The Somali diaspora fights back

The Somalia diaspora has set out to fight terrorism with resiliency and images of solidarity via a social media campaign called 252pins.

In the wake of the deadliest terror attack in Somali history, Somali-Canadian activist Khalid Hashi has teamed up with two of his cousins, Mohamed Sahid and Naemo Khalif, to design, create and sell solidarity pins on Instagram to support Aamin Ambulance Service.

As stated on its Twitter profile, Aamin Ambulance “is the first and only free ambulance service in Mogadishu,” founded in 2008 by Dr. Abdulkadir Aden.

After speaking with Iman Abdulmajid, former supermodel and wife of the late David Bowie, Hashi was able to secure a donation and get the word out about the cause, raising $1,000 in the first 12 hours of the campaign. Instagram proved to be a strong platform to unite the diaspora and shed light on the horrific terrorist attack which Hashi says, “nobody was talking about.”

The truck bomb was the deadliest terror attack in Somali’s history and nobody was talking about it! Due to the lack of global solidarity, we just wanted the world to know that we aren’t turning our backs on Somalia.

Shortly after the terrorist attack on Oct. 14, Hashi reached out to Sahid, a “talented creative director,” and asked, “What can we do to help?” Since that initial question, 252pins has raised $4,000 through donations and pin purchases. The campaign has expressed the importance of positive representation and has made the conscious effort to headline the cause with positive and uplifting images of Somalia, rather than bloodshed and terror.

The 252pins campaign has been using strong social media marketing techniques such as posting the usernames of donors to encourage community involvement, and publicly thanking donors on their Instagram story. Their Instagram page has since acquired over 500 followers and has over 200 posting, consisting of positive images of resilient Somali protestors, the process of rebuilding damaged buildings, and donation updates.

The organizers have stated that they “intentionally avoided working with politicians and government officials.”

Hashi and his team have favoured the straight-to-the-source method and are working directly with the founder of Aamin Ambulance.

I also speak with Dr. Abdulkadir Adan, founder and director of Aamin Ambulance at least once a day on the progress of this campaign.

The Somali civil war, induced by tribalism in the early 1990s, has since created a unique juxtaposition of first-generation Somali youth and young adults who fight tirelessly and passionately for a country they were robbed of fully knowing. Hashi is no different. His drive for a new Somalia is no different.

I will never forget watching a video of my father speaking at an inauguration of a new college [in Somalia] and hearing a bomb go off in the background. He remained calm and said, “Somalia Hanoolaato, we will prevail”. That was the moment I realized that Somalia is greater than all of us and we all have a role in contributing to our motherland.

It has become uncomfortably common for the world to ignore the struggles of predominately Muslim and African countries. No flags have been lowered, no moments of silence had, no public outcry for the victims, yet Hashi remains hopeful that the Somali diaspora will continue to fight for its motherland even if the rest of the world won’t.

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