ANOTHER COUNTRY BY
26th March. 2002
CONCLUSION: FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY - Final Part
from a book by M. M. Afrah to be published in Canada and the
first time in a week the weight on Keynaan's shoulders seemed
lighter. Later, another crewmember brought to the family bowls
of green soup on a tray with chopped spring onion and pieces
of sauerkraut floating in it. He called it shchav which
sound like baby sneeze.
pilot, he was in a foul mood and sucked in his breathe with
a hiss, like a whale.
country is on a Soyuz rocket to hell," he said and left without
waiting for an answer. But before he left he handed each member
of the family shiny tissues that did not absorb at all. They
still carried the Aeroflot, the old Soviet Airline logo.
through the smoking ruins of the city, you can imagine countless
scenarios to explain the place. Perhaps the man's description
was befitting, even if he saw everything from the air and
at the hellish airstrip. But you need to devote few hours
to the task, and on the ground. That's if you are lucky enough
to escape with your life. Well, coming back to lucky enough
to escape with your life. Well, coming back to his native
country had been a long short, Keynaan thought.
of competing clans, all at each other's throat in a bid to
subdue the smaller clans at the instigation of ruthless warlords,
whose aim is to maintain the status quo. Chaos! And the chaos
was getting worse as each warlord tries to consolidate his
shaky position in a country where the gun over-number the
people. These are the people who created the nightmare. Keynaan
was overcome by the terrifying feeling that more anarchy and
mayhem were in store for Somalia.
looked at the bowls of green soup and the children made ghastly
faces at each other over the odd looking soup. For Keynaan,
years long habit of eating strange foods in Canada has sharpened
his appetite. Only rarely had he been a victim of food poisoning,
and he could live with Genetically Modified Food and recycled
water. He thought he could eat sawdust and enjoy it as long
as was they were airborne and out of Somalia. With his hand
holding the plastic spoon, he turned to Marian once again:
be all right," he said reassuringly.
had slid her bifocals down her nose and peered over the frames.
She gave him the thumps-up signal and said: "Yes, we will
be all right.
" He watched
the rugged cliffs above the lonely beaches strewn with pebbles
and driftwood. From the air the country looked like the jagged
horn of a furious rhino trying to charge the Indian Ocean.
But the country could still amaze him with its miles and miles
of unspoiled beaches and endless plains, which appeared to
thrive despite the civil war and the vicious circle of mainly
man-made famine. The ancient Egyptians called it the Land
of Frankincense and Myrrh. Today it is the land of skeletons
and shallow graves.
in his seat to glance at the children, after reading the first
chapter of Gone with the Wind, Keynaan was thrilled to see
the boys and their sister were enjoying their first flight
in an airplane. He himself decided that he did not care for
the lack of air conditioning in the cabin. The Russian designer
had copied the grandiose style of an executive American Gulf
Stream jet, but the seats were jammed in together so that
someone's ear was at your neck, while you perspired profusely.
Margaret Mitchell's best selling novel into his carryall bag
and listened to 1960s rock n' roll music from the plane's
intercom. It is the Beatles' After a Hard Day's Night
followed by what sounded like monotonous Russian love song,
instead of the Internationale.
stopped, and a round humorous voice, in stilted English, rang
across the passenger cabin.
Comrades, you may now unfasten your seat belts, relax and
smoke." There was laughter in the background.
wondered how he was going to deal with the corrupt immigration
officials at Nairobi's Wilson Airport and the thorny problem
of getting a connection to Toronto's Pearson Airport. But
they were airborne. He had survived. He had reached his goal.
He had pulled off a daring escape from a country he once called
home, the land of his upbringing, enchanting and anguish.
the will of God," said his sister as she dabbed her eyes with
a yellow bandanna and tried to put her myopic bifocals on.
Then she studied in the center of the bandanna before she
folded and put it in her handbag. For Keynaan, it was a holiday
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!