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By M. M. Afrah

I can’t seem to stay focused these days. It’s damn hot. So today’s ramblings are just that. Ramblings. Hazy, blurred thoughts. No wonder most of our American and Canadian hosts go half-naked, each clutching a bottle of Evian water with one hand and their beloved pets on the other. And did you know Evian spelled backwards is Naïve?

My white neighbour believes we are right to go about our daily businesses in our birthday suits in Africa. I told him that’s Hollywoodism and the old Tarzan movies. Like, most of his countrymen he is still obsessed with the movie Black Hawk Down. But I pointed out to him that none of the gunmen in the movie is a Somali national and that many of us are in the process of suing the producers of Black Hawk Down for misrepresenting and stereotyping the Somali people. In the movie the soldiers called the gunmen “skinnies”, but watching them closer none of them is skinny, but husky with distinct Bantu physical features and throaty voices!

In their physical features Somalis are usually tall (not skinny), their heads long and narrow in shape, and their skin colour varying from light brown with a reddish tinge to dark black with tender dark/brown hair. None of the men shown in the movie remotely looked like a Somali or even the so-called Somali Bantus. Unfortunately, I could not convince many Canadians and Americans about these glaring blunders on the part of Hollywood honchos. To them all blacks are the same!             

                        SOMALI POLITICS

Close to home, Somali politics always seems to most of us a confusion dreamed up by little boys playing at war. The Generals and the Colonels-turned faction leaders (they would scourge you for calling them warlords, a term they deny with vehemence) are brilliant on the battlefield, killing innocent civilians and disrupting normal life in the process, but lacked imagination politically. Nobody knows what honour means to them. All they believe is Aniga, Aniga and of course power.

A British author once wrote that the Somalis love when their leaders act democratically, as long as it’s not done too often. “They are just ruthless about different things—murderous idealists,” he wrote. But then he was describing the behavior of Zayyid Mohamed Abdille Hassan, who the British called the “The Mad Mullah” after they became wuzzy from whisky at their exclusive clubs and golf courses in far away England.

The Sheikh refused to kowtow in front of the British Colonial Officials, after killing Colonel Richard Corfield in the battlefield. This is true, for example of his poem “The Death of Richard Corfield” which is recited throughout the Somali Peninsula – from the Gulf of Aden to the Somali inhabited Northeastern Province of Kenya. The memory of his struggle is still very much alive today. Many of us may have reservation about the antics of the Sheikh, but he was, by general consent, a most effective leader, poet and warrior in living memory.

It is worth mentioning here that some Northern clansmen resisted the Sayyid’s call to arms against the usurping “infidels”, especially those of the longer established Qaadariya Muslim Brotherhood which the Sayyid sought to supplant with his own Order, the Saalaxiya.

Was the Sheikh a tribalist, a demagogue? I do not know.

On other hand, the modern-day Somali leaders are neither politicians, poets nor warriors against foreign invaders. On the contrary, they promptly rush to Somalia’s arch-enemy in the Horn of Africa for more deadly weapons, advice and behind-the-scene machinations. Someone said that we Somalis are too arrogant to work together in order to solve our own problems without outside mediation. As many of us are aware, these mediators are two sides of the same coin.

I have been questioning the emphasis of letting governments who do not have the Somali interest at heart to solve our problems for us. I don’t believe in it. If the Sayyid and Ahmed Gurey lived today, they might feel the same.

Now you know that somewhere, someone is scooping points for putting more fuel on the Somalia flame and I’m looking forward to seeing a small country like Somalia with five presidents, five vice-presidents and five prime ministers, not to mention hundreds of cabinet ministers and ministers of state! (Sorry, it’s the heat. Seriously!), but we are already looking at it.

For 12 years we’ve looked foolish to the world because we allowed a bunch of dishonest thugs and their cohorts to easily lead us to believe that the clan is everything and that we must fight tooth and nail to protect it from other “enemy” clans.

Our dream leaders should be men and women who must stand above personal feelings, instead of degenerate puppets and clan worshippers; this way the country will be saved from farther destruction and disintegration.

By M. M. Afrah © 2002


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