Somali Journalists Launch a campaign of Forgiveness in a 2 day Conference in Turku – Finland

TURKU – Finland (Horn Observer) A 2 day Seminar on Forgiveness held in Turku-Finland concluded with the launch of a national forgiveness campaign for Somalia with participants coming from Switzerland, Britain and Djibouti, among them lawmakers.

The conference was opened by Elina Rantanen, Chairwoman of the city Council of Turku, whose town hosted the Conference in the historic Turku Castle has welcomed and praised the importance of this Conference for the current Somalia and promised to support the Conference and the upcoming Forgiveness Campaign.

Through the arrangement of self-designated Somali journalists, the conference was officially organized by Finnish Peace Defenders (Suomen Rauhan puolustajat) with the collaboration of the Somali Association of Western Finland (LSSRY) and Finland- Somalia Association facilitated this Conference. The conference was also supported by Turku city council.

The Executive Director of the Finnish Peace Defenders Committee, Mr. Teemu Matinpuro in his opening remarks called the initiative of forgiveness among Somalis an important Step for Building a better Somalia.

“As we know the political development in Somalia is now in a new face and there is a lot of hope in the new government and new political leadership in the somalia government.” Teemu Matinpuro, Executive Director of Finnish Peace Committee said in his opening remarks, “But i think any change for better in Somalia would need all Somalis whether they are Finnish Somalis or somewhere else in the diaspora or in Somalia.”

“I think in this process of forgiveness after all those years of complicated conflict is the first step for building a better Somalia. Lets hope that this conference would be a staring point of that process” Mr. Matinpuro added.

Wali Hashi, who is one of the founders of the forgiveness program, took the floor, which after greetings told the participants the Forgiveness campaign has been initatied by several journaliss in Finland and Somalia.

“After thorough consultations, we have realized that we as journalists can initiate this very historic program named Forgiveness.” Wali Hashi, a veteran Somali journalists who is one of the founders of this program said, “Through this program we aim to spread the message of forgiveness with practical case studies.”

“We will not stop our forgiveness campaign untill this message reaches every Somali household whether in Somalia or abroad.” Mr. Wali added.

Sagal Kahie, from Länsi-Suomen Somaliseura ry and Yusuf Mubarak from Finland-Somalia Association whose organizations facilited the conference were among the keynote speakers at the opening session of the conference.

The conference had enjoyed as well the participation of Djibouti Lawmaker Mr. Elmi Mouse Hassan, who traveled from very far place on this conference noted that the forgiveness program has high significance provided that journalists are leading the program. Lawmaker Hassan stressed the importance to continue such forgiveness forums and conferences to be organized for the public to share their greivances and conclude their last saying, ‘i forgive you’ making sure that message reaches every Somali, I am sure, every person will burst with tears, as we have seen now, after the little girl spoke.

During the conference, a heart touching documentaries was presented to the participants which best describe Somalia’s long and unresolved problems.
Meanwhile, the most emotional thing during the Conference was question among other question that 11-years old Somali girl asked the participants, question that compelled everyone in the Conference to shed tears. This heart-touching question asked by this girl was ”I am a child, but i can not understand why day in and day out Somali children just like me are killed”.

The conference concluded with the launch of a National Forgiveness campaign in Somalia and encouraged the Journalists who initiated this program to continue their efforts to spread the message of love and forgiveness among the Somalis.