Somali Journo Needs Your Help

Increasingly, my reporting career is reader-supported. In the past year, readers of my blogs have ponied up nearly $3,500 to send me to Chad, Kenya and, soon, Nigeria to report on war and humanitarian crises. For that, I’m grateful.

I’m equally grateful for my growing audience. My personal blog War Is Boring now attracts more than a thousand visitors per day, on average — drawn, I believe, to this blog’s combination of reporting, politics and attitude. But for those of you who especially value my extensive reporting on Somalia, I have a confession. Much of my information is second-hand. It comes from a very brave man I met during my trip to Mogadishu in late 2007, Mohamed Omar Hussein, a reporter for Somali Weyn, on the left in the picture above.

Mohamed has been a good friend to us. Now he needs our help. Last year, one of Mohamed’s brothers was killed in a mortar attack in Mogadishu. Now another brother, the oldest, has died, leaving Mohamed in charge of an extended family, in a country where everything is in short supply. “The funeral will take place in a week’s time,” he told me by email last night. “Please help, help, help, help.”

I want to, but I’m pretty poor myself, so I need your help to help Mohamed. I am currently selling a camera on Ebay. I want to send a portion of the proceeds to Mogadishu to support my friend and colleague. From you, dear generous readers, I require two things:

1) Further donations to send to Mohamed. Even a dollar will help. Use Paypal, and add a note specifying that the cash is for Mohamed, rather than for my upcoming Nigeria trip.

2) A reader in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Boston or one of the communities listed here, who doesn’t mind visiting your local Dahabshiil money-transfer office, to assist with the transfer of funds to Mogadishu. There isn’t a Dahabshiil office within 400 miles of me, so I can’t do it myself. This would require a couple hours of your time, at most.

Please consider giving.

(Photo: me)