Group hosts concert for crisis


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Photo by Marielle Balisalisa |

Dan Christopher performs yesterday at "OXFEST '08 Rock 4 Somalia," a benefit concert to aid the humanitarian crisis in the country.


"OXFEST '08 Rock 4 Somalia," a benefit concert featuring live performances from local bands and spoken word artists and presented by Rutgers Oxfam, attracted more than 100 students and raised more than $600 last night at the Rutgers Student Center on the College Avenue campus.

Rutgers Oxfam, a humanitarian group, organized the event to raise money and to bring awareness to the student body about the crisis in Somalia, said the organization's president Parisa Kharazi, a Rutgers College sophomore.

"Students should care about what happens in other countries because essentially we, as American college students, will be affected in the future," Kharazi said. "The money raised from tonight's event will go toward aiding children in Somalia, whether it be from providing medication, food and vaccinations to starting schools and educating Somali children."

She said donators can help these children by giving them the opportunity to have an education and a healthy life.

"I believe that our generation is the generation to make change in this world, and events such as these will get students more aware and involved in improving the future," Kharazi said.

One hundred percent of the donations and money raised from the $5 entrance fee went toward UNICEF's Humanitarian Relief for Somalia, said Crisis Relief co-chair Rachel Shevick, a Livingston College senior.

"That money specifically targets the helping of children and health issues, specifically malnutrition, so the money will be going toward foods and different medicines to help combat malnutrition," she said. "Unfortunately, Somalia is nicknamed 'the forgotten crisis,' and Rutgers students are very multicultural and very sympathetic toward world situations."

Artists such as JustUs League, MV. DANJ, The Command Radio and soloist Adam Kaluzshner performed with an intermission in between for speakers to explain the dire humanitarian situation in Somalia to the crowd.

"I am a member of Amnesty International, and I try to get involved with as many benefit events as possible," said Ryan Egan, a member of The Radio Command. "A lot of times I get the other band members into a cause, we are a pretty educated group of people so we try to do what's right."

The Radio Command performed all of their original songs and covered Jimi Hendrix's "Fire."

School of Arts and Sciences first-year student Dalmar Mohamod who attended the event said he is connected to the Somalian people through of his parents, who fled Somalia due to the civil war there in the late 1980s.

"We need more Somali students who are educated through the Western system who can get good jobs [and] who can financially and intellectually give back to our country because right now there is a lack of resources, education, health care, and it's due to the fact that we don't have professionals," he said.

Mohamod gave $30, donating more than most, to help his ancestral country.

"I have a sense of pride coming here," he said. "It blows my mind how we, as Westerners, can forget about the Third World people. We have so many privileges compared to people from Somalia, for example."


Pablo Albilal

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