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Toronto (Canada)

10, May 2003

M. M. Afrah

By nature I don’t seriously take bashings from a small number of readers, because it comes with the territory. Besides I have had enough bashings to last me a lifetime and I never lose sleep over them. The encouraging news is, however, that the overwhelming majority of e-mails are very supportive and inspiring.

One email asks:  “Why do you continue the act (sic) of taking a swipe at what you call Warlords who are actually fighting for peace and stability in Somalia?”

Good question. But wait! If understand correctly (and I was there physically to witness their crimes) that there are such people in this world passes my belief. Every peace-loving Somali is cognizant that these people are primarily responsible for the destruction of Somalia and the massacre of thousands of innocent and unarmed civilians on the harebrained ground that they belonged to the “other clan”.

Nicolo Machiavelli, the great Italian Statesman and political philosopher (1469-1527) wrote: “A certain prince of the present time, whom it is well not to name, never does anything but preach peace and good faith, but he is really a great enemy of both, and neither of them (peace and faith), had he observed, would have lost him state or population on many occasions.”

Back to my email inbox, one girl (or is it a boy?) says: “It is like sitting opposite you at a dinner table telling us what is really going on in Somalia. That really changed my perception of Somalia and the ruthless warlords who keep our people hostage.

By the way I was brought to the US when I was five-year-old and my parents are reluctant to talk about the current situation in Somalia.

Thanks Mr. Afrah for your great work.”

Yes, the current situation in Somalia is still murky and fuzzy, to say the least.

Yaasiin’s email from Finland says: The warlords obeying the advice of the 1920s Chicago Mafia gangster, Al Capone,: They’re following the money and power come what may.” He said that he is in the process of printing playing cards of the Somali warlords similar to the US military’s deck of cards of wanted Iraqis.

Good luck, Yaasiin!

Other Somalis in the Diaspora should try the same and I can guarantee that, besides from being historically important for future generations, they would be collectors’ dream. So guys, try your hands at this vital project.


The country needs a leader who has strong beliefs to defend it vigorously from the likes of Meles Zenawi and his cohorts. It is time the leaders of the civic society had better start telling Somalis what they stand for, instead of flip-flopping on the issue of a broad-based national government and the restoration of peace and stability. It is time they prevent the radioactive policies of the warlords/faction leaders who continually wrangle over the office of the presidency.

Leadership races are by their nature a testing ground to see who has the mettle to earn the trust of the long-suffering Somali people—a deep mind-altering suffering and agony.

At best leaders of the civic society attending the talks, is a work in progress. Despite their decorum during the last eight months, they could only splutter and bluster when attacked by the powerful dons, underlining the widespread fear that they are far from ready for prime-time complex Somali politics. But at least they offer a glimmer of hope. To shine they must stop the dons to get away with it.

What is still missing today is confidence that the civic leaders have among them a messiah that will remind the world that there are still people who are progressive and have the interest of the Somali people at heart. They should be able to demonstrate to the Somali people and the world that they had outgrown the petty clan politics and are ready to rescue Somalia from Dante’s Purgatory.

As Machiavelli noted in his treatise more than 500 years ago, the warlords realized that there was nothing in for them in the ceasefire agreement signed in Eldora six months ago, they laboured hard to put a variety of roadblocks on the road to peace, including, among other obstacles, the continuation of the clan wars even before the ink was dry on the ceasefire accord.

They are really great enemies of peace. Double whammy? You might ask. Not a chance! Because they know what they want and how to get it, and of course under the barrel of the gun. And to achieve their ill-gained “victory” they frequently mobilize their baby-faced militia boys who are themselves victims of deception and well orchestrated hoodwinking laced with a measured dose of misinformation.

These “gun boys” had no choice, because many of them lost their parents or were separated from them in the ensuing chaos and that the country’s future no longer matters to them. What really matters to them is survival in a vicious adult world.

Have I said that before? I had seen too much blood spilling in Somalia and as a result I can’t help repeating myself. But then common sense must prevail.

Have a peaceful day.

By M. M. Afrah©2003


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