By Farid Omar.
In a much anticipated interview that aired on Toronto's Ogaal Radio 88.9FM, Farhia M. Absie recounted the circumstances surrounding her resignation from the Voice of America (VOA) Somali Service to anchor Hassan Abdillahi Omar “Karate.”
Farhia, a renowned Somali journalist and documentary producer, joined the VOA in January 2008 as a contractor working on various assignments but was forced quit on January 27th 2010 over allegations that she was subjected to discrimination, mistreatment, harassment and intimidation at the hands of her immediate boss at the VOA.
In presenting her case to the Somali public and wider society in general, Farhia, who has been at loggerheads with her boss almost right from the beginning, told Toronto's popular Ogaal Radio that the VOA is rife with nepotism, being dominated by an agenda not conducive to the national interest of Somalia.
Farhia is among the Somali nationals who left the country to settle in the west prior to the outbreak of the civil war. On her life in exile, Farhia informed Radio Ogaal that she migrated to the US at a tender age and had obtained both her high school and post secondary education in America.
Having left Somalia at a time when the country enjoyed real statehood and nationalist feelings were abound among the citizenry, Farhia had escaped the ravages of civil strife that has led to social disintegration, divisive politics and the anarchic chaos that has torn apart the Somali social fabric over the last 19 years.
Far removed from the protracted Somali conflict, Farhia grew up in an environment free from communal fragmentation that unfortunately, is the common place in war-torn Somalia. On this note, she told Ogaal Radio that at the VOA's Somali Service, she found herself in an unfamiliar territory and the tension prevalent there eventually prompted her exit from the station.
Prior to joining the VOA, Ogaal Radio detailed Farhia’s impressive academic and career record and more notably, her employment at reputable institutions such as the University Of Washington State in Seattle, WA, and JFS in Columbus Ohio. On record, Farhia holds a joint degree in Information Systems and Human Services and has spent over ten years working in the field of human services. She also holds accredited journalistic credentials both as a writer and documentary producer.
A true social activist, Farhia is not only a long time advocate for social and community development but has also developed a passion for journalism in which she has demonstrated to her peers and the public, her brand of objective and progressive journalism that the Somali people have been yearning for so long.
In the phone-in session that followed the interview, the majority of Ogaal Radio listeners heaped praise on Farhia for her courage and honest assessment of the situation, describing her as a Somali nationalist and a true professional in the service of her community. Since her resignation, Farhia has been overwhelmed by the massive support she has received from the Somali community and the general public, being inundated with countless emails, phones and other forms of correspondence.
Certainly, Farhia’s exit from the VOA does not signal her departure from public limelight. In her concluding remarks, she told Ogaal Radio’s listenership that she is embarking on a documentary production project and would continue to work as a journalist to highlight the challenges facing both Somalia and its Diaspora communities as well as bring to the fore positive developments in the global Somali community. In fostering unity among Somalis, she calls for all concerned to transcend clan divisions.
Farhia represents a glowing example of the hard working, articulate Somali women whose contributions are rarely acknowledged in the community. Her steadfastness for the truth and persistence in calling for soul searching among Somalis speaks volumes of her courage and personality and by extension, the courage and determination of Somali women who on daily basis, work against all odds to support their families, build their communities and strive for a progressive agenda that can chart the way forward for Somalia. She is indeed, a perfect role model worth emulating.