War is hell, and that is the truth, but if that war happens to be civil/clan warfare, it is a real hell on earth. War is also many other things, including the courage to draw cartoons depicting the images of the warlords and their hirelings caught red handed as they commit murder and mayhem against innocent civilians in Somalia. The author of the cartoons, Amin Amir, the brilliant veteran Somali cartoonist, just like his counterparts in the frontline, have been drawn to the dangerous war zones like moths to a flame.
Amin Amir gave us and continues to give us hundreds of images of the reality of the bloodshed committed by a bunch of warlords against non-combatants in disaster-prone Somalia. If the war correspondent offers his audience the most lucid eyewitness accounts of the reality of human conflict in words, Amin Amir’s colourful cartoons provides us with vivid and complex picture of its nature and origin. The real cartoonist needed something special. He needs technology, new ideas, satire and some means of constantly communicating back to his audience. As the saying goes: “A single image or picture is worth more than thousand words.” Amin’s cartoons highlight again, and again the unfortunate situation in Somalia and soon every major website and newspaper reproduced them, mostly in their front pages, to satisfy the readers’ seemingly insatiably appetite for news from the old home, now in ruins. And one of the best tools to help put smiles (and sometimes shock) on our faces is Amin’s political, social and economic cartoons. After all, the unending anarchy in Somalia is the ultimate story, human interest plus the destiny of a nation that has gone belly-up. Nothing compares to it.
Successful Amin Amir is, he was bedeviled by the dilemma many of us stung by people who hate the truth, or people who side one war criminal or another, but we refused to spin lies for political causes and bow to masters. It is an occupation hazard, and it comes with the territory. “If you do not like it get the hell out of it, and sit in front of the family TV and watch the events as they unfold,” said M. M. Afrah, long time Reuters war correspondent in Somalia.
Amin Amir was accorded with standing ovations as he was handed the Award of Excellence and Lifetime Achievement by the veteran war correspondent, M. M. Afrah, a man who has gone through the mill and knows what it means to be on the frontline. He said the job of political cartoonist is as dangerous as the war correspondent in conflict zones with a lot of ban-bang.
The well-attended ceremony held at the Renaissance Hotel in Toronto on Sunday, was sponsored by Concern Group, Subiye Devolopment Volunteers Organization, Somaliska Information Foreningen of Sweden, Banadir.com & Compu Canada Solutions. One of the main purposes of the ceremony was fund-raising for a new school to be built in Bala’ad, a textile factory and a farming town north of Mogadishu.
Khadija Abdullahi Dalees and Faduma Ali “Nkrumah”, representing the legendary Waberi Artists, sung heart-throbbing songs from the past, which brought tears to elderly audience, a reminiscence of the good old days when life was sacrosanct!
click here to see the event with Pictures in Somali language.