and edited by M. M. Afrah
(Some of the emails have been edited for purposes of clarity
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
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.
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.
New York City (USA).
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.
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.
again, I thank you for your great Talking Points. As a
long time visitor to banadir.com, 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
Yusuf A. Jama,
The Hague (the Netherlands).
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
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.
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.
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
C. M. Salvatore,
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,
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.
Afrah, you no doubt raised Italian ire in your timely
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,
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
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.
and edited by M. M. Afrah,