In the early 2000s and even before Somalia was a warzone. The events which took place in the ’90s which caused such unrest were fictionalized in another film called Blackhawk Down. Ifrah Ahmed was a teen in 2006 who had escaped a husband who was 35 years her senior to whom she had been married off by her grandmother. She returned home to Mogadishu, only to find herself in the middle of an ongoing war.
The Girl From Mogadishu is based on the true-life journey that Ifrah Ahmed took from Somalia to Ireland in order to escape the terrible conflict which plagued her country. She was originally supposed to go to Minnesota to live with her aunt, but as escaping a place for dear life usually entails, things didn’t go as planned. This includes nearly being pawned off to a human trafficking ring. When she reaches Ireland and takes a medical examination, she feels shame for the looks the doctors give her during the process. Ifrah (played in the film by Aja Naomi King), like many African girls, had been subjected to FMG (Female Genital Mutilation) as a child. Ifrah takes her anger towards her situation and uses it for good. She has been working to help asylum seekers around the world and to help stop the horrible practice of FMG.
“…but as escaping a place for dear life usually entails, things didn’t go as planned.”
Despite the horror of the events in the film, The Girl From Mogadishu has beautiful cinematography, courtesy of Michael Lavelle. The spirit of hope that lives in Ahmed imbues the film and comes through in King’s performance. Barkhad Abdi is also great and very convincing as one of the traffickers, Hassan, who assists in getting Ifrah to safety. Overall, I think this film is very important in further showing light on the dangers of human trafficking and FGM and how we, as mostly privileged Westerners, should be doing more to help the helpless. The Girl From Mogadishu is as heartwarming as it is heartbreaking, just to know that little girls are being treated in such horrifying ways. It’s wonderful to know that survivors such as Ifrah Ahmed are out there working to change the cruelty of our world. A lot of us need to be more aware of what’s happening beyond our borders, and a viewing of The Girl From Mogadishu will certainly open your eyes and heart to the plight of these poor children. It’s an important film from a humanitarian perspective, and I’m glad that writer/director Mary McGuckian took the time to tell Ifrah’s truth so that we can all be made more aware of the world in which we live.
The Girl From Mogadishu (2019) Written and Directed by Mary McGucukian. Starring Aja Naomi King, Barkhad Abdi, Martha Canga Antonio, Luke Spencer Roberts, Orla Brady, Maryam Mursal, Stanley Townsend, Pauline McLynn.
7 out of 10 stars
"…"...survivors such as Ifrah Ahmed are out there working to change the cruelty of our world.” "