Now usually I don’t do this but uh…Go head’ on and break ’em off wit a lil’ previews of the remix
(800 bonus points if you know this reference)
That was my way of telling you that I’m switching things up with my blog post today, inspired by early 2000’s R&B (AKA THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME). But I digress…what I’m actually here to discuss is an international crisis not even the UN could solve, but somehow, the internet did…
This week, I was scrolling through twitter anticipating more ‘white guy face’ memes and Cheeto Voldemort rants (i refuse to link to his account, both for my sanity & yours), and it was brought to my attention that there is a mass starvation crisis in Somalia. The famine is so severe that around half of the population has no access to food. Livestock are dying, there is a severe drought, and the entire situation was looking so bleak, the UN had this message:
A senior United Nations humanitarian official in Somalia today warned that without a massive and urgent scale up of humanitarian assistance in the coming weeks, famine could soon be a reality in some of the worst drought-affected areas in the African country.
‘This is the time to act to prevent another famine in Somalia,’ said the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq, during the launch of the latest food security and nutrition data in the nation’s capital, Mogadishu. (Source: UN News Center)
Essentially, the UN was admitting that they could not fix the problem on their own, and they desperately needed people worldwide to step up and assist. Luckily for the people of Somalia, social media star Jerome Jarre had a revolutionary idea; he was so empathetic for the people of Somalia when he heard of the problem, and felt such intense frustration that the mass media was ignoring such a huge crisis, that he decided to come up with his own solution. He researched and found that Turkish Airlines is the only commercial airline that regularly flies to Somalia, so he created a hashtag & asked his large social media following to share the hashtag #TurkishAirlinesHelpSomalia.
He made a video which he shared to his large audience on twitter, and asked his fellow social media stars to share the same message, embedded below:
Much to his surprise, the video immediately took off and reached the likes of Ben Stiller and Colin Kaepernick. Within a day, Turkish Airlines heard the mass outpouring of cries for them to aid the cause, and they reached out to Jerome Jarre to inform him that if he could find the funds to fill a plane with food, they would fly a commercial plane to Somalia the following week.
It was then that he shared this updated video:
Feeling inspired yet? I think it’s absolutely incredible what everyday society members have managed to accomplish in the last decade or so with the assistance of social media. Recently, with such a high-stakes, stressful election and tense political environment, it’s easy to feel a loss of control, but happenings like this show the benefits & pure power of globalization…and social media (and it reminds me just why I spent so much time studying social platforms in school, when most people would dismiss it with a “You’re on facebook all day? That’s not working,” snub. *eye rolllll*).
The story only gets better, though. Jerome and his team of online stars (+ Ben Stiller), dubbed, “Love Army”, created a GoFundMe, with the goal of raising 1 million dollars for food…and reached their goal in LESS THAN 24 HOURS. That is incredible! But don’t feel like you’re too late to get involved if you’re interested…Turkish Airlines has promised to continue to fill their commercial flights with food when there is room as long as the food continues to be funded. If you want to donate (I did!) click here: Love Army For Somalia.
I know this isn’t my typical post content, but it strings together so many of my passions that it only felt appropriate to share. With the immense success of this campaign, traditional media has started reporting on the crisis, but still seems reluctant to share. As this campaign originated with everyday people coming together to share the word, I thought I would continue on that path and spread the word to the few followers this little blog reaches.
Thank you to Jerome Jarre for the inspiration; let’s keep up this tradition of love.