OPINION | Green energy can end African famine

While Ebola occupies the world’s attention, a humanitarian crisis is quickly unfolding in Somalia. In August, the Somali federal government declared famine in several regions.The rain necessary for food arrived a month late and was brief in duration. Drought grips much of the country, leaving nearly three million Somalis at risk for food insecurity. In conflict areas, over a million people remain displaced from their homes. UNICEF estimates that 200,000 children could die by the end of the year if no action is taken.The Horn of Africa is considered one of the poorest regions in the world, and ongoing droughts continue to plague this region. Continue Reading

IGGERS DIGEST | Somali singer Deeqa Bilan performs Wednesday at the Cedar

On Wednesday night, September 17, Deeqa Bilan will be performing an intermission set at the Cedar Cultural Center with world jazz ensemble Bob’s Band, as part of their Global Roots Festival. (The headliners are Tunisian songwriter and singer Emel Mathlouthi and the Washington D.C.-based Faadel Band, who play Ethiojazz.) According to the Cedar’s website, the Mogadishu native is “part of the new generation of female Somali singers in Minneapolis.”In case you missed yesterday’s post about singer Muhamad Alta, I have decided, just as an experiment, to start posting video clips featuring local ethnic and immigrant performers and groups. Your nominations are welcome! This video is “Maanqaad 2014 *Deeqa Bilan* “, directed By Ahmed Ugaaska.Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Funders Collaborative. Continue Reading

Saado Ali Warsame: Minnesota’s Somali community reflects on slaying of fearless singer

For more than four decades, Saado Ali Warsame, killed last week in a drive-by shooting in Mogadishu, used her songs and voice to plant seeds of peace and unity in Somalia and its diaspora communities in Minnesota and elsewhere.I grew up in a household where Warsame’s songs were admired, the one boombox we had often buzzing with her music. Before I could talk, before I knew who this superstar was and before I could pronounce her name, I was singing her love song “Naftaydaa Kuu Jiraban” — one of the most popular songs in the history of Somali music — in unison with my older siblings.Warsame used her early songs to confront government officials who spent public funds for personal gains while some citizens starved. In an attempt to silence Warsame, the now-fallen regime of the late military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre imprisoned her several times in the 1980s. But Warsame was undeniably fearless, and the arrests of intimidation never weakened her spirit or changed her decision to use her talents as a strong voice for the underdog.So her slaying in the Somali capital has shaken the Somali community in Minnesota and around the world. Since Wednesday’s killing, reaction from her fans in Minnesota and throughout the world continues to blanket social media.Al-Shabab, a Somalia-based cell linked to the militant Islamist group Al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for killing the internationally renowned folk singer and member of the Somali parliament who lived in Minnesota from 2007 to 2012.Community Sketchbook focuses on the economic and social challenges facing communities, especially low-income communities and communities of color, and how people are trying to address them. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Minneapolis police officer Abdulkadir meets with Somali Families at 2909 Bloomington Ave. S. in Minneapolis

On June 12,  50 family members living at 2909 Bloomington Ave S. met with Minneapolis police officer Mukhtar  Abdulkadir to find solutions to crime and safety problems that have been plaguing their neighborhood and their building.The people living at 2909 Bloomington Ave. S. are predominantly Somali, and many residents speak limited English.  In the past the  language barrier has often meant that some residents have not contacted the police to report crime problems, and when they do they often feel the police do not understand them and are slow to respond adequately.Meeting with officer  Abdulkadir was the first time many of the residents have talked in their native language about their crime and safety problems with a police officer.  They explained  in detail to officer  Abdulkadir what was happening in their neighborhood and in their building.  Their biggest complaints were about intruders who on a daily basis get  into their building and:*Sleep in the front lobby and stairwells overnight*Sneak  into the underground garage and break into cars*Sell  drugs in the building*Urinate in the hallway*Kick in windows in the middle of the night*Smoke in the stairways*Sneak downstairs*Knock on people’s doors in the middle of the nightResidents also said that prostitutes regularly walk  the sidewalk outside their building, and even get into the building and ply their trade downstairs and in the stairways.Families also talked about concerns they had for the safety of  their children. Scores of children live at 2909 Bloomington, and every day dozens play in the  open space out back.  Their play often spills out into the alley.  Parents said that many drivers speed through the alleys at 30 mph+, and suggested that their children would be safer with a fence separating the play area from the alley traffic.  After hearing the lengthy and passionate descriptions of the intrusions and problems, Abdulkadir  offered some  advice.  He said that the problem with the intruders was so huge and endemic, he thought that security inside the building was necessary to get them out.  He also said that working security cameras were a must.Abdulkadir  also said he was ready to continue working with them to successfully deal with their crime problems.Officer Abdulkadir encourages soccer players, thanks soccer coachOfficer Abdulkadir  also told the families about how he became a Minneapolis police officer, and encouraged the youth to consider a career in law enforcement.  He praised  youth involvement in the East Phillips soccer team, and thanked the soccer coach for his efforts.While frustrated by the crime problems in their neighborhood and building, the families felt heartened after their meeting with Abdulkadir, and appreciated having a police officer they knew who could speak their own language.  They looked forward to working with officer Abdulkadir  and the Minneapolis police department to solve their problems and help make the Phillips neighborhood safer for everyone.The families also hope to meet with councilmember Alondra Cano Continue Reading