TRIBALISTS BETRAYED THE PEOPLES' HOPES BY
8 April. 2002
TRIBALISTS BETRAYED THE PEOPLES' HOPES
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.
the end result of tribalism that put our hopes for peace in
a deep freezer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THEIR LEADERS:
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.
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."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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!