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Somalia has what Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan did not: A choice

By Zainab Nur

 

On June 14,2006 the members of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG) voted in favour of a motion to deploy foreign troops to keep the peace in Somalia. The TFG voted in particular to allow Ethiopian and Kenyan troops to participate in the Somalia mission despite fierce opposition from the general public.

 

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Unless you have been living under a rock or in a coma you are aware of the situation in Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan. You read, hear and see daily, hourly and in every moment the horrors that these poor people are enduring. You are aware of the deliberate acts of aggression such as the killing of innocent Afghanis, the bombing of Palestinian civilians, the massacre of Iraqis, Guantanmo Bay and Abu Ghraib. You are also aware of the unnecessary loss of life caused by the ignorance, arrogance, and carelessness of the powerful: the bombing of an Afghani wedding, the bombing of civilian homes in Iraq and most recently the devastating and inexcusable bombing of a Palestinian family on a Gaza beach. It is also common knowledge that both deliberate and “accidental” acts of aggression are followed by denials, excuses and elaborate cover-ups.

 

We need not look at faraway lands to bear witness to crimes and human rights violations committed by “peacekeepers” and “liberators.” The UN/US missions in Somalia during the period of 1992-94 (UNSOM, Restore Hope, and Deliverance) are examples that will forever remain in the collective memory of Somalis. Just as in Iraq and Afghanistan, Somalis witnessed deliberate aggression in the form of Pakistani troops opening fire on civilians 1, US soldiers holding women and children hostage 2 and lest we forget the brutal torture and murder of 16 year old Shidane Arron by Canadian peacekeepers. In the category of “accidental” killing we can find the US bombing of 54 Somali elders who were meeting to broker a peace deal between Aideed and the UN. Denials and cover-ups were not far behind e.g. Somalia Affair.

 

Readers might be wondering at this point why I have been mentioning Palestine, as there was no peacekeeping mission there. Those familiar with the Cedar Revolution of 2005 are aware of how Syria’s peacekeeping mission in Lebanon turned into 29 years of military and political occupation. Lebanon’s fate might be what awaits Somalia should Ethiopian and Kenyan troops be allowed to enter. Add to the mix the traditional animosity between Somalia and her neighbours, especially Ethiopia, and it would be reasonable to expect this “peacekeeping mission” to lead to Israeli style occupation and annexation of yet more of our historical land.

 

Not unlike the Palestinians, Iraqis and Afghanis, the people of Somalia are poor, war weary and in many cases have lost everything including hope. The one thing that sets Somalis apart from the other victims of peacekeeping and occupation is the fact that we have a choice. We can choose to give peace, dialogue, unity and reconciliation a chance. Somalis have the choice to take command of their own destiny and to determine the future of their country.

 

The people of Iraq did not choose the “shock and awe” campaign that has destroyed their homes, killed their children, exploited their resources, stole parts of their history (Museum looting) and divided their nation. Although the people of Afghanistan were suffering under the Taliban, their lives are no better now that they are being occupied by “peacekeepers.” The people of Palestine also did not choose the curfews, roadblocks, bulldozing, bombings and other conditions of the occupation.

 

Will we as Somalis choose to roll out the red carpet for our enemies? Will we allow our people to be massacred, our children starved and our women violated? Will we give up the independence and sovereignty that our forefathers fought for? Will we submit to colonization and occupation?

 

As Somalis we must make a choice; while we still have one.

 

Ps: The events of June 17, 06 are further proof of Ethiopia’s agenda in Somalia.

 

1) In retaliation for the murder of 25 Pakistani troops by Aideed’s supporters.

2) The soldiers were under attack in a house so they kept the women and children hostage  to protect themselves.

 

Zainab Nur

E-mail: [email protected]


     

   

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