04 Oct AGONY AND SUFFERING OF DJIBOUTIANS
It is easy to choose neutrality towards a State’s oppressive power that doesn’t affect our lives directly when you know little about the struggle and suffering of the oppressed. Neutrality is not just benign indifference – it is ignorance, it is silence, it is acceptance of the injustice suffered by the marginalized, vulnerable and the victimized at the hands of an oppressor.
Before knowing about our movement- what we do and why we do it – to restore and revive the Republic of Djibouti, we encourage you to see the world through the eyes of Djiboutians and to feel their fear, loss and deprivation with a heart full of empathy.
As a sub-tropical desert, Djibouti has a hot and arid climate. The capital, Djibouti city, is one of the warmest and driest cities in the world. Little to no precipitation, averaging to only five days of rain in its wettest month (November) brings no respite from the soaring temperatures of the country which may go up to 46°C in mid-summer. Unsurprisingly, Djibouti is vulnerable to droughts; at the same time, the people of Djibouti also suffer from flash flooding, a common phenomenon there, caused by cyclonic activity in the Indian Ocean.
In addition to relentless climatic challenges, parts of the country are also susceptible to seismic and volcanic activity. Living near active and extinct volcanoes add to the vulnerability of the people of Djibouti who live under constant threat of Ardoukoba fissure volcano vents in Djibouti.
Failed by the System
Nearly three-quarters of the land in Djibouti is allocated to agricultural use, however only less than 1000 square kilometers of that land is actually arable (0.04% of its total land area). With an average annual rainfall of only 130 millimeters and no substantive provisions made by the government to irrigate land, has not only led Djibouti to being one of the most water scarce countries in the world but also dependent on food imports to meet the country’s needs.
Despite a stable GDP growth rate of 7%, the population of Djibouti is faced with many economic challenges, particularly unemployment and poverty. There are 50% unemployed persons and 70% of the people are poor in Djibouti.
The economy of Djibouti, as a direct result of its geo-strategic location, is driven by the income derived from a state-of-the-art port complex and from hosting several important foreign military bases (including those of the U.S., France, Japan and China). Despite several positive economic indicators like a robust GDP growth, surging private consumption and investment as well as strong exports of services, the population of Djibouti draws little benefit from it, the maximum of them living beneath the poverty line.
Limited industrial and agricultural scope for Djiboutians along with complete dependency on imports to meet their food needs has entrapped them in an inescapable reliance on foreign markets. This makes the people of Djibouti more vulnerable to global market downturns and price hikes within the country, ushering them mercilessly towards poverty, hunger, malnutrition and diseases.
In addition, a heightened threat of terrorist attack looms large over the population of Djibouti. The increasing international interest within Djibouti makes it a vulnerable target to terrorist activities. A terrorist organization named, Al Shabaab are known to make public threats to Djibouti. In May 2014, they claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a restaurant in the capital city, Djibouti which injured several foreign nationals.