A packed room spread with concerned faces watched pictures of suicide bombers and soldiers as they went about villages to harass Somali civilians and to put fear into them. Other pictures showed children as soldiers and terrorists.
“Everyone’s a terrorist, even children,” said Somali women’s activist Zamzam Abdillahi Abdi to show how the constant state of fear in the East African nation is becoming worse.
Abdi and Somali activist Abukar Albardi passionately relayed an analysis of the mass execution that has spread throughout the country as part of a human rights defenders speaking tour sponsored by Amnesty International, an organization to protect human rights.
The presentation, “Routinely Targeted: Attacks on Civilians in Somalia,” was held Tuesday at Busboys and Poets on Fifth and K Streets. Both Abdi and Albard are citizens of Somalia and lived there for some time while experiencing the conflicts firsthand.
The discussion began with a brief overview and then a quick introduction to the focal topic. Abdi shared a PowerPoint presentation that gave listeners a chance to feel part of the situation. The photographs were explicit and showed an up close view of the devastation of the Somali people.
According to CNN News, there are endless stories on the conflicts that arise over in Somalia. In the report titled, “Bodies Litter the Streets of Somalia City,” armed militias came over to a Somali city and started killing people because of a rival group they were targeting.
In these situations, Abdi related one message and that was to, “keep quiet, when someone is killed.” Other pictures showed Somali mothers taking care of children in poverty and inadequate living conditions, and roadside bombs that have affected villages.
After the lecture, the audience flooded the guests with questions in efforts to decode the information that was presented. “What is the United Nations’ involvement in the genocide,” asked a very eager audience member. The response, “The United Nations is taking key efforts to cease the violence over in Somali by sending the proper necessities over to the country.”
The discussion ended after a speaker made one lasting observation: “Now is the perfect time for activism.”