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By M. M. Afrah
(Toronto - Canada , Oct 21, 2002)

Much has been written lately about Somali peace talks that have gone bananas since 1993. As a matter of fact these so-called peace talks caused nothing but more grief and suffering in the Land of Sorrows.

There’s good reason for this. None of the participants was interested a semblance of peace to return to Somalia for obvious reason. Many of them massacred thousands of innocent civilians and expropriated farms and prime estate properties whose legitimate owners fled the country in the immediate aftermath of the civil/clan wars.

No matter where we start, the subject always keeps coming back to square one—no deal.

But last week I received an interesting letter from one of our readers who sounds as if he’s got his feet squarely on the ground.

I reprint, with permission and an edited, the full text of his letter to share it with others at

Dear Mr. Afrah,

Clan reconciliation in the past have been the stumbling block in Somalia since 1993, because the powerful warlords always believed that they can dictate the terms and conditions of any peace talks or else…

As a matter of fact most of the warlords currently attending at the Eldoret talks derailed all the 14 peace talks in the past and no one in Somalia and in the Diaspora expects they would cooperate in this one either. There are already reports that some of them, with the help of Meles Zenawi, are working behind the scenes in a parallel meeting in a Eldoret hotel with the aim of rendering the current peace talks fruitless, just like the previous ones. Most of these warlords are bad guys chasing bad guys, Mafia-style. The general consensus is that they have taken Somalia back to medieval barbarism.

The country is awash with weapons of all types and calibers and it beats me why the United Nations Security Council failed to reinforce its own resolution on arms embargo against Somalia. Apparently, one or two members of the Permanent Security Council have been colluding with the armament industries in their respective countries.

Many Somalis at home and in the Diaspora believe that these warlords should have been airlifted to remote penal colonies, thousands of miles away instead of Eldoret. Better still, they should have been airlifted to Arusha War Crimes Tribunals to face charges against them. Only then Somalia will enjoy peace and stability.”

Khalif Mohamed Diriye,

Buffalo, Western New York.

That’s right, Khalif—it is all the warlords’ fault, the UN Security Council and the international armament industry. For a starter, the citizens, especially the youth ought to just rise up and overthrow the faction leaders once and for all. If they did it before (in 1991) they can do it now. But then again, I am pretty fuzzy about what is wrong with our youth today. Obviously, they have been duped and drugged by these faction leaders.

To our youth, here are lines of a Gabay by Salaan Carrabey generally regarded as one of the most versatile Somali poets in the nineteenth century:

“If you die, sometimes death is better than life of shame,

Sometimes prosperity and repletion are degrading and vile.”

This poem which is entitled “Geeridu mar bay nolosha dhaantaa ye” has been applied to further the cause of Somali nationalism and it became popular in the Somali Peninsula during the struggle for independence.


The latest report from Eldoret says that the Kenyan organizers are shaking their heads in disbelief over the number of wannabe faction leaders and their entourages who arrived in the small town in Western Kenya, uninvited, while intellectuals, youth and women’s organizations have been left in the lurch.

These civic organizations strove for a homogenous national state, free from the cancer of tribalism and warlordism. They emphasize that every Somali belongs to the Somali State, irrespective of clan origin. These include the Rahan-weyn, the Reer Hamar, the Baravans and the Jareer (the so-called Somali Bantus) who contributed the economy, but were marginalized by successive regimes since independence in 1960. Many of them, with no means with which to defend themselves against predators from other provinces, are mercilessly massacred in the clan wars. These people, more than any others in Somalia, are renowned for their hard work, entrepreneurship and harmony. But that balance was shattered in 1991 when the warlords turned the guns on each other and on innocent civilians, including the country’s minorities.

Despite the tragedy the majority of these wronged people say they want peace, and not revenge.

By M. M. Afrah©

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