Social Issues September 26, 2011
K'Naan Reflects on Returning to Somalia after 20 Years

In a moving piece of writing published in the New York Times, Somali-Canadian musician K'Naan talks about returning to Somalia, where he grew up, for the first time in 20 years. The country is currently suffering from drought and famine, which the UN recently warned could kill as many as 750,000 people.

As K'Naan puts it, "the worst famine in decades" in Somalia is being met with "a defeated shrug" by the rest of the world. Alongside the starving people he encountered, the musician also describes the constant threat of violence in the country: "It's not a small task to be safe in Mogadishu. So we keep our arrival a secret until after we ride from the airport to the city, a ride on which they say life expectancy is about 17 minutes if you don't have the kind of security that has been arranged for me."

As well as the threat of violence, the piece describes the heartbreaking scene at Banadir Hospital, where K'Naan was born: "The doctors are like hostages of hopelessness, surrounded and outnumbered. Mothers hum lullabies holding the skeletal heads of their children. It seems eyes are the only ornament left of their beautiful faces; eyes like lanterns holding out a faint glimmer of hope."

You can read the full article here. To donate to Canadian charities who are working on providing food, clean water, shelter and health services in East Africa, visit the CBC's East Africa Relief Page.

Plus, check out K'Naan in the red chair last year:



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