In a part of the world where I have never traveled, inside a walled compound surrounded by machine gun carrying troops, is my new hero. She is a radio announcer and daily faces threats to her life to do her job as a journalist. Her name is Sagel Siad and the only picture I have seen of her shows a woman in an orange hijab with dark brown eyes that radiate personality and sass. She seems to embody true feminism in living out her beliefs of “social, political and economic equality“.
Sagel is a radio broadcaster at Radio Mogadishu in Somalia‘s capital. Somalia has had over twenty years of civil war and unrest and a group called al-Shabaab made up of Islamic insurgents is not happy with Radio Mogadishu, threatening anyone with ties to the station. I can’t imagine that Somalia is an easy place to live, much less work as a female journalist, but my new hero does just that and sounds on the air like she does it well. Her clear voice resonates as she begins the afternoon segment with “Bismillah rahman ir rahim” (In the name of God, the most Gracious, most Compassionate) moving on to her story of the day, which inevitably will include news on violence in the area.
This is amazing. To get up everyday and know you are risking your life is so far from my reality and comprehension that it doesn’t make much of a dent in my brain. Hearing a story like Sagel’s and connecting a face and voice with this story makes the courage of her life and work come alive.
Once more I am struck by ordinary people in this part of the world, doing extraordinary things. Things like working as a woman broadcaster, even when it means death threats and armed guards around your place of work, and I realize that when I grow up, I want to be as brave as Sagel Siad.
- Al shabaab refuses aid agencies to help the needy Somalis (zakiraah.wordpress.com)
- AP: 53 peacekeepers killed in Somalia offensive (seattletimes.nwsource.com)