Tag Archives: Somalia

A Life on Hold

An intimate portrait of Omar, a 17 year old stranded in a refugee camp since the 2011 war in Libya.  The film offers a unique perspective of one person amongst thousands waiting for a chance to start their life again in a safe country.

When war broke out earlier this year in Libya, thousands of refugees from countries such as Somalia, Sudan, and Eritrea, who were living in or transiting through the country at the time, were forced to flee for their lives yet again. They are now waiting in refugee camps along the Tunisian and Egyptian borders – unable to return home due to war or persecution, unable to return to Libya due to ongoing violence and discrimination, and unable to stay in Tunisia or Egypt, countries both undergoing their own political upheavals.

A fantastic short film.

How Somali Fisherman Became Pirates

This article by Time Magazine says it all.

Ever since a civil war brought down Somalia’s last functional government in 1991, the country’s 3,330 km (2,000 miles) of coastline — the longest in continental Africa — has been pillaged by foreign vessels. A United Nations report in 2006 said that, in the absence of the country’s at one time serviceable coastguard, Somali waters have become the site of an international "free for all," with fishing fleets from around the world illegally plundering Somali stocks and freezing out the country’s own rudimentarily-equipped fishermen. According to another U.N. report, an estimated $300 million worth of seafood is stolen from the country’s coastline each year. "In any context," says Gustavo Carvalho, a London-based researcher with Global Witness, an environmental NGO, "that is a staggering sum."

In the face of this, impoverished Somalis living by the sea have been forced over the years to defend their own fishing expeditions out of ports such as Eyl, Kismayo and Harardhere — all now considered to be pirate dens. Somali fishermen, whose industry was always small-scale, lacked the advanced boats and technologies of their interloping competitors, and also complained of being shot at by foreign fishermen with water cannons and firearms. "The first pirate gangs emerged in the ’90s to protect against foreign trawlers," says Peter Lehr, lecturer in terrorism studies at Scotland’s University of St. Andrews and editor of Violence at Sea: Piracy in the Age of Global Terrorism. The names of existing pirate fleets, such as the National Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia or Somali Marines, are testament to the pirates’ initial motivations.

Now it’s evolved into opportune plundering but this result of what happens when we allow nations to fail.