one compares the genocide in Rwanda to what had happened
in Somalia one reminds him or her the Syrian proverb
that goes: "I had no shoes; and I was sad; but
then I met a man who had no feet." Nearly one
million Tutsi and politically moderate Hutus have
been hacked to death by Hutu extremists known as Interhamwe
death squads. Paradoxically, many people in the West
are still reluctant to use the word 'Genocide"
vis-à-vis the wholesale massacre in Rwanda
as if the word is monopoly to certain non-African
leaders, including Kofi Annan, who was in charge of
UN peace keeping forces at the time, and former US
President Bill Clinton ignored the world's worst tragedy
since World War Two, and only half-heartedly apologize
now, ten years later!
is said that the worst enemy is always the desperate
one who has nothing to lose. The Hutu leaders
were fully as ruthless as the Nazi Germans who
used the deadly Zyklon B gas to eliminate the
Jews in concentration camps during World War Two.
The Nazis called it "The Final Solution"
to the Jewish question, according to documents
captured by the American armed forces and their
Hitler has decreed their end, and his will was law.
To the Hutu extremist leaders, the Tutsis appeared
as their ultimate enemies. They called them "cockroaches"
and must be exterminated without mercy. To the Somali
warlord other clans are the enemies of his own clan
and should be dealt with by all the means at his disposal,
including murder, rape, arson, and looting.
Hutu death squads used machetes and all types of home
made weapons to eliminate the Tutsis ten years ago.
In Somalia on the other hand the warlords used sophisticated
weapon stockpiles, originally intended to defend the
country from external aggression, including multiple
rocket launchers, mortars, long-range artillery guns,
bazookas and RPG7s. No photograph, records or documents
are available to give us a clear picture of what had
happened or the number of civilians eliminated by
the warlords and their minions, to horrify the world,
notwithstanding few headlines in the Western newspapers
and prime time TV, that forced former President Bush,
Senior, to send 28,000 Marines and Army Rangers in
what was described as the world's first military intervention
on humanitarian ground.
Rwanda thousands of human remains are displayed publicly
to remind people men's cruelty against their fellow
human being. All these gruesome events are a black
chapter in the tale of man's inhumanity to man. On
the other hand victims of the clan warfare in Somalia
were hurriedly buried in shallow graves or in mass
burial grounds, like the one at Jesira Beach. The
city of Mogadishu, once described as the Pearl of
the Indian Ocean had turned into a vast graveyard.
the deference between Somalia and Rwanda is that the
later is back on track in full gear, while the people
in Somalia are still resigned to their situation.
They are on the limits of survival. As soon as one
reads the sad news emanating from Somalia one senses
the hopelessness of the situation.
is a country that has experienced most of the disasters
a place can suffer in the last 30 years, both in terms
of human conflicts and natural disasters. The military
dictatorship, and the numerous unending clan warfare
had destroyed all the infrastructures and social structure,
and the people have had little chance to rebuild in
the short intervals of premature ceasefires. The warlords,
like the military dictator, suppress any opposition
by unleashing their unsavory zombie-like militia to
strike back relentlessly.
the long awaited good news is that anti-warlord popular
demonstrations have been taking place in Mogadishu
for the first time, calling the warlords to immediately
end their boycott of the peace talks and rejoin the
conference in Nairobi, unconditionally
thousands Somalis demonstrated in Mogadishu Stadium
demanding that the faction leaders/warlords expedite
the on-going peace talks in Kenya. "The message
from the demonstrators called on faction leaders who
boycotted the talks to respect an earlier agreement
signed in Eldoret (the first venue of the talks) in
2002, in which they committed themselves to a ceasefire
and promoting the peace process," Abdullahi Shirwa,
head of PEACELINE, one of the organizers of the demonstration,
told IRIN news agency.
warlords still resist the popular demand, and are
threatening renewed clan warfare with their newly
it is not going to be easy to destroy Somalia,"
according to an old man who had lived through it all,
and who is lucky to be alive. "That has already
been done," he added, implying that there is
nothing left to destroy.
said, reports say some of the defiant warlords are
already recruiting hundreds of children and young
men from destitute families to carry out their nefarious
work. They appear to push ahead their own agenda despite
pressure from IGAD and the international community
to end the current stalemate that could become a source
of farther instability, and urged them to reconsider
their position for the interest of the Somali people.
the interest and support of the global community is
paramount to achieving lasting peace and economic
reconstruction, and ignoring or defying them is another
disaster in the making,
only we could convince our accusers that our long-suffering
people were never involved in international terrorism
or the attack of September 11th. Who can forget those
last phone calls to their loved ones, never to be
heard from them again? We argue patiently and for
years that there are no international terrorists in
Somalia. We also argued that we should find out WHY
some people resort to terrorism to hurt themselves
as well as innocent bystanders in the process.
We must make some efforts to try and eradicate the
causes through what is called "winning the heart
and mind of the people," instead of marginalizing
them in their own countries. It's as simple as that.
there are, of course, terrorists in Somalia, but these
are homegrown known as Mooryaan who are even more
lethal than the international terrorists. A final
solution to the Mooryaan question would be highly
appreciated by the vulnerable people of Somalia, who
have nowhere else to turn for protection.
M. M. Afrah©2004