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Compiled and edited by M. M. Afrah
(Some of the emails have been edited for purposes of clarity or space)

"Changes comes from within, and not something we can force on another."

Mr. Afrah, in your Talking Point on what you described as Italy's involvement in Somalia affairs since 1885, and the Italian government's "evil design to derail the reconciliation process" is unacceptable. In the same, breathe you painted a bleak portrayal of massive corruption in successive Italian governments, which is also unacceptable and worthy of a correction.

On the contrary, Italy now has viable foreign policy and vibrant economy, one that includes its bilateral relationship with Africa, and Somalia in particular. Our aim is to encourage the Somali leaders settle their differences peacefully and without a third party.
Antonio Nolte, Rome.

Mr. Afrah, you pointedly depicted Italy's anomalous and bizarre interference in Somali affairs, and correctly stated the short-tightness of successive Italian government, corruption, nepotism and raw greed. The motivating behaviours behind all these are the naïve and narrow-mindedness, all too common to the Italian psyche.
Instead of helping both sides of the Somalia conflict, economically, and a strategy that brings back stability they have all conveniently buried their heads in the sand while blaming one wing (the Mogadishu-based) for derailing the reconciliation process, and granting funds to the Jowhar-based wing of the TFG.
I would say Italy hands off Somalia! Enough is enough.
Omar Muhiddin,
New York City (USA).

Your Talking Point on Italy's interferences in Somali affairs left me shaking my head in disbelief. Not because I personally despise the Italian people, because I am living and working in Italy and highly appreciate their generosities, but at the shameful interference of their government in our internal affairs-in a country that is already in the brink of death, and siding one of the opposing factions, which is of no benefit to the ordinary inhabitants.
Have the Italian government officials in Rome tried to find out that the ordinary men and women of Somalia still can not get three or even single square meal a day? The Italians should have known this fact, because they too have gone through this hell after the ravages of Second World War. Yes, we have to blame ourselves for the chaotic situation in Somalia, but putting more fuel into the fire is tantamount to Dante's inferno.
Abdisalan Noor,
Milan (Italy)

As a long time friend of the Somali people, I could not believe a seasoned frontline journalist, who traveled widely, would write such crap and nonsense about Italy's desire to assist our Somali friends at a time when they really needed a helping hand. Mr. Afrah, I am wondering if Robert Oakley, the American envoy in Somalia who was quoted as saying that Italy left Somalia "in a pretty bad shape", dupes you-or perhaps your Canadian hosts, who left the town of Belet-weyne in a really pretty bad shape. Everyone in Somalia is aware that Italy built schools, hospitals, one of the biggest sugar cane factory in Africa South of the Sahara, bridges, canals, agricultures and a number of other projects to boost the country's fledging economy. Italy also established the best Somali national army and police force as well as perfect civil administration.
Your claim that Italy had built in Mogadishu the biggest Roman Catholic cathedral in Africa in the 1920s was a figment of your imagination. The aim to build the cathedral was not repeat not to convert the Somali people into Christianity, but to provide a house of worship for the then sizeable Italian community in Mogadishu.

Giuseppe Commissi,
Vincenza, (Italy).

Once again, I thank you for your great Talking Points. As a long time visitor to, I look forward to hear from you another Talking Point why Somalis could not settle their differences without foreigners and inside their own country. And, why Britain's role vis-à-vis Somaliland is on ice? As for Italy's brazen interference in the internal affairs of the South, you have played an important role by gently reminding Italy to grow up. As a result, expect angry letters from the Italians and their friends.
Yusuf A. Jama,
The Hague (the Netherlands).

"Really, really happy." These are the words that caused me to pause when I read your last Talking Point. As one who lost his own family in Mogadishu at the height of the civil war, I found your past articles about the merciless warlords most awe-inspiring. However, when I read that the same war criminals who massacred my family and thousands of other innocent civilians have now turned "peace-makers", my happiness turned to shock and dismay. Obviously, the lonely light at the end of the very dark tunnel turned dimmer and dimmer. It is no wonder Abdullahi Yusuf refused to go to Mogadishu to deal with these vultures. It is even sadder to think that many people in Mogadishu believed their antics.
I recall reading one of your past Talking Points under the title of "A Government by the Warlords for the Warlords." That is exactly what is in store for us.

A. Hirzi,
Stockholm (Sweden)

Signor Afrah, your article "Taking a Poke at the Italians," contains several inaccuracies. You failed to answer our emails (copied) to the webmasters of Banadir and Somaliuk as well as several other Somali websites just few hours after you have gone online. Had you answered our emails, we would have provided facts that would have helped the Somali public about our neutral stand on the conflict between the two opposing wings of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia.

The fact that you ignored to put our own version online suggests that such hypothetic conclusion on your part and on the part of the aforementioned Somali websites as irresponsible and one-sided.
C. M. Salvatore,

The Italian government officials were well aware from the very beginning that the warlords and Abdullahi Yusuf do not share a lot with each other, but when it comes to what they perceive as rattling of their ill-gained incomes and their enclaves too, surrounded by heavily armed young drug addicts, they are willing to die to the last man. Some of them had ties with Ethiopia until recently. Only Abdullahi Yusuf boosted the ties with his Ethiopian backers for his own survival. He told the Wayans in Addis and the panicky Yankees that he is fighting what he calls Islamic fundamentalists in Somalia.
They are more interested in making profit than returning peace and stability in the country. Conclusion: the Italian government officials should think twice before jumping on the bandwagon.
Ali Jima'ale Yaberow,
London (UK)

Day by day, the drama heightens-a recipe for another outbreak of civil war. One tested solution is for the people in the South to take to the streets to denounce the so-called leaders, which was imposed on them on the basis of tribalism in foreign soil and demand that they be taken before a war crimes tribunal.
It baffles me why Italy is now pouring few crumbs in war-torn Somalia to be misspent or instantly rerouted to Swiss accounts, or worse on more weapons. What the ordinary men and women need are food, clean drinking water, medicine, and above all peace and stability, period.
Hamilton (Canada).

Mr. Afrah, you no doubt raised Italian ire in your timely article "TAKING A POKE AT THE ITALIANS." You have exposed Italy's machinations to once again meddle in ailing Somali affairs. Italian bureaucrats in Rome should make decisions based on truth and principles and not on simple political expediency vis-à-vis the Somali quagmire.
If the so-called Somali leaders themselves are not willing to iron out their petty differences, how can Italy or other countries manage to keep them together?
Let's hope some of the bureaucrats in Rome read your article and reflect upon it. The fact is that the Somalia situation is beyond heartbreak.
Prof. Hassan Elmi,
Mogadishu (Somalia)

At first Rome strongly denied siding with the Jowhar faction of the TFG, then their own envoy in Somalia admitted publicly of granting funds to the faction led by Abdullahi Yusuf and Geddi. Apparently, they were caught with their pants down!

The Italian envoy in Somalia quickly realized that when he defends a policy that didn't work, it is not easy to defend. On the other hand, Britain kept Somaliland, its former protectorate, at arms length-at least for now. 1O Downing Street is aware that to recognize the self-styled Somaliland Republic would open a disastrous precedence in its former colonies in Africa, and in the United Kingdom itself.
Yusuf H. Meygag.
London (UK).

Compiled and edited by M. M. Afrah,
Email: afrah95@h

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