
HENNA is done on Somali Women for their MARRIAGE.
Headrests are used by men and women while sleeping to preven any attack by snakes or scorpions. They also play an important role on the wedding night, because the groom places the tubash (a sum of money) under the bride's headrest. The morning after the marriage is consummated, the bride uses this money to buy an amber necklace, the symbol of her new status.
Somalis are most famous for being a nation of poets and story telling. Oral poetry is central to Somali life.Probably the best-known Somali poet is spiritual and military leader Muhammad Abdullah HasaƄ, leader of the Muslim Dervishes. 



  • Direh, a long, billowing dress worn over petticoats
  • Coantino, a four-yard cloth tied over shoulder and draped around the waist
  • Toob, commonly worn throughout Africa.
  • Hijab, and head scarfs are very common

In Somalia Culture it is a crime for any Somali woman to come in public without wearing the 'hijab' or the veil. A violation on the part of the women can lead the Somali women to death.
 Women in the Arabic society of Somalia are meant to do nothing but look after the household and the children, very little percent of them are educated.Somali women have begun campaigning for their own rights and have also joined the politics of Somalia. Somali women have not only restricted their campaigns to the level of human rights but have also played considerable role in the peace keeping of the country. They have also lent a helping hand in the nation-building process of Somalia.
Men wear western pants or a flowing plaid ma'awis, western shirts, and shawls. Also on their heads they may wrap a colorful turban or wear a koofiyad (embroidered cap).

Family meal is still the norm in Somalia. Frying is the most common method of cooking, but for nomads and farmers, cooking is usually done over an outdoors fire or in a communal cooking hut, because homes are large enough only for sleeping. 

Somali meals are meat driven, vegetarians are very rare. Lamb or goat meat is considered the best meat to eat. Tea is the most common drink with lots of sugar. Drinking 4-6 cups of sweet tea a day is common. Homemade cakes are often eaten as snacks.
 Other common foods include a type of homemade bread called anjara (it looks like a large, spongy pancake); black tea sweetened with milk and sugar; and sambusas, which are deep-fried triangular-shaped dumplings usually filled with meat or vegetables.
In accordance with the Muslim faith, they do not eat pork or drink alcohol. Milk, tea, coffee, and water are favorite drinks.
At home it is customary for women to serve the men first, and then eat with their children after the men have finished. Rural Somalis eat by scooping food from a bowl with the first three fingers of their right hand or with a spoon (as in many other Muslim and African cultures, the left hand is considered unclean because it is used for washing the body). Aolled banana leaf also may be used for scooping.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Interesting/ Shocking Facts you Didn`t Know about SOMALIA.........

SOMALIA'S REALITY......What you DIDN'T know:

  • Official Name & Capital: Somali Democratic Republic and it's capital Mogadishu. 
  • Location: Located in Africa, Somalia is bounded to the south and east by Kenya, to the west by Ethiopia, Djibouti to the northwest, and to the east the Indian Ocean.
  • Population: of 6,590,32 (1997 estimate), principal cities: Mogadishu,Hargeisa, Kismaayo, and Marka.
  • Current Government: No permanent national government; transitional, parliamentary federal government. 
Girls Make up a THIRD of the students. (they are the minority.
  •  Education & Literacy Rates:Age 15 and over can read and write, Male: 49.7%  and Female:25.8%. There are 1,172 operating SCHOOLS with a total of 285,574 children representing an 19.9% enrollment, placing  Somalia among the lowest enrollment rates in the world
  • Languages: Somali(official language), English, Arabic, Italian, and Swahili which is spoken particularly in south.
Practicing their Religion ISLAM.....PRAYING!
  • Religion: Sunni Muslim 90%, and a minority of Christians(Mostly Roman Catholic).
  • Birth Rates: 42.71 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
  • Death Rates: 14.87 deaths/1,000 population (2011 est.)
  •  Migration Rates: 11.81 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.) 
  • Life Expectancy: Male: 48.49 years, Female: 52.37 years.

  • Ethnic Groups: Somali 85%, Bantu and other non-Somali 15% (including Arabs 30,000)
  • Legal System: No national system , Shari'a and secular courts are in some localities.
  • Voting Rights: 18 years of age.
  • Industries: A few light industries, including sugar refining, textiles, wireless communication.
  • Communications: - Telephones(100,000), Mobile Cellular(641,000), Radios(470,000), Television Broadcast Stations(2 in Mogadishu and 2 in Hargeisa), Televisions(135,000), Internet Users 89,000 and 3 Internet Services in : Mogadishu, Hargesia, and Boosaaso.

Young Boys PROUDLY Holding their RIFLES and GUNS! So Young and yet SO FULL OF VIOLENCE!
  • Military Service: Since 2005, the UN has listed the Transitional Federal Government and its allied militias to be frequent violators in recruiting CHILDREN IN THE MILITARY!
  • Transnational Issues: Somalia was invaded by Ethiopian forces in January 2007. “Somaliland” provided port facilities in Berbera to Ethiopia and established commercial ties with other states. The British administrative line has little power to separate rival clans between Ethiopia’s Ogaden and southern Somalia’s Oromo region. Now Kenya helps to prevent the terrible fighting and the clan in Somalia from spreading  south across the border.
  • Independence: July 1, 1960
  • People with HIV/AIDS: 34,000 people 

So Many NECESSITIES. What a HORRIBLE Childhood Memory for these Kids
  • Natural Hazards: droughts, frequent dust storms over eastern plains in summer, and floods during rainy season.
  • Environment Issues: Famine, use of contaminated water causes human health problems, deforestation, overgrazing, soil erosion, and desertification.
Somali "HOUSES", if you can CALL THEM THAT! =/
  • Agriculture Products: cattle, sheep, goats; bananas, sorghum, corn, coconuts, rice, sugarcane, mangoes, sesame seeds, beans; fish. 
  • Electricity Production:240.3 million kWh (2002)  source is by fossil fuel 100% 
  • Political State: N/A
  • Unemployment Rates: N/A
  • Refugees: 1.1million(2007)
  • Major Infectious Diseases: (degree of risk: high) 
  • -Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
  • Vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and Rift Valley fever  
  • -Water contact disease: schistosomiasis
    -Animal contact disease: rabies (2009)
  • National Anthem: "Soomaaliyeey toosoo" (Somalia Wake Up) the lyrics speak of creating unity and an end to fighting.
  • Geography: 
 -Climate: principally desert
-Terrain: mostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in north.
- Area: total area of Somalia is 246,200 sq mi.  
- Natural resources: uranium and largely unexploited reserves of iron ore, tin, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt, natural gas, likely oil reserve.

 For More Info. ---> CIA World Fact Book