20 April 2010

Angelina Jolie to protect civilians through use of digital communications

From some past inquiries, I’m still on the UNHCR mailing list and occasionally get their mailings on Somalia. They usually involve five-digit figures of refugees fleeing the fighting in Mogadishu and elsewhere. This is sad. And sadly, this is also effectively routine. The fighting in Somalia has been going on for two decades and for a number of reasons that turn this into a complex and incredibly difficult to resolve conflict.

Since I write mostly about economic and business issues, I typically click these alerts away. However, yesterday I read on for a change when I received an email titled ‘Angelina Jolie appeals for safety of civilians in Somali capital’. According to this press release, Angelina Jolie 'expressed her concern for the lives and the well-being of thousands of displaced people who are trapped in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.’ The text goes on to state: ‘I am deeply troubled by the complete and utter disregard for human life in Somalia. ... I fear for their lives. I appeal to those who carry on fighting not to shell and target civilian neighbourhoods.’

That is very kind of Ms Jolie. A tad late maybe since this has happened to civilians for two decades. Never mind. Don't knock good intentions. But I hope that UNHCR have the Al Shabaab and assorted other fighting parties on their mailing list, too.

I ran this past my focus group (i.e. Facebook friends). Several people recommended shipping her and assorted supporters off to Mogadishu for an on-site event. Internet connections are of course available in Mogadishu, but this would certainly get around the question of whether the fighting parties are included in UNHCR’s mailing list. As Mr G said: ‘And she's supposed to be one of the more intelligent Hollywood stars. I feel genuinely sorry for the truly thick ones.’ Maybe if George Clooney also chipped in?