THE HEAT TRIGGERS RAMBLINGS
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
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!
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