The Somalian Crisis


Photo by Ismail Salad Hajji dirir on Unsplash

Washed up on the Somali shore, this boat was probably used for fishing

In the arid lands of Somalia, huts are built out of whatever the people can find

Somalia has gone through several crises throughout its history. It has had help from the UN on multiple occasions, but is still battling through a broken government. In it’s past it has been called colonized and described as a failed state. As of right now Somalia has a semi-functional government, but there are major protests going on after their president got a two year term extension. Somalia is probably best known for its piracy of the Somalian coast, which threatens even the biggest shipping companies. To learn why Somalia has all these problems, you have to look at its history.

When Great Britain and Italy colonized Somalia, they split the country in half, and on one side they did better economically than the other. This caused a rift that is still not settled. They’ve even had a civil war that was brutal to several thousand Somalis. All of this conflict has caused unrest in the country for the rest of its life.

Due to the constant cargo ships and pollution, many of the animal life off the shores of Somali suffer. This also causes a decrease in the amount of fish that can be caught.

Their history is why Somalia has a serious problem with piracy. Pirates can easily make a lot of money holding ships and crews for ransom, and in past years they were extremely successful, making 100s of raids on cargo ships. This line of work is appealing to many young Somalis because it is extremely easy to get the job and the profit is larger than most other jobs you could get. For the most part, Somalis used to be nomads and farmers, but after a few deadly and horrific natural disasters, many of them are without work. There were several droughts that killed any crops and livestock, and a tsunami that wiped out the homes of almost 400,000 people. While the UN tried to step in after these events and provide food and care, it still leaves the country and many citizens in a difficult place to try and find a new income and home. This is where the piracy comes in. In more recent years, there have been moves to cut down on the piracy in that area, and they have been mostly successful thanks to other countries’ warships.

Back on land, political unrest is constant. In the last week, there have been several gunfights between armed groups over the president’s terms. Their current president tried to extend his term by two years, and Somalis were outraged. This caused mass conflict in the capitol, with insurgencies taking over several blocks of the city at a time. This in turn caused more people to flee from their homes because they are scared for their lives.

A group of Somali school children walk through the streets of their city

The president has decided to end his bid to get two extra years and agreed to talk to political opposition, but this move has inevitably caused massive distrust in the government. Cultural clans are split and security forces are fighting against each other, if something isn’t done quickly, there is a very serious chance that Somalia will have yet another serious breakdown. The current president has called for elections to be held soon, but they didn’t happen last time they were supposed to and citizens are wary. If something is not done to stabilize the political unrest in the country, there may be another major conflict in Somalia’s future.