Yesterday, on my 12 hour layover at the Moscow airport, I made some new acquaintances. I couldn't pronounce the first name of the young man I chatted with, but his second name is Aaron. He is from Somalia. He and about fifteen other Somalians have been "hostage" in the Moscow airport for just over four months. They came to Russia seeking asylum from direct threats from militant Islam.
Aaron told me they come to your house the first time to get you to join them in their violence. You are expected to kill. Aaron still doesn't understand why brothers of the same religion would kill each other. The second time they come the pressure is more intense and many unwillingly become part of violence. The third time they come, Aaron explains, they don't ask again, they simply cut your throat. That is why he and his peaceful friends fled the country seeking asylum.
Aaron tells me that for the first three weeks a company he only knows as SMF(Canada) provided food for them. Then the food stopped. Apparently Russia has refused them. United Nations talks with them about once every three weeks. No one is listening. No one is helping.
They beg for their daily bread in a place where a small cup of coffee costs seven dollars (U.S.) and no refills. I asked Aaron for their names. He couldn't remember everyone, but he listed the following: Huvun, Aweys, Mownd, Mahamed, Ibrahim, Ismahan, Hamdi, Ubah, Yusuf, ahnad, Mahamed. Real people, real pain and desperate need.
For anyone reading this story I ask two things. One: if you know of any connection with the United Nations or other helping organization, please call. They are located on the second level of the Moscow airport in the transit section. Two: If you know of anyone passing through the transit zone, ask them to look them up. Bring some food and encouragement. At the moment they are in need of aspirin and vitamins as well as food.
In the one picture I am standing beside Aaron just outside a VIP lounge (rather ironic) and the other pictures show their living/sleeping quarters.
I will be travelling back through next Sunday. If you have a word of encouragement, a contact or a stipend of hope, contact me via e-mail I will share it with them.