2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 5 fully loaded ships.


In 2010, there were 7 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 113 posts.

The busiest day of the year was April 19th with 137 views. The most popular post that day was Rape as a Weapon of War.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were en.wordpress.com, mahalo.com, search.aol.com, facebook.com, and vhoagland.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for rape, somalia, war rape, aisha ibrahim duhulow, and e-waste.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Rape as a Weapon of War May 2009


Somalia is the World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis December 2008


United Nations Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development June 2009
1 comment


Africa’s future grows bleaker as drug shortages roll back the clock on beating AIDS April 2009


A Brave New World March 2009


There is a reason for everything! Piracy in Somalia

To turn the tide on piracy in Somalia, bring justice to its fisheries | csmonitor.com

Posted using ShareThis

We should be paying attention to this!!!

The problem of piracy in Somalia originated about a decade ago because of disgruntled fishermen.

The headless state had no authority to patrol its tuna-rich coastal waters and foreign commercial vessels swooped in to cast their nets. This proved a slap in the face for Somalis, who saw these vessels as illegal and raking in profits at the expense of the local impoverished population. To make matters worse, there were reports that some foreign ships even dumped waste in Somali waters.

That prompted local fishermen to attack foreign fishing vessels and demand compensation. The success of these early raids in the mid-1990s persuaded many young men to hang up their nets in favor of AK-47s. Making the coastal areas lucrative for local fishermen again could encourage pirates to return to legitimate livelihoods.

‘It’s a pirate’s life for me’

Stand up for Aisha!

On October 27 2008, in Somalia, 13-year old Aisha Duhulow was stoned by fifty men until she died in front of crowd of more than one thousand spectators. Before her murder, Aisha Duhulow had been raped by three men, and when her family reported the rape she was accused of adultery and sentenced to the stoning.

The Working Group on Girls, http://www.girlsrights.org, has a group on Facebook to raise awareness, especially among young people, not only about what happened to Aisha, but about violence against women and girls everywhere. We are hoping to have at 1000 people join our group by January 28, the four month anniversary of Aisha’s death, when we will black out our pages in her memory.

If you belong to Facebook please be one of 1000 to “Stand up for Aisha” at: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=41898817130&ref=nf

After you join, please share the group on your profile page!

Somalia is the World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis

BBC NEWS | Africa | ‘Thousands’ desert Somalia forces.

Somalians sit in the sun as they wait for food provided during Operation Provide Relief, Somalia
Somalians sit in the sun as they wait for food provided during Operation Provide Relief, Somalia

Somalia, the African country where 13 year old Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was stoned to death last month, is a the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, even worse than Sudan, according to the UN.

  • The population of Somalia is 8.4 million.
  • More than 3.2 million need humanitarian aid
  • More than 1.1 million are displaced.
  • Refugees from Somalia last year: 457,000
  • Doctors per 100,000 people: 4
  • Population with access to clean water: 29%
  • Children under-five under height for age: 38%
  • Under-five mortality rate: 145 per 1000 live births
  • Children attending primary school: Boys -24%; Girls – 20%

Humanitarian aid often fails to reach those who need it because of conflict, high inflation, corruption, pirate attacks on sea deliveries, roadblocks and armed attacks on aid convoys.

Somalia is one of the most dangerous places in the world to work so aid agencies do not base personnel there. 80% of Somalia’s security forces; soldiers, officers and police have deserted, taking with them weapons, uniforms and vehicles.

Piracy is a multi-million dollar industry employing between 1000-1500 pirates and using over 60 small boats and mother ships. Pirates invoke legitimate Somali grievances regarding foreign exploitation of marine resources such as illegal fishing and toxic waste dumping in Somali waters, thus gaining community support. In September, the pirates seized a Ukrainian freighter loaded with 33 battle tanks and off Kenya in November they seized a Saudi supertanker carrying $100m worth of crude oil. So far this year, they have attacked 100 ships and raked in an estimated $30m in ransoms for ships and crews. At present, the pirates hold 14 ships and 250 crew.

It is piracy that has finally provoked some action. Today, the Bush administration asked the UN for authorization to hunt Somali pirates on land with the co-operation of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government in one of the Bush administration’s last major foreign policy initiatives. The US circulated a draft Security Council resolution proposing that all nations and regional groups co-operating with Somalia’s government in the fight against piracy and armed robbery “may take all necessary measures ashore in Somalia”, including its airspace.

I can’t imagine how this intervention will make life better for the people of Somalia. Stopping the piracy is just treating a symptom. How will the people be better off if they are bombed by American planes? If peace, security and the rule of law were restored to Somalia, and all of the people had a chance for a decent life then the piracy would stop.

