Recent events in Somalia have demonstrated the need for active global citizenship in tackling adversity collectively. On Saturday 14 October, Somalia experienced its most devastating terrorist attack when two truck bombs were detonated in Central Mogadishu. Resulting in the most catastrophic attack suffered by the nation since the outbreak of war in the late 1980s- early 1990s. Reports of casualties are still in-coming but currently rated at over 300 dead, just as many wounded and even more missing. This information comes amidst the wailing testimonies of heartbroken survivors as they recount traumatising experiences that no human being should ever have to witness.
As the nation’s three- day mourning period has come to an end #IAmMogadishu has emerged. The hashtag is social media’s sign of solidarity with Somalia and stroke of outrage concerning a void of consistent attention from “western” mainstream media when it comes to disasters in other parts of the world. Arguments forwarded are that when terrorist attacks and public killings happen in metropoles in the US or Western Europe the news is played on high rotation, with regularly updated feedback and scores of celebrities leading their followers into conveying messages of condolences and hosting fundraisers. Beyond this line of inquiry lies a question that begs to be answered: Although this attack is a global issue, and it is fair to analyse the unbalanced habits of the West, why are we as Africans in government, civil society, entertainers and all spheres of media performing so poorly in keeping such devastating occurrences at the fore of public conversation for weeks on end, till the affected area is well on its way to recovery?
This topic, alone, is deserving of its own series of articles. But back to focus…
Historically, at times like these, we would only be able to offer our thoughts and prayers. Not to say that thoughts and prayers are not significant or powerful. However, the days of not being able to add action to our thoughts and prayers for those in zones of intense conflict and instability have passed.
“…the days of not being able to add action to our thoughts and prayers for those in zones of intense conflict and instability have passed…”
Violent extremism and strategies towards addressing it no longer rest in the hands of governments or the military alone. A set of progressive, long-term solutions, which civil society and the general public can participate in are finally available. The Koffi Annan Foundation partnered with 10 impressive young leaders from various professional backgrounds to produce a range of solutions. Supported by The European Commission, One Young World and the Amersi Foundation, this set of accomplished leaders compiled the world’s first counter-extremism guide for young people by young people. The manual has now turned into a full-fledged, award-winning movement and has wisely been dubbed, “Extremely Together”. Extremely Together is a well-researched and multifaceted weapon designed to combat violent extremism. It unpacks multiple angles from which individuals, especially youth, fall prey to misleading narratives. Then it shares multiple angles from which this can be countered to promote peace and security, both locally and regionally.
“… reviewing the manual affirms that no single actor can resolve issues pertaining to violent extremism alone… Each actor, including social groups, possesses a range of influence that other actors do not have…”
If anything, reviewing the manual affirms that no single actor can resolve issues pertaining to violent extremism alone. Regardless of whether they are a wealthy state, well-equipped military or notable civil society organisation. Each actor, including social groups, possesses a range of influence that other actors do not have. Making them a crucial part of the counter-terrorism network. Challenging violent extremism can only be resolved by collective action from multiple actors simultaneously. Or, as THE DIPLO-SPHERE will continually assert, with the help of active global citizens who act extremely together. Active citizens like Somalia’s own, 27-year-old, Ilwad Elman, award-winning activist and Co-Leader of the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre, in Somalia. Her father was an activist, who dedicated his life to ending the war in Somalia. Now her reign is especially focussed on highlighting the role of youth and women as sources of transformation in combatting violent extremism and promoting peace and security.
Extremely Together’s flagship guide enables us as “ordinary citizens” to play a part in the extraordinary. Hopefully, meaning that our ability to actively be a terror to terrorism is finally here. Visit their site to see how you can be a more active global citizen.