U.S. Official goes to Somalia
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer visited Somalia this week, only six days after a weak cease fire was enacted. Violence once again erupted in the country while the interim government still struggles for control. The area has been plagued with unrest and violence since the toppling of their government in 1992.
The AP picked up on this story, the version written by Salad Duhul appearing in many American papers. Al Jazeera also reported on the story with an article on their website.
The AP version uses the U.S.-centric view--the news is that our official visited there. The recent events are background information. They also give background on U.S. involvement in the past--referring to the Black Hawk helicopter incident. This makes sense as the audience for this piece is an American one, and they would be most concerned about U.S. interests. The article also links Somalia with terrorism, condemning the violence because it provides an atmosphere where terrorism can thrive.
The Al Jazeera version focuses more on placing this issue in the world context. They focus on the official saying that she wants to raise the consciousness of this issue in the world as a whole. There is no mention of U.S. involvement. They also picked up on the terrorist angle, though not spending as much time on it. Instead, they included fears about war crimes by the Ethiopian and Somali governments. Both regimes are supported by the U.S. They ended with a few paragraphs about a reconciliation conference.
I found it helpful to read both of these articles. The AP version was too U.S. centric and I missed out on some of the related issues, like the war crimes issue and the reconciliation conference. The Al Jazeera article didn’t make it clear why this official in this country was such a big deal, why it was newsworthy.