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By Abdiwahab A. Musse
BSc., MSc. candidate [Biochemistry: Protein Engineering and Biophysics]


Like many of my comrades whose footsteps I was following, I departed from my homeland in a beautiful sunny day. Destination was unknown and the natural anxiety of imminent danger ahead in foreign land was overwritten by a galvanizing desire which was governed by the rules of HOPE - for me, hope for higher education and mental/material empowerment, non of which I had convinced myself were available to me in my home turf. "Fifteen years", I had whispered to myself like a "wardi" to clamp the wandering soul as I waited for the fashionably late (3 hours, this day!) arrival of the nation's single plane Airbus that I was supposed to fly on. Fifteen were the chosen maximum total of years that I would have to be away from my soil in order to reach my set dreams.


To this date I can't remember how I came up with such count of years, but the majestic of the number afforded me comforting meditation that was recited countless times during those early minutes and hours of my journey. Vividly the images of Mogadishu International Airport, a rundown makeshift building that seemed in dire need of long overdue renovation or rebuilding, but whose impairments was compensated for the natural beauty of its environ and not so distant aroma of the Indian Ocean wave splashes, still remain fixated in my mind. Equally, I also have not forgotten insincere discourse I had exchanged with former statesmen, an acquaintance of my uncle who had accompanied me to the airport. "Why are you leaving your country; and to whom are you leaving it to?" said he. The exchange was not genuine because here beside me stood this former statesmen's own son waiting also to depart and accompany me on this flight. So, I spontaneously replied, "We HOPE that YOU (our elders, statesmen, and elites" will keep it together for us while WE - highlighting the presence of his son - go overseas and get the education we need for our country." With all the apprehension associated leaving loved ones and embarking on a journey of unknown destination with high HOPES, the patriotic lip serving of this former statesmen, of our failed nation, seemed to have struck me with agony to have it stayed with me so long. But I knew then and still do, the exchange was nothing more than casual chit chat around the water cooler; however, I was armed that day with HOPE and truly hoped our elders would keep the country together for us till we return - for me, after fifteen years. Sadly, not even a year had elapsed before this HOPE would evaporate and my beloved country would begin to disintegrate chaotically and the anarchy of civil war would spread like a wild fire. No statesmen, no hero, no elite, and no elder had risen up for our expressed and shared HOPE and attempted genuinely to keep it (Somalia) together. By all accounts, the events that had followed the toppling of Bare's brutal regime, in 1991, had the signs of deliberate act of not "keeping it together" and not caring at all.


Close to half the country's population were displaced, internally or externally, as a ruthless civil war had become unleashed. Genocide and merciless cruelty were committed against neighbors and fellow countrymen (not to mention fellow Muslims); and the world watched in silence. The moral fabric of our society was possibly contaminated forever and disparity was allowed to replace HOPE, as many of our most vulnerable members have fallen on to the mercy of destitute. Much like domino effect, the country's institutions crumbled and suicidal act of destruction and dismemberment against anything standing, living or otherwise, were waged. Logic had failed in Somalia and, at the beginning, the World seemed not to care, for this was a nomadic civil war that they neither knew nothing about how to intervene, who to talk to, nor what was at stake.


Indeed, indifference had fueled Somalia's down fall and the World caught the disease from us and stayed indifferent until one day the images of more than quarter of million dying children and their malnourished mother stared at them in the face from a city which earned fame as the "Death City" of Somalia, Baydhabo. Baydhabo belongs to the heart of what used to be Somalia's breadbasket region, but due to a man made catastrophic famine combined with never ending pitiless power struggle of warlords, who turned the growing fields into killing fields, it became the heart of Somalia's butchery. With these penetrating eyes of human carnage, the World could no longer bear the pain and suffering and launched what was fittingly coined as "Operation Restore Hope" under the banner of George Bush's NEW WOLRD ORDER hoop dream. Whether hope was restored in that campaign or new order was created is now a matter of the records; and so are the countless accounts of why things didn't work, what needs to be done, and how many times they were tried, since. What is evident today, though, is that after more than a decade of its disgrace, Somalia remains as divided fiefdoms were vultures (warlords and failed leaders of our past) feed on or fight over the remnants of our deed dreams and HOPE remains scarcity. Strikingly, and even more dangerous than this debacle, the fact is that the same vultures who had whole sold our dreams/institutions, raped our nation, and rendered us wandering "gypsies", with no rights and dignity, around the world and in our country, are now contracting out their killing spree to the highest bitter under the smoke screen of the WAR AGAINST GLOBAL TERRORISM. All the while, we, the people, remain ubiquitously hopeless and worthless cowards with no courage to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. How ironic is it that the World, in the name of terror eradication, is heeding the opportunistic calls of the terror networks that have kept ten million people hostage for more than a decade!


No amount of reasoning could explain how erstwhile brotherly people who share and have everything that are on the stake in common would allow themselves to reach the point of inhumanity Somalia has endured during the past decade. Some would arguably raise the point that the seeds of such hate between brotherly communities were sawed during the preceding decades of indifference to the selective prosecutions of members of our communities (policies of divide-and-rule) and that we were doomed society, only waiting the seconds to take its course and turn up our true fate. While such argument might bring about a valid premise as to how and why things went terribly wrong in our homeland, it doesn't explain as to why we continue on this path of societal suicide and suffering given the prevailing fact that despite our localities and lineage, no one seems to have escaped from our downfall and we, the people, continue to pay the price of our chosen path, with the exception of the warlords and their culprit shady business characters - the only profiteers of our carnage and suffering. To accept the argument of the seeds implanted by our ruthless past regimes as the cause (or one cause among many) of our downfall is one thing, but to stretch it and use it as an excuse to our indifference and contempt - the only two reasons I can logically recognize as the primary contributors of our enslavement and the driving force behind our continual self-destruction - of our suffering and that of fellow countrymen is a preposterous fabrication of excuses. Such line of thinking presents an impediment to our heuristic civic evaluation of our demise and eternally keeps us in circles.

It has been more than a decade since we assumed this line of existence; innumerable lives were sacrificed to our self-hate and ignorance; generations and the foundation of our nationhood have vanished. We suffered together and spared no clan, sub-clan, or quanta clan in our hate mongering; we bleed together in vain and yet, we don't seem to have learned any lesson from our blunders. What will it take us to grasp that we, the people, are in this together and while the king pins of our destructions quibble over who should hold the high post of our enslavement with our cards and blood, we remain destitute and forevermore desperate? What will it take to have us realize that while ours sons remain buried and our daughters endure the scars of indignity inflicted upon them through rape and humiliation, we stay put as a loyal followers of the perpetrator? For what purpose did we allow and continue to allow such unspeakable atrocities?

Nothing can excuse for your indifference and contempt of each other's suffering and nothing will ease your self-inflicted collective pain unless you, the people, stand up and realize your neglected common needs, wants, and HOPES. You may allow sectarian and secessionist self-serving individuals lure YOU with a mirage of localized pseudo-relieve from the pain, but you would only be perpetuating the same culture that has brought you to this point of shame and indignity and only postponing your doom day one day. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and in your collective pain you shall find serendipity and regain what you willingly lost yesterday.

No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck
Frederick Douglass

Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?

Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Patrick Henry

Abdiwahab A. Musse
BSc., MSc. candidate [Biochemistry: Protein Engineering and Biophysics]

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