Somalia has gone through radical changes since the newly appointed government was elected in Mogadishu in September 2012. More and more Diaspora are returning everyday to help rebuild the city and re-brand its tarnished name as one of the most dangerous cities in the world to a city promoting peace and reconstruction.
Art, sport and community programs take precedent in it rebuilding the nation. There are more and more importing of goods and emergency food coming to port everyday then one ship arriving almost every two weeks. The nation is still racked by poverty, famine and displacement but aid is on the way. Very little embassies have set up office, Turkey being the first to establish themselves offering medical programs and educational scholarship. In 2013, it is expected with security, more embassies will return in the reshaping of the country.
The African Union has been securing the state and training of the Somali military and police force to have a full take over. Al Shabaab still operate in a low level capacity with suicide bombers usually attacking journalists or radio station attempting to close off one of the main means of the peace mission to the masses.
Al Shabaab still controls a vast majority of the rural countryside and the last major town of Kismayo was being battled for. After the fall of Kismayo, Al Shabaab will have no large town in their possession.
In 2009, I had travelled to Mogadishu, which was highly volatile with gunfire heard constantly in the street and the night skies filled with mortars like it was fireworks. Al Shabaab and Hezbollah Islam had owned 80% of the town. The main street was the only street considered safe to travel in and not without numerous amounts of guards with AK47s.
Returning in late 2012 was an improvement I had not sensed would ever happen to the nation. I was able to walk on the street, did not feel like I needed security and was able to ride the streets on a motorbike. Of course there is possible risk to my life but it would feel the same being similar in any city with high crime rate. Instead I got smiles, curiosity and a positivity of change.
Sitting and watching the national championship league of football was a highlight. All parts of Somalia had travelled to Mogadishu to play in front of disused land of destroyed high school, over two thousand people sat watching and cheering. It seemed like not a great deal but it is all part of a greater plan of creating peace in the country. You could sense that Somalis wanted to reclaim back the Olympic grounds and improve and have more sports being offered.
Art had filled the streets of Mogadishu especially with the ideals of promoting peace. The artist had been waiting it out through the Islamic Courts were in power till the newly elected government to be able make a come back and the same as the cultural musicians.
As the new government is developing new strategies, the main being gun control reform we can only hope on the progress of peace will come.
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