Rotating Banner

Web Hosting
Main Page
Banadir Star
Latest News
BBC Somali


Mogadishu Links
Somalia (60 - 69)
Somali Links
Chat Room

Topic of the week
Djibouti Conference

Search BBC News




Toronto (Canada)
8 April. 2002

M. M. Afrah

The Somalis are saddled with a string of catastrophes. They are pulled apart and to all sides like a morsel of meat thrown to starving wolves. Thousands of amputees, hundreds of thousands lay under shallow graves, thousands more destitute bent double by hunger and disease, and yet hundreds of thousands more have fled the country to seek refuge elsewhere. Many believe that the tribal or clan elders could have intervened with their respective followers and stopped the bloodshed soon after the ouster of the military regime in 1991. Nevertheless, the general consensus is that the tribalist preferred the gun to political stability in Somalia. He turned tribalism into a bizarre art, a deadly game of killing, raping, looting, arson and the misappropriation of other people's real estates and large tracts of farmland in Somalia's traditional bread basket between the two rivers, Juba and Shabelleh.

This was the end result of tribalism that put our hopes for peace in a deep freezer.


Tribalism is delirium, a mental illness, and a brain always in vortex. A tribalist never knows any peace. He is so debased he always thinks evil thoughts, always plans unprovoked violence. Yet, even as he kills innocent people and hurls vulgar words and deadly weapons - he claims to be nobler than you.

He does not know that by dehumanizing other tribes or clans he has dehumanized himself also. If tribalism is in man's genes, what would explain such great human beings as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and countless other great human beings? What unites these people is not ideology or tribalism but rare intellect, integrity, humility, compassion, honesty, active commitment to purging people of the hatred that consumes them. They rejected all forms of hate because hate is irrational feeling that breeds more hatred. Only those with no argument tend to shout louder and shoot unarmed civilians, just to prove their manhood to their own clan. "Waa geesi soo ma jeesta ah," his clan would exclaim. It is truly cowardly. Moral courage allows one to reason instead of hurling pejoratives to the silent and suffering majority or those who try to defend them.


Let us look at three different world events. First, there is Afghanistan. We cannot in all probability believe that all those bombs fell on military targets. The second objective was a failure. According to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, not even one strand of Osama bin Laden's hair was touched. General Musharraf told an Al-Jazeera TV reporter that the elusive head of Al-Qaeda is still very much alive and kicking somewhere in Afghanistan with his wives and children.

Then there is the Middle East. The Arab World and the rest of the world stood by with folded hands while Israeli tanks and missiles maim innocent people, including foreign journalists who were covering the carnage. Perhaps the world is waiting for manna to fall from the sky to help the Palestinians and Israelis to settle their differences. Reports are that Israel has almost entirely dismantled the Palestinian Authority and occupied territories that was by agreement ceded to the Palestinians.

Isolating Yassir Arafat in his basement would not solve the problem either. Rather it would escalate the suicide bombings. There's no reason why the Israelis and the Palestinians should not co-exist as independent states, free from terror. Mr. Sharon and Mr. Arafat, over to you.

