ProBonoMatters, a South African based open network of legal minds, has launched an online petition that condemns in the strongest possible terms the persistent killing of innocent people in Somalia.
Titled; Let the world know where you stand on Somali killings; the petition can be accessed and signed online by merely listing your name in a process that takes about 30 seconds.
The petition is a direct response to the Mogadishu bombing of October 14 2017 but understands that that massacre forms part of an escalating slaughter and killings are continuing. The petition also expresses solidarity with rebuilding efforts while recognising the resilience of the Somalis.
The Mogadishu bombing of Saturday the 14th of October has claimed more than 300 lives. It was described as the worst deadly in the country that has been at war for more than 30 years. It’s estimated that about a million people have died from the conflict.
The October 14 attack drew international headlines and condemnation when it happened. More attacks have occurred as usual but the world’s attention has moved on.
The ProBonoMatters’ petition lands itself into a challenge to Africans first and other people around the world to adopt an activist role against such senseless killings of innocent people.
The petition assets that “We the people of Africa and the world are enraged by the barbaric killing of innocent human beings …”
While it does what all petition do – express a grievance – the petition is also designed to provoke activism. “We are challenging the world and Africans in particular to gear up into meaningful activism against such acts,” says ProBonoMatters,” founder Sibonelo Radebe. He speaks of activism that wants to make real life difference and not just social media hype.
But then, says Sibonelo Radebe, even the social media campaigns in solidarity with Somalis people after October the 14th were far from sufficient. He adds “From our survey of social media trends it would seem that the Mogadishu bombing which claimed more than 300 lives has not received enough outrage as solidarity.
“And it could be that this is a particularly South African gap. But we are outraged by the inconsistency, the hypocrisy, in social media activism. And our concern must be properly understood. It is not just about self-ingratiating hashtags, tweets and statuses. We understand that social media has become an enormously powerful tool that shapes actual reality.”
Sibonelo Radebe adds that the level of anger generated by the killing of more than 300 Africans is clearly toned down when compared to what the world experienced after the Paris attacks of the past few years.
“Remember how we all correctly chanted Je suis Charlie after the attack at the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo claimed 12 lives.
“Remember how we marched after the Friday 13 November 2015 Paris attacks. We changed our profile pictures to bear the French flag.”
Clearly the intensity of social media activism against massacres has been inconsistent, says Sibonelo Radebe.
“Off-course there must be questions directed towards administrators of social media giants like Facebook and Twitter. It would seem their algorithms are inconsistent, even hypocritical.
“But we can’t blame anyone but ourselves for the toned down outrage as solidarity which has followed the Mogadishu bombings. We must take the initiative of highlighting and healing our own pain. As they say in isuZulu: ingane engakhali ifele embelekweni (A child who doesn’t cry in the cradle, will die of unnoticed pain).
“Social media platforms and digital media spaces in general are there for the taking. We must engage them in a way that benefits our courses,” said Sibonelo Radebe.
The petition concludes that “Recognising that the Somalis have endured through such attacks for many years, we say: Kwanele! Ho lekani! Enough!”
Press Release from ProBonoMatters
Name: Nkosinathi Nkosi
Mobile: +27 81 384 3668 / +27 83 300 1714