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TALKING POINT By M.M. Afrah, Toronto, (Canada)

The Fear Factor is a relationship many people have with their past. It may be frequent family squabbles over inheritance, bankruptcy or failure in life that ultimately lead to suicide in many Western societies, despite professional help (psychiatrists) to get past the trauma.

Suicide is a very rare phenomenon in Somali society, because Islam does not sanction it as a last resort. Nevertheless, it is a known maxim that the worst thing to fear is fear itself.

Some self-styled white “specialists” in Somali affairs claim that the Somalis are talkative, loud-mouthed, easily become irritated, and don’t give damn about improving their lives on this planet. Of course some of the delusions are simply malicious. At worst, they are downright racism. Loud mouthed? Yes. The famous French novelist, Victor Hugo once wrote that one has to be vocal if one wants to get what he wants or to attract attention from his friends and foes. As we know the French, like the Italians, unlike the British (with their stiff upper lip) are vocal and very expressive people.

The colonial administrators, to suit a purpose at a given moment based the assumption that the Somalis, as a whole, are insubordinate, compared to other black people in the Continent.

This image is merely based on the fact that the Somalis, by nature, refused to bow to the wishes of arrogant white colonial administrators who divided and ruled their fragmented country, which reminds me of Abdullahi Qarshe’s wake up call: “Somaaliyey Kakacoy, Kakacoy, Kama, Kama Yimidee.” Somalis in the Northwest nicknamed Kama, Kama a British colonial administrator who hated the Somalis, just because they refused to bow to him. Kama is the Kiswahili word of “If”. His catch phrase was: “If you don’t do this or that I will….” He was a District Commissioner in Kenya before he was posted to the then British Somaliland in the 1950s. The BBC quoted him as saying that the Somalis are arrogant and ungovernable. He was accustomed to docile Africans in Kenya.

And in the South, there was a British administrator in Mogadishu during the British Military Administration in Somalia        (BMS) after World War Two that the Somalis nicknamed him “Fakin Fakin” (Fucking, Fucking). His regular outburst was “Fucking Somalis,” because he too hated the Somalis for refusing, among other draconian measures, to pay poll tax or head tax which set in motion the popular uprising against the British Military Administration known as Dhagax Tuur in which many Somalis lost their lives. But that is another story.

Close to today’s home front, 99 per cent of the Somali people are victims of what medical science defines as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Syndrome (PTSDS) as a result of the unending vicious circle of violence never seen in our history. Bickering, war of meaningless words, mistrust, suspicion and baseless accusations is the main menu that automatically gives us an excuse to rush to the gun at home or to the computer in the Diaspora. “You had insulted my clan!” is the war cry, as if his clan gave him the mandate to protect them.  A minor disagreement could trigger off widespread bloodshed. I imagine that the person who coined the famous phrase “we agreed to disagree” must have been a Somali!

Was Siyad Barre’s dictatorial policy negative? Some people may ask. Yes. But his only lasting legacy is the writing of the Somali language that hitherto faced a lot of hindrance by people with vested interests, whether tribal, religion or whatever. In connivance with some Arab countries, a number of religious preachers in their Friday sermons called the Latin script that was adopted as “Laa Diin” (without religion, or no religion in Arabic.), probably unaware that other Muslim countries like Turkey and Indonesia have also adopted the Latin script for their national languages. After all not all Arabs are Muslims. At the same time the General did not waste time to sow the seeds of conflict that is being harvested today by people who rebuff common sense, political compromise and diplomacy.

He had ruled the country by decree and he was master of making his decrees go through. No question is asked. The opponents of the Latin script made palms-up and went home. They knew General Barre was not to be taken lightly.

Nevertheless, I warmly welcome any constructive criticism from my valued readers. I only wish they could do their homework properly and use the grammar and spell checks provided by their computer software. Next week we will discuss the question of WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF MOGADISHU AND BAIDOA (The City of Death). So watch out and make your own assessments without bias or favour.

SOMAALIYEY TOOSA should be our permanent wake up call, no matter what happens. WE SHALL OVERCOME, as Martin Luther King Jr. used to say. Like Martin Luther King Jr. I have a dream that one day we shall have a born again Somalia.

By M.M. Afrah,



I mentioned several times that those who committed war crimes and other human rights violation must be brought before the Arusha and The Hague ad hoc war crimes tribunals. These tribunals are mandated for the persecution of certain war crimes, i.e. former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.


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