ReslaWesonga

Students and faculty members gathered Monday on Cross Campus for a vigil to commemorate the victims of Saturday’s deadly terrorist attack in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

During the vigil, which was organized by the Yale African Students Association, or YASA, and held around the Women’s Table on Cross Campus, candles were lit in memory of those who died and to show support for those who were affected by the terrorist attack. According to Tsedenya Simmie ’19, the president of YASA, Somalia witnessed its deadliest terror attack in history on Saturday, Oct. 14, when a truck filled with explosives detonated a bomb at the Zoobe Junction, a busy urban area home to many shops, hotels and offices.

“It is with a heavy heart that we assemble here tonight in the memory of those whose lives were lost, as well as those affected by the attack in Mogadishu,” Simmie said in a speech during the vigil. “This candlelight vigil is, by our intention, a remembrance of the lives taken and of the heartbreak many feel. Indeed, there is sadness and grief at all this loss.”

The death toll in Mogadishu had reached 320 as of Monday morning, Simmie said, adding that over 300 more people were reported injured. On Sunday, the Somali president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, declared three days of national mourning.

In her speech, Simmie stressed that people must strive to “take another’s hand, lift another’s burden and acknowledge another’s heart.”

After her speech, Simmie requested a moment of silence for those who lost their lives and proceeded to ask attendees to share their thoughts on the tragedy.

Addressing attendees, Associate Vice President of Student Engagement at Yale Burgwell Howard said that the vigil is testament to the Yale community’s “generosity of spirit” in times of struggle.

“This has been a very difficult semester for those of us thinking outside of the Yale bubble, whether it’s being affected by natural disaster or manmade disaster,” Howard said. “We recognize it has taken a toll on everyone in different ways.”

Howard added that it is uplifting to see the efforts of students and faculty and staff members as they reach out to one another and share their thoughts.

Quoting Director of the Afro-American Cultural Center Risë Nelson, Simmie stressed that caring for oneself while also caring for the community can be the most radical act of self-love, solidarity and success.

Mbella Beseka ’20, who attended the vigil, told the News that all the candles being lifted at the vigil were evidence of a “community that is willing to hold each other up.” In times of tragedy, Beseka added, it is important to remember that “we are here with those around us, who can hold us when we’re broken down.”

“I have friends whose families have been affected, and being so far away from home it’s hard to feel like you’re doing something,” said Resla Wesonga ’19, a member of YASA who was at the vigil. “But it’s good [that] as YASA we have been able to organize this. I’m happy that people showed up for support.”

Jever Mariwala | jever.mariwala@yale.edu