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TALKING POINT : ON THE LIMITS OF SURVIVAL

TALKING POINT BY
M.M. AFRAH
Toronto (Canada)

April, 8. 2004


ON THE LIMITS OF SURVIVAL

Email: afrah95@hotmail.com
M. M. Afrah

If one compares the genocide in Rwanda to what had happened in Somalia one reminds him or her the Syrian proverb that goes: "I had no shoes; and I was sad; but then I met a man who had no feet." Nearly one million Tutsi and politically moderate Hutus have been hacked to death by Hutu extremists known as Interhamwe death squads. Paradoxically, many people in the West are still reluctant to use the word 'Genocide" vis-à-vis the wholesale massacre in Rwanda as if the word is monopoly to certain non-African war victims.

World leaders, including Kofi Annan, who was in charge of UN peace keeping forces at the time, and former US President Bill Clinton ignored the world's worst tragedy since World War Two, and only half-heartedly apologize now, ten years later!

It is said that the worst enemy is always the desperate one who has nothing to lose. The Hutu leaders were fully as ruthless as the Nazi Germans who used the deadly Zyklon B gas to eliminate the Jews in concentration camps during World War Two. The Nazis called it "The Final Solution" to the Jewish question, according to documents captured by the American armed forces and their allies.

Adolf Hitler has decreed their end, and his will was law. To the Hutu extremist leaders, the Tutsis appeared as their ultimate enemies. They called them "cockroaches" and must be exterminated without mercy. To the Somali warlord other clans are the enemies of his own clan and should be dealt with by all the means at his disposal, including murder, rape, arson, and looting.

The Hutu death squads used machetes and all types of home made weapons to eliminate the Tutsis ten years ago. In Somalia on the other hand the warlords used sophisticated weapon stockpiles, originally intended to defend the country from external aggression, including multiple rocket launchers, mortars, long-range artillery guns, bazookas and RPG7s. No photograph, records or documents are available to give us a clear picture of what had happened or the number of civilians eliminated by the warlords and their minions, to horrify the world, notwithstanding few headlines in the Western newspapers and prime time TV, that forced former President Bush, Senior, to send 28,000 Marines and Army Rangers in what was described as the world's first military intervention on humanitarian ground.

In Rwanda thousands of human remains are displayed publicly to remind people men's cruelty against their fellow human being. All these gruesome events are a black chapter in the tale of man's inhumanity to man. On the other hand victims of the clan warfare in Somalia were hurriedly buried in shallow graves or in mass burial grounds, like the one at Jesira Beach. The city of Mogadishu, once described as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean had turned into a vast graveyard.

Today the deference between Somalia and Rwanda is that the later is back on track in full gear, while the people in Somalia are still resigned to their situation. They are on the limits of survival. As soon as one reads the sad news emanating from Somalia one senses the hopelessness of the situation.

Somalia is a country that has experienced most of the disasters a place can suffer in the last 30 years, both in terms of human conflicts and natural disasters. The military dictatorship, and the numerous unending clan warfare had destroyed all the infrastructures and social structure, and the people have had little chance to rebuild in the short intervals of premature ceasefires. The warlords, like the military dictator, suppress any opposition by unleashing their unsavory zombie-like militia to strike back relentlessly.

However, the long awaited good news is that anti-warlord popular demonstrations have been taking place in Mogadishu for the first time, calling the warlords to immediately end their boycott of the peace talks and rejoin the conference in Nairobi, unconditionally

Several thousands Somalis demonstrated in Mogadishu Stadium demanding that the faction leaders/warlords expedite the on-going peace talks in Kenya. "The message from the demonstrators called on faction leaders who boycotted the talks to respect an earlier agreement signed in Eldoret (the first venue of the talks) in 2002, in which they committed themselves to a ceasefire and promoting the peace process," Abdullahi Shirwa, head of PEACELINE, one of the organizers of the demonstration, told IRIN news agency.

The warlords still resist the popular demand, and are threatening renewed clan warfare with their newly acquired weaponry.

"But it is not going to be easy to destroy Somalia," according to an old man who had lived through it all, and who is lucky to be alive. "That has already been done," he added, implying that there is nothing left to destroy.

That said, reports say some of the defiant warlords are already recruiting hundreds of children and young men from destitute families to carry out their nefarious work. They appear to push ahead their own agenda despite pressure from IGAD and the international community to end the current stalemate that could become a source of farther instability, and urged them to reconsider their position for the interest of the Somali people.

Gaining the interest and support of the global community is paramount to achieving lasting peace and economic reconstruction, and ignoring or defying them is another disaster in the making,

If only we could convince our accusers that our long-suffering people were never involved in international terrorism or the attack of September 11th. Who can forget those last phone calls to their loved ones, never to be heard from them again? We argue patiently and for years that there are no international terrorists in Somalia. We also argued that we should find out WHY some people resort to terrorism to hurt themselves as well as innocent bystanders in the process.
We must make some efforts to try and eradicate the causes through what is called "winning the heart and mind of the people," instead of marginalizing them in their own countries. It's as simple as that.

Yes, there are, of course, terrorists in Somalia, but these are homegrown known as Mooryaan who are even more lethal than the international terrorists. A final solution to the Mooryaan question would be highly appreciated by the vulnerable people of Somalia, who have nowhere else to turn for protection.

By M. M. Afrah©2004
Email: afrah95@hotmail.com


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