01, Nov. 2003
A BRIEF REMINDER TO GENERAL BOYKIN
M. M. Afrah
As Muslims in North
America desperately try to gain Americans’ trust and improve
their tarnished image since the 9/11 tragedy, and hoping to
stay afloat in the American melting pot, a top official in the
Bush administration made the habit of bashing Islam, saying
Muslims worship idols!
to say, it was the Muslim conquerors who destroyed
all the idols in Mecca and that someone should have
reminded General Boykin that Islam, Judaism and Christianity
all share core believe and go on their knees before
the same God.
The General may want to
know that the Muslim scripture is emphatic in its statement
that God is one and one only and do not accept the Christian
claim that Jesus was/is the God, or the son of God.
The Holy Qura’an refers
to Jesus as “al-Masih Isa ibn Maryam”, that’s he is
the son of Mary and was miraculously born the son of the Virgin
Mary”. Qura’aan in Surah 5, verse 75 Allah says: “The
Messiah, son of Mary, was no other than a messenger. Messengers
(the like of him) had passed away before him, and they used
to eat (earthly) food.” Meaning they too were human
being in addition to being the Messengers of God.
Bush said in Indonesia that he respects Islam as one of
the greatest religions on earth and that many of his own
citizens are Muslims.I do not
for a moment doubt President Bush’s sincerity, but I should
like him say these words at home and in public –especially
|to the religious right
in the US and his own cabinet and aides, singling out
General Boykin and his cronies in the White House, State
Department and the Pentagon, instead of in front of a
predominantly Muslim country, like Indonesia.
And yes, to disagree
with Lt. General William Boykin is one thing, reassign or
reprimand him is another. This is a top Government official
who openly preached that the militia in Somalia worshipped an
“idol” and not a “real” God.
“I knew my God is bigger
than his. His was Satan,” the General was quoted as saying.
Despite outcries and condemnations, Lt. General Boykin
continued to preach his anti-Islam whacking with impunity.
I do not know whether
the cross (removed from classrooms in the United States long
ago) is another idol. Similarly, I’ve never heard gods divided
into smaller God and bigger God or a God electing a President
of a country. In most cases they resort to vote buying, ballot
box rigging and blackmail to stay in power.
I’ve seen so much blood
in the city of bluebottle flies and shallow graves than I had
ever thought to see, and the overwhelming majority of
peace-loving Somalis despise the militia who massacred
innocent civilians, but to say they worshipped Satan or an
idol is going too far. As a matter of fact they worship the
gun and get pleasure from murdering innocent civilians. They
are basically murderous bandits.
general’s anti-Islam clobber will feed hatred against the
United States, even by “moderate” Muslims who up to now
admired diversity and religious tolerance in the United
By the way, I am a
secular Humanist who respects all faiths on this Planet. And
like Mahatma Gandhi, I strongly believe in interfaith and the
co-existence of all religions in harmony, for they all worship
the same God in their own different ways. When Gandhi was
asked by a group of Western journalists, just minutes before a
Hindu fanatic assassinated him, whether he was a Hindu, he
said: “Yes, I am a Hindu but I am also a Muslim, a Christian
and a Jew.” Like the United States and Canada, Mahatma Gandhi
too believed in religious co-existence and diversity.
Mr. President, over to
CLOSE TO HOME
The so-called peace
conference is coming to a dead end and many of the militia
gunmen in the capital are resorting to armed robbery,
kidnapping, arson and general mayhem, joining the freelancers,
because they have not been paid for more than a year, that’s
since the never-ending talks started in Kenya a year ago.
Reports from Mbagathi
say that the talks is now being repackaged by some
stakeholders after it was bogged down and that a limp wristed
cookie pusher is scared to death to tell the powerful warlords
to piss off, or else….
A UN report said it
would take years, hard work and money to remove the gun away
from Somali politics. The 45-page report suggests that if
rehabilitated and given paid jobs to the young militia gunmen
and shown a life away from the gun, the warlords would be
doomed to failure, and will vanish from the political map.
It is true the warlords
have tanks and heavy artillery in place, but without the young
militia manning and operating the death machines, the warlords
will remain in limbo and are likely to solicit for a lasting
Easier said than done.
The thorny question is: Who is going to foot the bill,
estimated at billions of dollars, or who is going to pull the
string? Not the war criminals, a.k.a. the warlords. They’ve
taken larceny and institutionalized it, and have already
turned the country into a living hell.
The smell of money and
power makes them nuts.
There’s, however, a huge
gap of credibility of what has been said and done or not done.
