This year was a sobering one in many respects. As 2011 draws to a close, we look back at some of the most tragic stories GlobalPost's reporters have covered.
People often complain that the only stories out of Africa are those of tragedy, of children dying of war or disease.
While it’s true that stories of hope are sometimes overlooked, or pushed aside amid the rush of bad news, it seems unfair not to cover the tragedies, too. The people who sufferdeserve for their voices to be heard, for their stories to be told.
In Somalia, a massive famine set in this year, and worsened in September. The UN said that hundreds were dying daily, and the more than half of the country’s population needed emergency aid. Many fled to Mogadishu, a dangerous city but one in which people thought they could find some relief.
The tragedy is more complicated than a simple lack of food: aid is tied to terrorism, and politics. But those hit hardest are always the same: children, weakened by malnutrition, who succumb to common diseases before help arrives.
Mental illness remains a stigma worldwide. In many poorer countries, where there are few facilities and even less understanding of the cause and treatment for mental illnesses, those afflicted are often exiled or abused.
In Indonesia, the plight of those with mental illnesses is to be condemned to a life in chains.