The third example is how the American media made inappropriate amounts of noise about Somalia's link with Al-Qaeda terrorist network. The same media kept its distance and banned its media from factually reporting homegrown terrorists destroying the once beautiful Somalia and massacring innocent civilians in the process. In short, the world press ignored everything and everybody unless sanctioned by the United States and its British ally. An example is George Bush senior's Operation Restore Hope. As soon as the American soldiers stormed the beaches of Mogadishu, Somalia automatically became front-page stories and prime time TV coverage and commentaries that was dubbed as "The Big Profile." More than 1,500 journalists from Western media, including image conscious CNN covered the "Big Profile." But as soon as the Yankees pulled out, Somalia remained a decibel question mark, a non-existent country, decimated country. As a matter of fact the name itself became an insult, only to resurface again. This time it was linked with Osama bin Laden and George Bush junior's global war against terrorists. It really bugs me why Somalia, of all countries, was singled out, because as you and I know very well that none of the terrorists who committed the heinous acts against the United States was a Somali national. And as far as I know no Somali national joined the Talibans or the Al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world. On the contrary, there are American, Australian and British Talibans with direct link to Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network. The truth is that NO Somali worth his camel milk would ever fight other peoples' wars in the name of religion or ethnicity, come what may. I know this because I am a Somali, and a proud one, despite the present unpleasant state of affairs that forced us to flee our beloved homeland. Nevertheless, the issue of a link between international terrorism and Somalia is still "maybe or could be." It's only unsubstantiated tip-off by a neighbour and some unsavoury characters with hidden agenda of their own. And the trail is growing colder every day despite 24-hour sea and air surveillances over the country, with particular emphasis on Shimbiraale, a bird sanctuary. If only those birds could talk! They would have sued the German and British pilots for terrorizing them and for disturbing the peace. In short, unless I am presented with convincing evidence to the contrary, I have to go along with the PM Hassan Abshir and Ahmed Jila'o, the TNG's Chief of Security who the other day said that there are no full-fledged Al-Qaeda people in Somalia. The fact that there are some sympathizers of Osama who display his portraits in public doesn't mean that the country is wash with his supporters. The man has supporters in many Moslem countries, even in the West, including the United States and Britain, period.


"If you cannot at all picture these events for yourselves, you can ask a Somali. Any man or woman in the street will tell you how it feels to be displaced and dispossessed, of how maddening and unfair it is to be caught in a crossfire, to be shot at, shelled, beaten and looted by no one else but your own countrymen; of how inadequate and impotent a whole nation feels when slighted or totally exposed to a news blackout, of how one sleeps to the chatter of machine guns overhead and awaken to a cold fire. Ask to your heart's content, and I promise you will need no other authority on the subject after you have asked a Somali.

For example, can you guys endure eleven years of hell on earth? Can you, for example, survive without the things you always take for granted, such as running cold and hot water and electricity supplies, medical care, heater/air-conditioner, the well-stocked corner grocery store, the ever-present hissing fridge and above all lack of security for eleven long years? Even the leading casts of the TV series "The Survivors" will not be able to survive a single day in Somalia let alone eleven years. I believe that the Somalis deserve Nobel Peace Prize for their endurance record in the face of adverse circumstances, and a robust financial assistance for a kick-off start. At the same time a lot of things should be learned from them - it's also an open invitation to the Guineas Book of World Records."

By M. M. Afrah 2002

Are you tired of reading distorted stories about Somalia by armchair authors? Order the "SOMALI TRAGEDY," by M. M. Afrah 204 pages with photos and glossary of Somali history.
It is an eyewitness account of the clan warfare and the US/UN military involvement in the Somalia debacle. $US20/ including H&S by airmail.
Mode of payment: International Money Order or through Somali money transfer companies near you. Order the book directly from the Author by sending your email to


Mr. Afrah is an outspoken Author/Journalist and a member of the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) and the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). He contributes hard-hitting articles to Canadian and international newspapers and magazines on the Somalia situation "through the eyes of a man who covered the country for more than two decades".

Many of us remember his critical articles in his weekly English language HEEGAN newspaper, despite a mandatory self-censorship introduced by Guddiga Baarista Hisbiga Xisbiga Hantiwadaagga Somaaliyeed in 1984 and the dreaded NSS. I am very proud to know that Mr. Afrah openly defied the draconian censorship laws and went ahead to write what he thought was wrong in the country. He received several death threats from the warlords and was briefly held hostage by gunmen in 1993. But he remained defiant and continued to send his stories of carnage and destruction to Reuters news agency. He still is!


Main Page | Latest News | Reuters News | A. Press News| Washington Post |Contact Us

Copyright 1999  All Rights Reserved


Previous News

Feb. 2002 News
Jan 2002 News
Dec 2001 News
Nov 2001 News
Oct 2001 News
Sep 2001 News
Aug 2001 News
June 2001 News
July 2001 News
May 2001 News
April 2001 News
March 2001 News
Feb. 2001 News
Jan. 2001 News
Dec. News
Nov. News
Oct. News
Sept. News
August News
July News
June News
May News
April News
March News
February News
January News