Another case in point is the work of the UN committee who was
supposed to monitor the continuous flow of weapons from
neighbouring countries into Somalia. For some unknown
reason(s)this committee woefully failed to carry out its
responsibility and name names of those responsible for the
Members of the
monitoring committee do not have to be rocket scientists to
clearly pinpoint the country that is flooding Somalia with
weapons. But like every other UN committee this one remains in
political limbo since its formation by the UN Secretary
It is stupid to expect
financial aid and fair verdict from the UN, donor countries in
the West or from the oil rich Arab countries, when we know
only to well that Somalia, unlike Iraq with its oil, is poor,
and you can bet your last worthless Shilling, you shall not
get a fair hearing or money. Of course there are endless
reports written by “experts” during a whirlwind visits in
war-torn countries, like Somalia, but these dazzling reports
would eventually end up in a deep freezer.
There is no country in
the world that is prepared to give us gifts or loans, or
establish industries in a war-torn country, unless it is
well-heeled in mineral resources, such as oil, gold, diamonds
or uranium. And there is no World Government that can tax the
prosperous nations in order to help the poor nations, nor if
one did exist could it raise enough revenue to do all that’s
needed in the world. All this means that it is impossible for
Somalia to obtain enough money for disarmament, rehabilitation
It is even more stupid
for us to imagine that we shall rid ourselves of our poverty
through foreign assistance rather than our own miserable
There are many needy
countries in the world, and the prosperous nations do not
relish the idea of giving gifts to the poor nations. Even
within their own borders poverty still exists. A case in point
is the increasing number of unemployed and homeless people
sleeping in bus shelters and in street corners, waiting for
death to come in the middle of merciless Arctic winter.
In addition, there are
always risks on donor dependency, because donors are adept at
shifting the goal posts as soon as they perceive or suspect
that their vested interests are being tempered with by the
government of the day.
The four prerequisites
of development are different, according to Julius Nyerere, the
late Tanzanian statesman; they are (i) People, (ii) Land &
Sea; (iii) Good Policies & Stability; (iv) Good Leadership
Now, is Somalia endowed
with all these prerequisites at present? Good People? Yes.
Land and Sea? Yes. Good Policies and Stability? Stillborn.
Good Leadership? None, so far.
Cleaning Mogadishu and
the rest of the country of the rubble and devastation is like
cleaning post war Berlin with a toothbrush. And it takes a
Marshal Plan to stitch it up together.
Despite his shortcomings,
General Mohamed Siyad Barre encouraged (the word is:
Ordered) the people to go to the sea to exploit the
overflowing marine resources in our territorial waters
| second longest in Africa
South of the Sahara, instead of waiting for a manna to
fall from the sky. The end result was that the nomads
who until then reviled and despised seafood became skilled
fishermen in no time. They thus kissed goodbye to the
vicious circle of drought and famine that decimated their
families and livestock for centuries in a row.
Speaking of marine resources
in Somalia today, one man who knows in and out of the fishing
industry in chaotic Somalia is none other than Mohamed Ali
Jesow of Toronto whose interview appeared on this website
years ago under the heading of “The
Bright Side of the Somalia Conflict.”
In that interview Jesow had convinced Somalis in the
Diaspora to invest in the untapped fishing industry in their
native country. He accused foreign fishing trawlers for illegally
vacuum cleaning Somalia’s territorial waters, taking advantage
of the lawlessness in the country. He also condemned the Italian
Mafia, in collusion with one of the warlords, for routinely
dumping toxic waste on our territorial waters.
A future government
would make huge revenue if it developed re-organized fishing
and protected the country’s 200 nautical miles, and in the
process claim penalties. At the moment a single foreign
trawler can illegally fish up to 1500 tonnes and processing
the fish while Somalia gets nothing from its own fish stock.
A number of other daredevil
young entrepreneurs from the Diaspora have already established
small scale industries that are aimed as “import substitute”
–that’s, to produce things which up to now people imported
from foreign countries at exorbitant prices. They also create
more jobs for those who wish to earn a decent living, away
from the gun culture.
The facts are well known
to all of us. Thousands of young people in villages and towns
waste their time in gossip, political debates (locally known
as Fadhi ku dirir), chewing that narcotic drug
called khat and smoke cigarettes imported five times daily
by air from neighbouring Kenya and are paid in much needed
to the Daily Nation, Kenya’s best selling newspaper, Kenyan
farmers who grow this poison earn an estimated 150 million
US dollars annually, just to pollute the soul and minds
of our youth in the spring of their lives, while thousands
of their countrymen and women are living in absolute poverty.
By M. M. Afrah©2003,