Our View: Somalia needs world’s attention

If anything good has come out of the wretched aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, perhaps it’s the western world’s awakening to the horrific realities faced by so many of our fellow human beings.

If anything good has come out of the wretched aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, perhaps it’s the western world’s awakening to the horrific realities faced by so many of our fellow human beings.

Sunday’s 10th anniversary of the terrorist skyjackings that destroyed the World Trade Center towers and damaged the Pentagon is a chance to pay tribute to those who died in the attacks, in the rescue efforts and in the wars that followed.

It’s also an opportunity to to shift our gaze outward and see what is happening in the world today. In particular, it is past time to act on a situation that has been allowed to deteriorate into incomprehensible suffering.

War, religious extremism and corruption are threatening the lives of 750,000 people in Somalia. Other residents of nations in the Horn of Africa are also at risk of dying in a famine that is largely man-made.

Now considered a failed state, Somalia faces extreme violence, with the militant group al-Shabab accused of stealing food aid and firing on care workers and civilians.

Make no mistake, the mass starvation of children is avoidable. Drought and food shortages are problematic, but the true hurdle is simply a matter of political will.

There are positive signs. This week an agreement was reached to prepare for elections that could bring a level of stability to the country, which has been in chaos since long before dictator Mohammed Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991.

The west has the resources to provide the needed aid as well as the security forces to ensure aid is distributed to those in need.

We just need to muster the will to act.

To find out how you can help, contact the Victoria office of the Canadian Red Cross at 250-382-2043, or visit www.redcross.ca.