Only in Mogadishu the blind can see, the deaf can hear and the mute can talk


It was late sunny afternoon at a busy intersection in Mogadishu when a
man expertly relieved personal jewelry from the person of a surprised
young woman in the company of three male relatives. A second accomplice
who waved a gun in their direction warded off the indignant male
companions. The two thieves, enriched with their loot of the moment walked
off, joining the milling crowd unconcerned about the consequences of
their actions. Two nights later, a knock at the door was heard by a well to
do family members. The mother tending to supper yelled to one of the
children to see who was at the door. The child upon opening the door was
brushed aside by three armed men who entered the house uninvited. In
short time, they hauled away all family valuables, including the family
furniture. They just loaded their trucks and left unconcerned about the
consequences of their actions. The lead of three cars midway up the
hill suddenly came to a sudden stop. Just a few yards ahead, one of buses
that haul passengers and business between Mogadishu and Baydhabo was
being robbed by thugs in plain view of the policemen at the control
located at the top of the hill. The convey of three cars decided to
continue their journey up the hill hoping the thugs were satisfied with their
present prey to pay them attention. The policemen denied seeing any
robbery taking place just a few yards down the hill.

The above mentioned incidents and many more others of the same, I
either witnessed or learnt about while on my second short visit to
Mogadishu, not last month or last year, mind you, but in July, 1990 when the
country was still ruled by a merciless dictatorship which did not by it?s
nature tolerate such activities, but nonetheless, was rendered helpless
or unwilling to protect the citizenry from the then moreyaans (thugs)
possibly due to the pressing events surrounding the regime?s own
survival. The thugs emboldened by the ease they could enrich themselves
unhindered escalated their assault on the population of Mogadishu and
environs, soon murders, rapes, kidnappings became the norm rather than the
exception. In the early stages of these unwelcome developments, the people
often expressed their indignation at the sorry state of affairs,
hopeful at the same time with Allah (S) help conditions will change for the
better, and the opportunistic thieves and thugs, rapists and killers
would be caught and brought to justice. But not to be as we know now, and
since the forceful removal of the military dictatorship, if there was a
change in the peoples? lot, it has been only for the worse. From this
recent history we should have learnt that even while a government is in
place, determined armed men working in tandem can frustrate authorities
to wreak havoc on the populace.

After fifteen years of mayhem and mischief making, the Mogadishu
coalition of self-interest is proclaiming today to us Somalis, and to the
world, that Mogadishu can be made safe again at once to facilitate the
relocation of the new government now exiled in neighboring country of
Kenya. Whether the government locates itself there or initially in other
localities, this proclamation by itself is good news that Somalis
everywhere, and particularly, the populations of all Southern regions should
welcome. After fifteen years of chaos and cruelty. After fifteen years
of aborted hopes and helpless existence for the many, we are promised
again hope for change and for the better. We all Somalis must, and should
shed off all doubt in regard to the sincerity on the part of the
coalition of self-interest, instead we should, and must embrace whole
heartedly current initiatives of Mogadishu clean up. If anyone can make it
safe, those who transformed it to hell in the first place should be
entrusted with the task. But Of course, there are many skeptics out there who
consider the coalition's recent pronouncements as yet another dastardly
deed to destroy the peace process one more time. Though, I take
exception to such negative thinking on the part of the many, yet I am hard
pressed to ignore the concerns articulate below:

There are few aspects of Mogadishu clean up from the harmful elements
that need closer examination. Granted that most of armed militias that
torment the capital daily, on most part, belong to various members of
the coalition of self-interest. Granted that these various members can
order the removal of heavy arms and personnel to camps in the outskirts
of the capital. Granted that their subordinates who sometimes make their
own decisions, obey and carry out the bosses? orders. Then

(1) what becomes of the militias? Would they be confined in these camps forever or
would they be allowed to renter the capital minus the heavy armaments?
If they are not allowed to re-enter the capital, whose task will it be
to stop them? And if they are allowed into the capital, who will
prevent them from rearming themselves with previously stashed away personal
guns to continue to engage in their moneymaking side criminal
activities? With thousands young militia men armed to the teeth with their
weapons of choice while accountable to no one, please explain how the streets
of Mogadishu will be any safer than they are today. Persuade the
skeptics please, that you thought of workable solution to the potentiality of
out of control armed militias roaming the streets of Mogadishu wreaking
havoc everywhere.

2) By now most of Somalis are aware of the fact that you, the
self-interest coalition, and your nemesis,presiden Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed do not
see eye to eye on many issues. For example, on the issue of Ethiopian
troops ill fated introduction to Somali soil, you promised Jihad against
such effort. Are we mistaken to conclude that you were declaring Jihad
also on the government of which many of you are higher up members? Now
let us consider that the TFG accepts your demand and relocates to
Mogadishu. Let us consider the government at some point makes another dumb
decision that does not meet your approval, or you may feel strongly
against. Please share with us what would you do if the outcome of the
decision would negatively affect some interest of yours. Can we be assured
that the heavy guns you deposited in the outskirts of the capital and
roaming militias tending to private businesses in the capital proper will
not be re-united again to teach the governmenta thing or two? There are
many other concerns that need assuaging but enough of negative
thoughts for now.

Skeptical Somalis, what can we do about them? My friend Aliu confuses
me though. I just asked him what he thought of the current Mogadishu
clean up in progress, and he said: * Mohamoud, you are a good man, but
sometimes you strike me as the innocent type. Innocent I am, but what
exact you mean, I shot back. Mohamoud, he said, how many absolutely blind
you know who can see. How many absolutely deaf who can hear, and how
many absolutely mute who can talk? I am still at loss why my friend would
bother to ask me the obvious. Did he perchance mistake me for one of
those Mogadishu miracle workers?

Be Well