Ever since I was born I could hear the waves of hatred and prejudice pouring upon Jews for unexplained reasons, but apparently associated with the Arab-Israeli conflict, which Somalia was not a part of.
During Siad Barre (Somali dictator from 1969 to 1991), there was an Arabization program in Somalia that entailed the hatred of Jews as part of a standardized process of Arabization of our formerly non-Arab country.
When crisis erupted in Somalia and the lights went out in the 1990s, it became obvious that Somalia had been abandoned; no country acted to alleviate the Somalis’ enormous suffering.
Somalia has received various kinds of aid over the years, from various sources, but in the post-Cold War era, as Somalia’s strategic importance to the great world powers has waned, the country has effectively been left to rot. Its healthcare infrastructure, for example, is damaged to a degree which seems irreparable. Somalis seeking urgent medical care thus must often cross the border into Ethiopia, or seek treatment further abroad.
I am not a doctor by profession, but have served for many years as an interpreter for Somalis seeking medical care in Ethiopia. It was in this capacity that Special Adviser to the President of Somalia Dr. Omar Dihoud and I met with Mohammed Mohamud and Farah on March 4 at the Nati Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, prior to their 9 p.m. departure for Tel Aviv.
It was a remarkable occasion for all of us.
The two young men were overjoyed, but also a little shocked; they hadn’t expected anything other than rejection from the Israelis they had been taught all their lives to consider “immortal enemies.”
“When we were told Israeli embassy in Addis Ababa had granted us the visas, it blew our minds!” said “We’re grateful to the Hadassah organization that offered us to treat us. We’ve life threatening injuries and yet no money” to go to Germany for similar treatment, added, explaining that “[the treatment] costs a minimum of $100,000 for each of us.”