Somalian woman Olympian drowned in NATO’s Libyan war

This video is called Samia Yusuf Omar at 2008 Beijing Olympics.

A few years ago, I blogged on a woman athlete from Afghanistan:

11 July 2008.

In George W. Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan, the bloody occupation and war are going on. For the people, things are as bad as, sometimes even worse than, under the Taliban (like Al Qaeda, supported by the United States government originally).

That includes Afghan women. Corporate media highlight to their Western audiences a few individual women whose situation has improved, while keeping silent on the mass of women whose situation has not, or has worsened.

Now, one young Afghan woman has refused to play the role of puppet of the tokenism of politicians and media. …

Ms Ahadgar herself brought the uncertainty to an end when she phoned her family in a poor quarter of Kabul to tell them that she was on her way to claim political asylum in Norway. …

If this would have been reported (truly or falsely) about a Cuban athlete, who, unlike Ms Ahadgar, very likely would not have “finished a minute or more behind the winners”, then it would have been all over the big media headlines, especially in the USA.

Afghanistan being George W. Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan, however, I did not manage to find United States corporate media mentioning this. I just found this, from CBC in Canada:

Despite the fact that she is far from being an Olympic favourite, the head of the Afghan Olympic Federation has threatened to throw her family in jail, or worse, if Ahadgar doesn’t return.

The runner who once wanted to bring glory to her country is now running for her life.

Now, another woman Olympic athlete. Not from Afghanistan. From another country, destroyed by the “humanitarian” wars of the Pentagon and its NATO allies: Somalia.

Contrary to Ms Ahadgar from Afghanistan, Ms Samia Yusuf Omar from Somalia really wanted to run at the Olympic games. So much so, that in 2010-early 2012, she went on a long, complex, dangerous journey to reach London. First, from Somalia to Ethiopia. A dictatorship which repeatedly has invaded Somalia and has committed atrocities there. Then, from Ethiopia to the violent dictatorship Sudan.

Then, from Sudan to Libya. Samia Yusuf Omar may have dreamt of sailing comfortably the Mediterranean from Libya to Europe.

That dream did not come true. There was a revolt in Libya, hijacked by NATO countries to start their oily “humanitarian” war. Some of the anti-Ghadaffi Libyan rebels were racists. People like Samia Yusuf Omar with her black skin had to fear for their lives.

Sudanese detainees in Libyan prisons face poor food and health conditions and receive inhumane treatment from prison authorities, one of the Sudanese inmates told Radio Dabanga: here.

The violence of the Libyan war is still continuing. To save her life, Samia Yusuf Omar apparently went aboard a small ship with far too many desperate refugees on it.

That meant her death, as the BBC story here below says.

What the BBC story does not say is that the death of Samia Yusuf Omar and her fellow refugees was not inevitable.

There were and are plenty of NATO warships not far from the Libyan coast. According to international law, it is their duty to save refugees in danger of drowning.

The NATO warships did not save the refugees. One of NATO’s crimes in their Libyan war. Their war was supposedly a “humanitarian” war. That was propaganda. The reality was death for Somali Olympian athlete Samia Yusuf Omar and for so many others.

From the BBC:

20 August 2012 Last updated at 18:46 GMT

Somalia Olympic runner ‘drowns trying to reach Europe’

A Somali Olympic athlete has reportedly drowned while attempting to reach Europe on a migrant boat.

Runner Samia Yusuf Omar was trying to cross from Libya to Italy in April when the boat she was travelling in sank, according to Italian media.

The head of Somalia’s National Olympic Committee confirmed to the BBC that she had died but did not say how.

Samia competed in the 200m event at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 despite having almost no formal training.

Although she came in last place, several seconds behind the other competitors, the BBC’s Alan Johnston in Rome says it is extraordinary that she was able to take part at all.

She had grown up and trained in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, facing war, poverty, a complete lack of athletics facilities and prejudice from some quarters against women participating in sports.

According to a profile of Samia on al-Jazeera, she faced death threats and intimidation when she returned to Somalia after the 2008 Olympics, with the Islamist militia al-Shabab controlling parts of the capital.

‘We will not forget’

In October 2010, the runner is reported to have moved to Ethiopia in search of a coach to help her train for the London 2012 Olympics.

What happened between then and her apparent death in the Mediterranean Sea is unclear.

According to al-Jazeera, there were no guarantees that she would be accepted to train at the stadium in Addis Ababa – it was dependent on her running times and permission from the Ethiopian Athletics Federation.

Reports in Italian media suggest she may have been hoping to find a coach in Europe who could help her reach the London Olympics.

Italian newspaper Corriere Della Serra [sic; Sera] says Samia’s fate only came to light when former Somali Olympic athlete Abdi Bile brought it up at a talk.

He mentioned Mo Farah, the Somalian runner who moved to the United Kingdom aged 12 and triumphed in this year’s Olympics.

“We are happy for Mo – he is our pride,” he said. “But we will not forget Samia.”

Somalia Government Resumes Evicting Mogadishu Squatters: here.

45 thoughts on “Somalian woman Olympian drowned in NATO’s Libyan war

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    Somalia: 2012 Is the Deadliest Year Yet for Somali Media, Says Nusoj

    1 January 2013

    Press release

    Mogadishu — The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) says 2012 was the deadliest year for Somali media in history with 18 media workers murdered and none of their killers brought to book.

    “2012 has gone down as the worse in the history not only of the media but of Somalia as a whole. The killings of journalists have reached an all-time record and it is about time that such odious crimes are accounted for,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

    Mogadishu was confirmed as the place where most of the journalists were killed, followed by Beledweyne, Galkayo and Las Anod.

    It is in the second half of the year where the majority of journalists were deliberately hunted and gunned down in a series of politically-motivated crimes designed to silence the independent voice of journalists and suppress freedom of expression. September holds the grim record as the month where the biggest number of journalists were killed.

    Heightened political fights and the power struggle that characterized the end of the mandate of Transitional federal institutions, had a deadly impact on Somali journalists who bore the brunt of armed men wanting to control or manipulate to their advantage news going out into the public domain.

    NUSOJ is extremely concerned about the continued impunity enjoyed by killers of journalists thanks to the failure by the previous Transitional Federal Government to protect journalists’ fundamental right to life. The abysmal record of authorities ranged from mysterious releases of suspected killers, to lack of credible investigations, empty words of condolences, an almost total absence of practical action from their international backers as well as their failure to hold those in power into account for their inaction. Such failures are akin to local authorities condoning these scandalous crimes.

    In welcoming the commitments made by the new Federal Government of Somalia to tackle deadly attacks on journalists, give media and civil society more space for free expression and to bring to an end the culture of impunity, NUSOJ has called for swift and tangible actions to bring forthwith the killers of media workers to justice.

    NUSOJ urged Somalia’s international friends and partners to go beyond words of regret, and hold into account those in power as responsible for giving justice to the victims of rights abuses, ending abuse of power in public offices, strengthening the rule of law and guaranteeing freedoms of expression and association.

    Somalia has now become the second deadliest country for journalists in the world after Syria and Africa’s deadliest, according to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global voice for journalists including NUSOJ members.


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