May 15, 2013

Mariane Pearl retells the story of Binti Omar Ga’al, a human being with an unbelievable resilience in front of adversity

Mariane Pearl

Mariane Pearl – wife of journalist Daniel Pearl, kidnapped and assassinated in Pakistan – Managing Editor Chime for Change, casts a renewed light onto the story of Somali artist Binti Omar Ga’al.

Binti Omar Ga’al

Binti Omar Ga’al has overcome her mother’s opposition. She thought that singing in public was taboo, stopped her from going to school, shaved off her hair and chained her at home. She became famous and bought her family a big house. Her father hoped that his daughter’s fame could earn him a name, while her mother continued to fight it straight on and demanded for a divorce. Then, following orders from the presidential family, she was sent to jail. Her father left the house she had made for them saying he wanted nothing earned from singing. She supported, together with other artists, the fall of the dictatorial regime. During the civil war that followed, in the militias’ chaos, she got 13 gunshot wounds and received the medical care of someone who hasn’t bribed to been made an effort for. When the Islamists came to power, any singer could not be seen as Muslim, and need to be killed. Now, she sings, discreetly, where she is allowed to and chews khat to forget the past. ’’Good singers must always express the feelings of the people.’’

Pearl remembers the words of writer Maya Angelou – ’’The bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.’’

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Photo sources: Mariane Pearl, Chime for Change