women are now trying hard to break the glass ceiling in
politics. They are once again in the center of attention,
a jumpstart to play a bigger role in a rebirth Somalia
in the field of state affairs and leadership.
being sidelined by their male counterparts for a very
long time, despite the fact they had played a vital role
in the struggle for independence and had suffered enormously
in the civil/clan wars, they’re now in a strong
position to share decision-making power in politics and
parliamentary affairs life.
is time for affirmative action and means to ensure that
more women are elected, designated or appointed at all
levels of political and parliamentary life and involve
more equitably in the decision-making process.
real question, therefore, is whether each of us is prepared
to accept to rebuild a state in which no man is ashamed
of our mothers, sisters and wives to be part of a resuscitated
Somalia. Are we prepared to build a society in which all
men can treat our woman-folk complete equality and in
a spirit of free co-operation?
recent outburst by women delegates at the circus of the
decade they call peace and reconciliation conference in
Kenya, in which they blamed men for causing all the conflicts,
mayhem and misery in Somalia, should not be taken lightly.
Apparently they can take it no more.
do women feel they shouldn’t “stand up to”
or assert their independent thoughts, feelings and emotions
to rich, famous or powerful warlord? Now they rightly
feel to expose men who routinely use and abuse women in
many parts of the world, including Somalia. It is a strong
wake up call by those women at Mbagathi to other women
to stand up to men, to refuse to do things they don’t
feel comfortable doing, to keep their dignity and integrity—and
doesn’t mince words about what is likely to happen
if they don’t. Those women participants at the talks
have taken the first brave step to publicly accuse men
of oppression, sexual harassment, the shocking Pharaonic
genital mutilation, forcing young girls to marry rich
old men, murder and conspiracy of silence.
of these young girls endured verbal abuse, rage, and even
being thrown of their homes by their fathers simply because
they refused to put up with the outdated Arranged Marriage,
and eventually ended up in the streets with militia free
lancers in their daily looting and killing spree. They
lose their health from years of chewing the drug khat,
chain smoking, insomnia, malnutrition, war-weariness and
without a roof over their heads.
was outraged when I read “Hostage to the Gun”
by a Somali woman who narrowly escaped death by seconds
during the clan warfare in Mogadishu. The book recounts
a number of horrifying stories of men debasing women,
hurting them physically, emotionally and destroying their
already fragile sense of self--all under the shadow of
the revelation of this book represents only the tip of
the iceberg of violence against women and children not
only in Somalia, but in war-torn African countries, such
as Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Congo.
course I am aware some of my male readers maybe upset
by this expose, others may be ashamed of themselves mistreating
our women that, up until now, they have been hell-bent
we protected our women, perhaps some of the things that
happened to them wouldn’t have happened, instead
of seeing them only as bodies, objects for their pleasure—not
as thinking, feeling human beings with hearts, minds and
is no wonder women became Presidents, Prime Ministers
and Diplomats in a number of countries and have done and
are doing noble tasks in state affairs, far more superior
than their male counterparts who held similar offices.
the meantime thank you for reading this article with an
open mind and an open heart.
By M. M. Afrah©2003,