Somalia is suffering from the most severe drought and famine in the last 60 years, which has already resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people and endangers the lives of 750,000 more Somalis. This crisis tests the notion of civilization and our modern values. It reveals, once again, that it is a basic human obligation to pursue international cooperation and solidarity to provide solace for those suffering from natural and man-made disasters.
It is not realistic to consider Somalia’s plight as caused solely by a severe natural disaster. We cannot ignore the fact that, in addition to the drought, the international community’s decision to leave Somalia to its own fate is also an underlying factor causing this drama. Twenty years of political and social instability, lawlessness, and chaos have added enormously to the problems in Somalia. The horrifying truck bombing of the Transitional Federal Government’s ministerial complex on Oct. 4 is just the latest evidence of this. The international community must not respond to this act of terrorism by retreating from Somalia, but by redoubling its efforts to bring aid to its people.
Nobody with common sense and conscience can remain indifferent to such a drama, wherever on Earth it may be and whichever people have to bear it. Our urgent intervention as responsible members of the international community can contribute to the alleviation of the Somali people’s distress. However, the establishment of lasting peace and stability will only be possible through long-term, far-reaching, and coordinated efforts.
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