Last night I attended a BC Film rally called We Create BC for the seemingly dwindling film industry here in Vancouver. I was face to face with thousands of industry co-workers, many whom have not worked in months, and looking at an equally bleak 2013 in their field of work. It is worrying. I was walking alone to my vehicle which is normally never concerning for me at night, but for some reason I felt a chill down my back – fear – thinking this was strange I quickly got in my car and drove home. I wondered why I was feeling anxiety and fear? Could it be the state of the industry and even though I am managing to work and stay afloat I was feeling that stress? Was there someone looming in the background of the car park seeking an opportunity, or was it just a coincidence that there was a tingling wariness on the back of my neck?
Either way when I got into bed the feelings crept in again, and as I remembered the news from earlier in the day when I learned the Kenyan Government was taking action on a directive to “round up” any Somali refugees in Nairobi, to detain them in a stadium and then ship them to even more crowded IDP camps like Dadaab or Alinjugur, I imagined the fear that would bring to anyone being put in that position, not to mention the subsequent danger women and girls are in while in camps. It is a horrible thing to be overcome with worry, fear and anxiety, whomever you are and where ever you are in the world.
We recently worked with young Somali girls that may now well be in danger of being targeted, detained and sent to such a camp. Dadaab has become high-risk and dangerous, following a series of incidents, including the abduction of aid workers and fatal attacks on refugee leaders and Kenyan security forces. From January to August 2012, the Dadaab and Alinjugur camps received more than 5,700 new arrivals from Somalia, bringing the total population in these camps to some 474,000. The large numbers were mainly due to the prevailing Horn of Africa drought, famine and insecurity in Somalia, already stretched to the limit, a large influx of of newly displaced refugees from Nairobi will only push resources further and cannot be positive. This action has been spurred on from the recent retaliative matatu (local minivan taxi’s) bombings, thought to be implemented by Al Shabaab in Nairobi over the past months. Through the actions of the terrorism, it is as always the innocents that suffer.
I am feeling the insecurity, the anxiety of these girls that I know and pray for their safety, there is nothing I would like better than to get on a plane and go there right now to assist in any way I could. For now I will focus on what I can do and that is to bring awareness to what is happening.
To help raise awareness please share this story, and for more direct action you can donate to:
CARE (who operate directly in both camps)