received the following letter of thanks from our regular commentator
and editorial writer to admirers of his articles and extracts
from his book FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY. Toronto (Canada)
and visitors to banadir.com, after deliberating with myself
whether to send an individual email of thanks, I finally decided
to send you this collective letter of thanks.The
number of your emails in my inbox is staggering and it would
probably take me months to answer you individually.
your emails gave me an oxygen of life that would enable me
to keep the ball of truth rolling and rolling until we achieve
our desired goal of justice, freedom from hunger, fear, oppression
and injustice in our own country. Thank you very much from
the bottom of my heart. Rest assured. We shall prevail.
me the verve to quote Nelson Mandela, SON OF AFRICA, FATHER
OF A NATION AND WINNER OF THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE, who said
during his trial in the 1960s, with his electric smile:
have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society
in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal
opportunity. It is an ideal, which I hope for and cherish.
But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to
Mr. Mandela was released and elected as the first Black President
in apartheid South Africa, journalists asked if he had a rancor
against the white racists who sent him to the notorious Robben
Island Prison to break stones for 27 years, he said: "Absolutely
no. That chapter is now closed. There's enough room for everybody
in the new South Africa. We are now a rainbow nation." (Just
like his colourful polo shirts!).
the white racists branded him as "Africa's Number One Terrorist."
But for the Africans and peace loving peoples throughout the
world he is freedom fighter.
worth mentioning here that a certain Dan McCarthy, which I
perceive to be a non-Somali, according to his name, wanted
to know which office I held in Somalia "to write such nonsense
about the Xawaala question". I was compelled to answer his
email by saying that I had never held an executive office
in Somalia since its inception in 1960, apart from my stint
as an editor-in-chief of a newspaper that was published under
a military regime. I do not belong to any political, tribal,
or religious organizations. I'm just a journalist/author-in-exile
still on the run from warlords, landlords, witch hunters,
bigots, big-name book publishers, harassment by Telemarketeers,
North American seasonal flu, stomach flu (whatever that is),
the Arctic fever and Genetically Modified Food, not to mention
the harsh Canadian winter that gets into my skin.
bulk of your emails (99.9 per cent) gave me strength and something
to cherish for the rest of my life.
and I know that a hope has been sparked a year ago in Djibouti
for a peace conference and the restoration of a government
of national unity for the first time in ten years. Abdiqassim
was elected as an interim president and rookie parliamentarians
have been elected. This move was hailed by many at home, those
in exile in the Diaspora and the United Nations and called
it a "landmark". But those who opposed the Arta group described
it as sell-out by former officials of the ousted Barre regime
and likened them to two wheels on the same bicycle. Then things
went from bad to worse for reasons we already know. That brings
me back to the golden rule in the media: "Don't repeat what
your readers already knew unless it is absolutely unavoidable."
who posted his idea on banadir.com Public Forum said that
my advice to Western newspaper editors to send their investigative
reporters to Somalia bore some fruits. Abdiqassim Salad invited
journalists from two main American newspapers, The New York
Times and The Lose Angeles Times to visit Somalia to see for
themselves. Well, that is at least some progress and I hope
that these journalists will tell their American readers that
the Somalis are busy slaughtering each other and that they
have no time for international terrorism. At that same press
conference Abdiqassim said that he heard Osama bin Laden and
Al-Qaeda for the first time from the Americans on September
11. I hope he is telling the truth.
life of me I cannot imagine how a compassionate person describes
a seventy-year-old skinny grandmother who receives 50 dollars
from her toiling grandson through the Xawaala system as a
"terrorist". (She tries to feed her grandchildren after their
parents fled the inferno). if the American allegation was
true, the Wire Remittance Companies have a lot of explanations
to do as to where and to whom they send those billions of
dollars mentioned in the American media. I was really shocked
when I read the amount of money that changes hands between
these companies and some shadowy characters. Of course, that's
none of our business. Our top priority is how to send our
hard earned 50 dollars to our starving mothers and grandmothers
in war-torn Somalia. It is a toll order, because banks and
postal services ceased to exist 11 years ago. However, I am
very confident that those American journalists would straighten
things out in the interest of truth and justice.
I thank you wholeheartedly for the flood of emails
M. M.Afrah, Toronto (Canada)
P.S. If for some reason you don't like this letter and
its contents, you are free to criticize me. It is human to
Afrah is an outspoken Somali journalist/author and a member
of the Canadian Journalist for Free Express (CJFE) and the
Committee for the Protection of Journalists. He contributes
hard-hitting articles to Canadian and international newspapers.
Many of us recall his critical editorials in his weekly HEEGAN
newspaper, despite a mandatory self-censorship (BAAF-REEB)
which was introduced by the Guddiga Baarista Xisbiga Hantiwadaagga
Kacaanka Soomaaliyeed and the NSS during Major-General Mohamed
Siyaad Barre's hey days. I am very proud to know that Mr.
Afrah openly defied the censorship guidance and went ahead
to write what he thought was wrong in the country. As a result
he received several death threats and was briefly detained
at the notorious Godka torture chambers. But he remained defiant.
He still is!