Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Alarming news from East Africa...

Violence in Somalia has forced thousands of people to leave their homes, and many of them have turned to fleeing across the ocean to Yemen. Unfortunately, the journey is dangerous, but its probably safer than waiting around in battle-scarred Mogadishu.

This is from the BBC:

"The United Nations refugee agency says there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people crossing the Gulf of Aden in smugglers' boats. The UNHCR said almost 9,000 people, most of them Somalis, arrived in Yemen's coastal waters in the first two months of this year.

That is three times as many as during the same period last year, the organisation said in a statement.

At least 113 people died and a further 200 are missing, presumed drowned.

Those making the crossing were crammed into 182 boats, the Geneva-based UNHCR said."


Anonymous said...


I don't mean to diminish the seriousness of the situation, but I'm curious if you or anyone know of any Somali restaurants on the South Bay/Peninsula. I've been wanting to try it for a long time, and had been planning on going out for Ethiopian food in the next week. It would be a nice change, although I would still prefer Somali food with an Ethiopian influence (injera, etc.), which I've read is one of the standard styles.

I think this is more serious than it might seem at first glance since no doubt many immigrants in the U.S. send money back to their relatives. Helping the Somali community here financially would certainly give them greater ability to help those in Somalia. Also, exposing ourselves to even small aspects of their culture would help make them seem more "real" and their problems something that we should be concerned with.

I always feel that when I go out for Ethiopian food that I might be making even a very small contribution to another country in the region that has been through a lot. And since it's my favorite food, I'm always looking for any excuse.

C.H. said...

I have not discovered any Somali restaurants in the SF area, but There are a number of Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurants though...just google Ethiopian restaurants in San francisco and you'll get a pretty long list, although, you've probably done that. If you were are ever in Seattle, I know there are a number of Somali restaurants...there was a guy I met when I visited a mosque in SF who told me about it, I actually didn't know that that area had such a large Somali immigrant population.

Getting to experience other cultures is one of the most amaing things to do. I noticed an Afghan restaurant in SF last time I went there, and I'm thinking about trying it sometime.

C.H. said...

Sorry, that should have been "amazing"

late night typo LOL

Anonymous said...


I know of two Afghan restaurants--one in Sunnyvale and one in San Carlos. Both are named "Kabul" yet they are not currently connected. The story that I heard is that they are owned by relatives (brothers, cousins?) however there is now bad blood. Inside the Sunnyvale one is a sign stating something to the effect "we are not related to any other restaurants".

I understand they are comparable in quality. I've only been to the Sunnyvale one and I recommend it highly. The food is sort of between Middle Eastern and Indian (which I guess makes sense).

If you've never had Malaysian food--and like Indian and Thai--you might try it as well. Again, it has big contributions from both cuisines. Avoid anything with the word "Durian".

Actually, I'm sure one way to look at it is as a continuum of sorts between all of the different cultures in the Old World.

I understand that Somali restaurants often have Samosas (appetizers, same as India). This is because of trade between the two regions.

The Ethiopian restaurant I always go to is Zeni, which is either in San Jose or Campbell (I'm not sure).

Anonymous said...


Today is International Women's Day. There's a big story on CNN about the plight of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo you may find interesting:

C.H. said...

I've read up on that...its unbelievable. There was a report released earlier this year that over 5 million people have died in that conflict, which makes it the worst human tragedy since WWII.

Anonymous said...

I was kind of blown away when I heard what was happening down there. And what's strange is that relatively few Americans are aware of it. I think it's partly racism, and partly--I don't know what you would call it: EuroAmerican centricism or something. I also don't think people would care much if it happened in China or even Georgia, but if it were in Belgium things would be a lot different. The attitude in the world is definitely that some people are worth more than others.

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