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Why Somalia Is The Worst Place In The World
by Michael Bear
Five reasons why Somalia is the worst place in the world, at least from a humanitarian perspective. The beaches, tho, are quite nice:
1. Fully half the country - roughly 3.8 million people - needs urgent humanitarian assistance. Yet further proof that eighteen years without a functioning government is not the most effective path to peace and happiness.
2. Things are still getting worse, with a prolonged drought and increasingly vicious fighting between insurgents, various militia and the Somalia Government.
According to the acting UN humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, "this is the worst humanitarian crisis in Somalia in the last 18 years, since the collapse of the previous government."
3. The fighting is also making it more difficult to reach those most in need. A situation not helped by the fact that insurgents often deliberately target humanitarian agencies -- ten aid workers have been killed in Somalia so far this year.
(Which, granted, is fewer than the 45 aid workers killed in Somalia last year. Progress. Of a sort.)
4. And where, you might ask, is the international community in all of this? Well, let's see. UN policy is completely incoherent, with some UN agencies claiming neutrality, while others actively support the government.
Meanwhile, AU peacekeepers in Mogadishu are dying of malnutrition. Or at least beriberi, which is caused by malnutrition.
That said, a lion's share of the blame should go to the US, seeing as how our various anti-terrorism interventions in Somalia over the past few years made a bad situation far, far worse.
(Tho I have to admit I've always wanted an Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism t-shirt.)
5. Finally, all the misery that the twenty-first century can muster still isn't enough, seeing as how Somalia also suffers from some wonderfully retro woes, such as piracy.
On the plus side -- the country is something of a libertarian paradise.
[Photo of Mogadishu from ctsnow's photostream on flickr - creative commons attribution]
Source: Humanitarion Relief, Sept 03, 2009