Who (or what) will be Saved?

via BBC NEWS | Africa | Hijacked oil tanker nears Somalia

A giant Saudi oil tanker seized by pirates in the Indian Ocean is nearing the coast of Somalia, the US Navy says.

The Sirius Star is the biggest tanker ever to be hijacked, with a cargo of 2m barrels – a quarter of Saudi Arabia’s daily output – worth more than $200m.

The vessel was captured in what the navy called an “unprecedented” attack 450 nautical miles (830km) off the Kenyan coast on Sunday.

GARISSA, Kenya, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Heavily-armed Somali gunmen kidnapped two Italian nuns on Monday in a pre-dawn raid on a remote Kenyan border town, witnesses said.

Somalia is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for aid workers, who are often abducted or killed in attacks usually blamed on Islamist insurgents or clan militia.

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A 13-year-old girl who said she had been raped was stoned to death in Somalia after being accused of adultery by Islamic militants, a human rights group said.

Dozens of men stoned Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow to death Oct. 27 in a stadium packed with 1,000 spectators in the southern port city of Kismayo, Amnesty International and Somali media reported, citing witnesses. The Islamic militia in charge of Kismayo had accused her of adultery after she reported that three men had raped her, the rights group said.

It will be interesting to see whether the international community does more to rescue the oil than it has to save all of the people who have been caught up in the violence and chaos that is Somalia.

I am feeling rather cynical tonight.

“Am I my sister’s keeper?” How do we respond to the stoning of Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow?


When he came home and the Lord asked him, “Where is your brother?” Cain answered that he didn’t know. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Gn. 4.9

I can’t stop thinking about the horror of the last few moments of 13 year old stoning victim Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow’s life. People I work with in the NGO community at the UN are struggling to come up with a response to this atrocity.

Somalia is in a state of anarchy. The Transitional Federal Government of Somalia is not in control of the country and could not have stopped the stoning. The situation of the international community is akin to living next to a family where the parents are completely messed up on drugs or whatever and are abusing their children. Obviously, reasoning with the parents won’t make any difference, nor will picketing outside their house, because the parents are too far gone to change their behavior on their own. Sending in a few bags of groceries once in a while won’t solve the problem either.

So far, the response of the international community to the ongoing violence in Somalia has been equivalent to these ineffectual actions. The UN and other humanitarian organizations make statements deploring what’s happening in Somalia, but the violence continues.

Last April when the Pope was at the UN, he said, “In the internal debates of the United Nations, increasing emphasis is being placed on the responsibility to protect. Indeed this is coming to be recognized as the moral basis for a governments claim to authority. It is also a feature that naturally appertains to a family, in which stronger members take care of weaker ones. This Organization performs an important service, in the name of the international community, by monitoring the extent to which governments fulfill their responsibility to protect their citizens.”

Then he challenged the UN to do more than just monitor, he declared that, “Every State has the primary duty to protect its own population from grave and sustained violations of human rights, as well as from the consequences of humanitarian crises, whether natural or man-made. If States are unable to guarantee such protection, the international community must intervene with the juridical means provided in the United Nations Charter and in other international instruments. The action of the international community and its institutions, provided that it respects the principles undergirding the international order, should never be interpreted as an unwarranted imposition or a limitation of sovereignty.”

The international community has a moral responsibility to intervene, just as we would to violence and abuse in our own neighborhoods.

Stoning Victim Begged for Her Life

Last week’s stoning of a 13 year old girl in Somalia occurred partly because the nation has no stable government, is terrorized by rival militias and is awash in arms. Individuals claiming to be eyewitnesses report that the girl begged for her life and that many people in the crowd at the stadium opposed the stoning but could not intervene because the militia in control had guns. People who attempted to intervene were fired upon. A 15 year old boy was killed.

Anarchy has prevailed in Somalia since 1991 when the central government collapsed. Constant warfare between rival warlords terrorize the people. The port of Kismayo where the stoning of 13 year old Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow took place was captured in August by a coalition of forces loyal to rebel leader Hassan Turki, and al-Shabab, the country’s main radical Islamist insurgent organisation.

In spite of an arms embargo, Somalia is awash in arms. According to the UN, arms arrive continuously in small shipments aboard fishing boats and small aircraft. These shipments originate or are routed through Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The main Somali entry points are Boosaaso, Marha, El Ma’an and Kismayo, along with the airstrips around Mogadishu.

Map of Somalia
Map of Somalia

Atrocities like the stoning of a 13 year old child will continue to take place in Somalia unless the international community intervenes to restore stable government and the rule of law and enforces the arms embargo already in place.

Read more at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7708169.stm