Journalist goes to Somalia, Omar’s homeland, to prove it’s safe and beautiful, is murdered by terrorists

(FILE PHOTOS by Getty)

Last year, a Somalian immigrant whose family had resettled in Canada when she was a child in the mid 1980s returned “home” to Somalia specifically to document the country’s “fun” and “beauty.”

A well-recognized journalist and media executive, Hodan Nalayeh had sought to share uplifting stories from her “home” and “change the narrative about her country,” according to NBC News.

Ever since the onset of the still-ongoing Somalia Civil War, the African nation has been beset by rampant terrorism, to the point that it’s become one of the “most dangerous countries in the world.” Nalayeh reportedly wanted to change this perception.

“She wanted to do stories on Somalia, positive stories, and wanted people to see the positive side of Somalia other than negative stories you hear in the mainstream media,” her British-Somali friend, Sadiyo Siad, said to NBC.

The journalist’s recent social media posts demonstrate how she used beautiful photos and positive commentary to carry out this mission:

“She spent her life devoted to serving the Somali people and reporting on positive, uplifting stories,” her family said in a recent Facebook statement. “Her dedicated mission was to spread light and love to the Somali world through her work in journalism.”

The statement was posted through her Facebook account last Saturday … a day after Nalayeh was murdered during a terrorist attack committed by Al-Shabaab.

“She was among 26 people killed by al-Shabab militants in Kismayo on Friday,” the BBC confirmed this week. “Nalayeh, who was nine months pregnant, and her husband were killed when the gunmen stormed a hotel where regional politicians and clan elders were discussing forthcoming regional elections.”

“Nalayeh has been credited with showing a different side to Somalia to the stories of civil war, militancy and famine,” the outlet added.

Yes, an arguably fraudulent side …

“She understood, as every good storyteller does, that the little moments in life matter just as much as the big ones,” Somali writer Asad Hussein said to The Washington Post in defense of her work. “Hodan noticed the people bathing in the ocean, the orchards in the courtyards, and the radiance of the setting sun, and she knew those were stories, too.”

But while well-intentioned, Nalayeh’s seemingly one-sided activist journalism hid the crude but inexorable realities of life in Somalia, where 73 percent of the population lives in abject poverty, where the average man or woman lives to only 51 years of age and where the youth unemployment rate is 67 percent, according to data from the United Nations’ World Food Programme that was released only four years ago.

Tragically, her death now serves as a stark reminder of this reality that she’d willfully chose to ignore. It also seems to serve as a reminder of why Somalia immigrants — be they immigrants to Canada or immigrants to the states — ought to be grateful for the chance to start afresh in the West. Not that Nalayeh hadn’t been grateful. But another well-known Somali immigrant, anti-Semitic Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, certainly hasn’t.

“Omar ought to be grateful that she lives in a country which protects her rights, which gives her prosperity, which gives her a structure of life — unimaginable in Mogadishu,” House Speaker Newt Gingrich opined this week in response to the ongoing controversy surrounding the congresswoman’s consistently anti-American statements and attitude. “And instead, she has contempt for the country which she’s been living in.”

It’s a contempt she’s housed within her soul since the day she stepped foot in the U.S. Speaking on a left-wing podcast last December, Omar described the disappointment she’d felt when her family arrived in the states back in 1992.

“I saw panhandlers on the side of the streets, there being trash everywhere, and graffiti on the side of the walls,” she complained. “I remember turning to my father and saying, ‘Well, this doesn’t look like the America you promised!”

But couldn’t the same be said of the Somalia that Nalayeh had begun portraying after she returned “home” last year? Except whereas Omar’s complaints pertained to the sort of realities you can see in any metropolitan on Earth — homeless people, litter, graffiti — the factors that make Somali a veritable hellhole are unique to only certain countries on Earth.

While Nalayeh made a concerted effort to hide it, this is the reality of life in Somalia:


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Vivek Saxena


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