SECOND VISIT TO SOMALIA
BY M.M. Afrah,
Dec. 29, 2001
are once again in the limelight for good or for worse and
once again the Americans are paying us another visit, this
time for different reasons. The 1993 visit was supposed to
be a humanitarian one that ended in an impotent rage after
18 American soldiers, not to mention the 24 Pakistanis, ended
up in body bags. Thousands of non-combatants died in the process.
It was a jungle of hatred between visitors and vocal minorities
led by an elusive warlord who strongly believed in the Kalanishkov
Russian proverb says: "Hope is
the last to die." Our hope for a new life died
with the AK-47 culture. We have been bombed, blasted and squeezed
by warlords, by Black Hawks, by clan elders, by freelancers,
by religious nuts and by the new kids on the block until we
don't know who the hell owns that country called Somalia.
of us voted with our own feet to flee the inferno. And in
the Diaspora we are called the Gypsies of Africa. Never
mind the epithet, because all newcomers have been ostracized
since the "discovery" of the new world (North America) by
old man Chris Colombo who wrongly called the natives Indians,
because he though he was in India!
later white Americans classified immigrants and refugees from
Europe as Daggoes (the Italians) Frogs (the French) Sauerkrauts
(the Germans) and Limeys (the British), forgetting the fact
that they themselves had roots in those countries.
difference is that they came earlier than us," a Somali woman
once told a gathering of immigrants and refugees in Toronto
to America's second visit to Somalia. News agencies say that
the warlords have been soliciting the Americans to give them
a helping hand (Afghanistan's Northern Alliance-style) "to
smoke out" what they described Al-Qaeda terrorist cells in
Somalia. Reuters news agency and the BBC described the warlords'
exercises as a bid to return to power and destroy the Arta
group with the help of the 52s and helicopter gunships, giving
the dying country a final shove with no one in the world to
witness its last gasp -- a country where every mother's first
thought on rising is: How would I feed my children today?
must be shivering with delicious anticipation as they waited
for the US President to give the green light to his death
machines. One of the new kids on the block (the Arta Group)
was quoted as saying that if Aideed junior comes to power
he would swear to God that there had never been Al-Qaeda training
camps or cells in Somalia. He would also swear that Osama
bin Laden had never visited Somalia to train his father's
militia how to kill Americans during the heydays of Aideed
Senior, as alleged by US intelligence. A reader in Sweden
said in his email: "Yes, there are terrorists in all regions
of Dear Somalia, namely the Somali warlords, at least against
our own people, but they are so cowardly that they cannot
threaten even a non-Somali rabbit!"
Gabyow, a lesser known warlord and General Barre's faithful
told a press conference in Addis Abeba the other day: "I myself
can mobilize up to 50,000 of my militia and fight alongside
international force (translation: American forces) which would
come to Somalia to help eradicate several terrorist groups
who destroyed our country." I WONDER WHO ARE THESE TERRORISTS
WHO DESTROYED OUR COUNTRY?
President Bush never mentioned Somalia in his various speeches
and press conferences. Probably he is reluctant to jump the
smoking gun, Texas-style, at least for the moment. As a teenager,
he must have been watching cowboy movies, like Shane,
The Man from Laramie and High Noon or OK Coral.
as the next target is one thing Newsweek didn't mention either,
but the media giants, like The New York Times, The Washington
Post, The Los Angeles Times and The USA-TODAY are having their
field days playing the "Somalia card". Seasoned politicians
who knew Somalia are wondering who is behind the hullabaloo.
The arms industry? The Ethiopians? The warlords? The Pentagon
out to settle a score?
the United Nations should have stayed put instead of pulling
out prematurely, leaving behind the people to fend for themselves.
After all, they were there to keep the peace in the first
place. It is the duty of the Blue Helmets to defend the civilians
in compliance with Chapter Seven of the UN Security Council