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Every once in a while you worry about how to put together the only country in the world which aggressively sought its own demise. And all those brave Somalis who died during the long struggle for independence and the defence of the country from enemy invasion would have died for naught.

The last time I checked with our man in Eldoret, I came to the conclusion that there is a glimmer of light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. However, our man reported several unpleasant scenarios that the Kenyan media and the BBC decided not to report for some unknown reasons. These included a number of faction leaders who walked out on our national anthem at the beginning of the conference, which even surprised the organizers. Then there is the explicit desire by former army Generals and Colonels, made famous by the clan war, to rule what was left of the country. “As in past aborted peace talks, they are anxious to have free rein in order to maintain the status quo,” our man reported. 

“Those who walked out on Soomaaliyey Toosa do not deserve to be Somalis!’’ shouted the rest of the delegates at the conference.

As far as military rule is concerned, think back to the days when these generals and colonels, with the guiding hand of General Siyad Barre, run the country with iron fist for more than two decades. In a sense, there may be some truth in military discipline in a country like Somalia. People were forced to accept orders (or Presidential decrees) from the top brass. They had to, or else…. It was the nature of things. To disobey was like shaking death by the hand. That’s one of the reasons they remained in power for so long. Never underestimate Soldiers-turned-politicians. Whoever said that power corrupts knew what he was talking about.

But in a democracy the civil power takes precedence over the military. In many countries the military is apolitical and in certain countries they are even barred to vote in elections or join in election campaigns in their own countries. Any breath of military rule is their idea of hell. Recently a number of police officers were fired for talking politics in the US!

Meanwhile in Eldoret, many of us at home and in the Diaspora are encouraged by the attitude of the European Union representatives who clearly demonstrated at the peace talks that their respective governments will take drastic steps, including freezing the bank accounts, against those who try to derail the peace talks. (Many of the faction leaders have bank accounts and luxury villas in Europe).

The time, I believe, is ripe for the United States to assert itself and follow the foot steps taken by EU member countries and take miscreants to task for inappropriate behaviours at the Eldoret peace talks.

The truth is that there is a vacuum to be filled which must be filled, what happens now and who should fill it? There are, and will be, pretenders, like the TNG, which routinely blame the warlords for obstructing peace and stability in the country. There is, of course, an element of truth in this allegation. Technocrats, if there is a leading contender, free from clan politics, fit the bill. Some faction leaders may be trying to say something, but their track records say something else. No wonder the international media perpetually calls them Warlords.

Somalia requires leadership, courage and willingness to defect from the gun culture, if it is to survive. A leader who says what he thinks to the people without fear from the tribal elder—A leader who is not afraid of putting the tribal elders out of the loop and out of business for good. As they say in the US, it is the economy, stupid.


The big-selling Toronto Star newspaper recently published a series of damning articles against the Provincial Police Force. Going through the main points of the articles, they highlighted that if you are African Canadian, you are more likely to be arrested than if you are not.

The Star series found that when charged with simple offences black people are taken to police stations more often than whites facing the same charge. Once at the police station, accused blacks are held overnight for a bail hearing at twice the rate of whites.

The series also found that traffic offence data suggest police have been targeting black drivers in Toronto for special scrutiny. A disproportionate number of blacks, including Somali Canadians, were ticketed for minor violations that routinely surface after a stop has been made.

If you are a non-citizen, a minor offence is deadly. You could be denied immigration bail down the road. You could also be declared to pose danger to the public and deported to your war-torn country to face the Mooryaan once again.

And in the US, the Immigration Department in Washington, DC recently issued a proposal that would require Canadian landed immigrants born in 50 Commonwealth countries, Yemen, Pakistan, Sudan and a number of Middle Eastern and African countries to get visas before entering the US. Canadians of Arab descent and people with Muslim sounding names were subjected to interrogations, fingerprinting and photographing upon arrival in the United States “for security reason.”

The good news is that, for the first time since 911, Somalis are not included in these “potential terrorists”.

Canadian Immigration Minister, Denis Coderre, last week lambasted the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) on the new policy, “Is it somebody who looks different? A Muslim is potential terrorist? That’s clearly not the Canadian way and I have to look for answers here,” Mr. Coderre said angrily.

Now it is a lethal combination of RACIAL PROFILING TO RELIGIOUS PROFILING in the land of  “In God We Trust” “The Land of Liberty, The Land of the Brave and Equal Opportunity for All.”

Here is the famous poem by Emma Lazarus emblazoned on the Statute of Liberty on Ellis Island in New York:

             “Give me your tired, your poor.

              Your huddled masses yearning to breath free.

              The wretched refuse of your teeming ashore.

     Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tost to me.

     I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” 


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