Mogadishu, Somalia: The City the World Forgot

You may recall the controversial movie Black Hawk Down by Ridley Scott, which featured the task force of Delta Force soldiers, Army Rangers, and Special Operations Aviation Regiment in an attempt to capture two of Mohammed Farah Aidid’s senior subordinates in the Bakaara Market neighborhood of Mogadishu in the early 1990’s. More recently, you may recall the Somalian piriate drama. In reality, Mogadishu has fallen off the world’s radar, even though it is considered to be a state that is near total collapse.


It’s a odd world when we get most of our information of this ravaged country and city through the likes of a grandiose big blockbuster Hollywood movie like Black Hawk Down and South Park, who recently aired an episode poking fun at the recent wave of Somalian pirate news.

In an incredible glimpse into the current conflicts ravaging Mogadishu, Somalia, journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad recounts his one week experience within the war-torn city.

He tells the story of Dr. Taher Mahmoud, a surgeon who has been working within the city for the past twenty years. Mogadishu has been brutally ravaged by running battled between the current notional president, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and his forces and the radical Islamist Al-Shabaab Militia. In the past few days, over 200 have been killed and over 60,000 have fled.

With medicines and supplies running low, there is also no room in his hospital. Many patients are forced to sleep under trees on makeshift beds. Ghaith tells us of a mother looking after her child with terrible burns. She says “We pray for peace – we have nothing but prayers. This is the best hospital in Mogadishu and we don’t have electricity or running water.”

These people live on a tightrope. Al Hassan, a police officer within the city, says “When the whole state is collapsing all that we have is our religion.” He has not been paid in the last 18 months and he says a good month for him is when he receives some wheat, water and canned food.

In a land that has only known conflict and war, a Ugandan officer in the presidential compound gave his view of the whole picture. “Look. The best thing the Somalis know how to do is to kill other Somalis.”

Mogadishu is a place that offers little hope, but there are still people who believe that things can change. The resilience of the Somalian people is incredible. They can survive in a city with a near absence of a viable economy. A young government employee explained that “Somalis have a very strong social support network. If you work with the government or in the market you support at least 10 people of your family, and your neighbors. The people who live outside [the country] send money, and if there is a rich Somali and he doesn’t support the poor, he will be despised, and no one would marry his daughters.”

These are the stories we should be reading about. These are the real people of this world and they barely register a blip on the world’s radar. I think this article is incredible and I hope you take the time to read it here.

Check out Boston Globe’s photo montage of the conflicts here.

The Sky’s the Limit

Hello everyone!

I have good news and bad news. I will not be posting on Rhyme Culture any longer. That was the heartbreaking sad news and now onto the happy news. I will be a contributor to one of Canada’s best blogs, so switch your gears and start following! Also, follow me on my twitter at Jlovebomb and the CityofSkies twitter which is just CityofSkies.

Thanks everyone for some good times, but there will be plenty more to come over at!

Much Love,

Check out our new WaterDrop Video for!

WaterDrop: Introduction to the Global Water Crisis from Doug van Spronsen on Vimeo.

Home is Where the Wild Things Are

Voltaire (1694 – 1778), a prolific french Enlightenment writer, once alluded that great minds think a like. Well, let me tell you, great minds are coming together and hopefully they all think alike.

First of all, let me tell you about Maurice Sendak, the writer of one of my favorite books from childhood (and to be honest, probably right now too). He wrote “Where the Wild Things Are.” If you don’t know what the book is about or didn’t have it as a kid, than I pity you, for you did not live a full, well-rounded childhood.


Maurice Sedak

Maurice was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1928 and his most famous work is Where the Wild Things Are, which was first published in 1963. The illustrations have caused some controversy here and there throughout the times due to the seemingly grotesque appearance of the monsters. I first read the book when I was 7 years old. I got the book along with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and Cloudy, With a Chance of Meatballs. These three books are the Lord of the Rings of children’s books. Get them and read them now.

Any ways, the moment I heard that they were making a movie of Where the Wild Things Are I was immediately cautious and a little angry. How dare they take a classic children’s book that basically shaped who I am today and make it into a 90-minute movie? I got over it as soon as Spike Jonze (one of my favorite directors) is directing it with assistance from a script by Dave Eggers (one of my favorite writers). It doesn’t stop there, Karen O, the lead singer of the art rock band Yeah Yeah Yeah’s is penning a song and some of the soundtrack for the movie.

Dave Eggers

Dave Eggers wrote one of my favorite books, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. The book won a Pulitzer Prize. The book is very much what I call a psuedo autobiography. You can’t tell what’s true or real, but it’s a look into the life of an early 20-something forced to raise his younger brother due to the deaths of his parents when society seemed to value the yuppy, young “successful” lifestyle. Egger’s writing is both humorous and introspective with a touch of candid authenticity.   


