By Omar Abdi Jimale
Mohamed Cantoobo’s statement, “Your enemies are many, your resilience is much. #Mogadishu,” during the al-Shabaab attack on Benadir Regional Administration’s headquarters, was met with a sharp rebuke by Hodan Ali, who stated, “We need to stop romanticizing the security governance failure in Mogadishu. It is not resilience.” This exchange of words sparked the realization that it is high time to shed light on the true nature of the ongoing suffering in Mogadishu and to give it the attention it deserves, thus giving birth to the title of this topic.
Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, has been facing al-Shabaab terror attacks for nearly a decade and a half. The constant terror attacks have left a trail of destruction and despair, leaving the lives of innocent citizens in shambles. But even as the city and its people endure unspeakable tragedy, some callously label it as “resilient,” disregarding the human toll of the bombings. This is a callous and heartless attitude, and it is time to acknowledge the reality of life in Mogadishu.
The residents of Mogadishu are not just enduring; they are suffering. The daily threat of bombings and violence has taken a toll on their mental and physical well-being. To call the city “resilient” is an act of staggering stupidity, insulting the people who call it home. Those who make such claims are indifferent to the plight of the citizens; it’s even worse when the statements come from people who are supposed to protect citizens from terrorist acts. Instead, they profit from the suffering of the city’s citizens.
Yesterday, as armed al-Shabaab militants attacked the heart of the city, government officials and others had the audacity to declare Mogadishu a “resilient” city, as if the suffering of its citizens, the injured, and the bereaved, as well as those traumatized by the attack, meant nothing. This callous dismissal of the realities of life in Mogadishu is an insult to all who call the city home. It is time for these officials to take responsibility for their actions and empathize with the citizens’ plight.
As they snap pictures of the city’s picturesque landscapes, some proclaim that “whatever al-Shabaab does, Mogadishu will never disappoint.” But this romanticized view of the city, spoken for over a decade, ignores the constant devastation wrought by terror bombings and the suffering of its citizens. This is not a resilient city; it is a city that is dying. Empty platitudes of resilience fall flat when juxtaposed with the harsh realities of daily suffering in Mogadishu. What is truly needed is an administration that upholds its duties, officials who empathize with the plight of the citizens, and intellectuals who refrain from romanticizing the hardship Mogadishu’s residents face. The citizens of Mogadishu deserve better than to be reduced to a buzzword. They deserve to live in peace and safety.
The mind and soul of people living in constant terror in Mogadishu, trapped in a never-ending cycle of fear of trauma. The daily disruption of their lives, coupled with their inability to escape, leaves them nowhere to turn. And yet, amidst this despair, some ignorantly romanticize the idea of resilience, adding insult to injury. This is a cruel disregard for the true reality of their suffering.
Mogadishu is the mirror that reflects the reality of the entire nation. The residents of this city, who have been plagued by constant terror and destruction, do not deserve to continue living in such dire circumstances. They deserve an administration that genuinely represents them and performs its duties with integrity and empathy. One that feels the pain of the citizens and works closely with them, not one that merely milks their taxes and ignores their pleas for help. It is time for an administration that honestly serves the people of Mogadishu, one that will end their suffering.
To normalize the pain and trauma experienced by the people of Mogadishu as simply a part of life is a dehumanizing practice that has been unfortunately accepted by the uninformed for years. To hail those on the brink of death as “resilient” is the hypocrisy of the highest order.
Mogadishu, a city on the brink, its residents weary of unfulfilled promises and endless terror, pleads, “Oh! Those who truly have the power to bring change, when will you come to my rescue?”
Omar Abdi Jimale is a Ph.D. Political Science and Public Administration student at Necmettin Erbakan University.