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.
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.
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.
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.
- NATO’s ‘new’ Libya’s xenophobic violence (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- U.S. Planning a Force to Stay in Afghanistan (nytimes.com)
- NATO drone crash in western Herat province (sgt-jim.blogspot.com)
- Barack Obama’s Not Ending the War in Afghanistan (reason.com)
- Afghan Violence Getting Worse As NATO And The U.S. Drawdown (warnewsupdates.blogspot.com)
- NATO Raid Kills Four Children in Afghanistan (commondreams.org)