Spike Jonze got his start making commercials and music videos. He has also lended his acting chops in a few movies, including a prominent role in the highly underrated movie Three Kings. He directed Being John Malkovich and Adaptation. One of his best music videos is Praise You by Fatboy Slim. He makes a cameo appearance as “random” dancer in the music video.

Just look at these titans of their perspective industries come together to work on a national treasure. The hype is immeasurable, as it should be. The perfect storm of talent. My expectations are high as you can see, but even if it’s a serious letdown, I still have the book to go back to and I’m never too old for that.

Just look at the following photos. You cannot tell me that this isn’t going to be the best thing since the rubberband. You can believe that I will be there on opening night, maybe in my Where the Wild Things Are PJ’s.



I’ve dropped the ball and for that I apologize

Life’s been crazy as of late, but I will pick up the ball and run with it once again.

For now, I have two recommendations:

Go see Slumdog Millionaire.

Listen to Mates of States’ newest album: Re-Animator

All good things melt away

I came across this work through a friend. The photographer’s name is Kotama Boubane and hails from Toronto. Kotama has a couple collections of work that I’m a fan of, one involving melting ice words in various settings and a collection of pictures involving chalkboards. I’ve always been a fan of simple photographs of the same thing, but in different settings. Here is one of his pictures from the Melting Words collection.

Check out Kotama’s site here. The work is creative and simple. I think Kotoma is relatively unknown because I couldn’t find anything when I did a search.

Darth Palin?

I watched the acceptance speech by Obama last night (yes, I can!) and the concession speech by McCain. Both speeches were great in my opinion and I wish both candidates were this candid prior to the election. Any ways, that is beside the point. Now onto the real news.

I did catch one phrase that John McCain said in his speech that caught my attention.

We can all look forward with great interest to her future service in Alaska, the Republican Party and our country – McCain to Gov. Sarah Palin

I could not help but notice that this is very similar to another quote by an elderly senator to a rapidly rising and unknown young buck.

We will watch your career with great interest

Some of you will get this right away, for others who are not as well-versed in the Star Wars galaxy as I am (my one and only nerdy vice), I’ll tell you. Palpatine said it to eight-year-old Anakin Skywalker at a celebration just as he destroyed a Trade Federation Droid Ship.

McCain and Palpatine. Both are senators. Both are really old. Both have awkward smiles. Both are a part of a government that the majority are unhappy with (Galactic Senate and Republican Party). Both can shoot electricity out of their fingers.

Anakin and Palin. Both have “in” their names. Both were complete unknowns until something thrust them into the spotlight. Both have future careers within a political landscape. Both are from desolate, backwards places that lack a population of females (Tatooine and Alaska). Both are considered young and dynamic.

Uncanny? I believe so. I’ll tell you one thing. I’m going to re-watch all six Star Wars movies right now. After 13 hours of Star Wars, I’ll know more about the future of politics than anyone in America.

“Cut through the pork, young Palin.”


Trinity Western University Magazine’s article on WaterDrop

WaterDrop has recently been featured in an article in Trinity Western University Magazine. You can check out the article here. Thanks to everyone at TWU Magazine for helping us get the word out!

How much does a criminal record cost? $46.07.

Lindsey Evans, this year’s Miss Louisiana Teen USA, was arrested along with three other friends for skipping out on a $46.07 restaurant bill.

Lindsey Evans  From Beauty Queen to Criminal Mastermind.

Now her mugshot is all over the Internet. The 18-year-old beauty queen was arrested this past Saturday and was not only charged with theft, but also marijuana possession…which was later found in her purse…that she left back at the restaurant.

Poor girl, she won’t be remembered for the swimsuit contest or her flute playing talents, but the fact that she decided not to pay a $46.06 bill. Look what happens when you don’t pay for your food, you get a mugshot on the internet and a spot on “the World’s Dumbest Criminals” on Spike TV.

Read the story and see the mugshot here. I can’t believe I blogged about this, but it’s just too ridiculous to pass up.

Wild about Wilde

I just recently saw a documentary concert movie called Largo at the Vancouver Film Festival (which everyone should go see) and I came across an artist named Autumn de Wilde who did the photography for a montage at the end of the film. I commenced to investigate further.

She has done a lot of of her most recognizable work doing album covers for artists like Beck and the White Stripes and some magazine covers, but she is a multi-talented dynamo with work ranging from documentaries, graphic design, photography and fashion shoots. Take a peek at some of her work.

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