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By Ali Said Faqi


I followed with great interest the publicized ceremony of the handover of the lower Shabelle to the ICU that was held in Afgoye on September 30, 2006. The ceremony was well organized and seems to be well attended. I was personally touched by the Speech of Mr. Indha Adde, particularly when he asked the public to be judged on his actions and requested for forgiveness. I believe that was a sincere statement and I applauded for his courage. Though he commended himself of doing a great job and to have provided financial support to ICU, money he unveiled to have been collected from the poor people of Lower Shabelle; however, he never discussed or admitted that his administration was from its inception an illegal one that exploited the locals as well as the resources of the region.  I had the impression also that the participants of the ceremony deliberately ignored the quandary of the natives of the region and the pain they endured for the last 16 years. In fact no one addressed the abuses and the humiliations inflicted to the indigenous people of the region. Instead every one who spoke rather chose to heavily condemn the public uproar that was directed towards the special treatment of the illegal administration of Lower Shabelle and called the criticism unwarranted maintaining the illegal administration of Mr. Indha Adde to have granted safety to the region.  It must however, be stressed out that even the illegal administration of JVA was able to provide a relative safety to Kismayu, but yet the ICU still decided to go ahead and take over the city by force. This double standard approach of dealing with identical issues and lack of empathy from the ICU leaders really contradicts to the Islamic basic principles and raises a great deal of misgivings.


Regardless of all these incongruities the show seemed to be going well as planned until Mr. Sheikh Shariif came to the podium. The spokesperson of the ICU has created a paradox when he officially called for a moratorium to the handover of the region.  As usual Mr. Sheikh Shariif is a man of nice words; he likes preaching before he gets to the real point to find ways to confuse his listeners.   But this time we were very smart to read not only his lips, but also understand his maneuver. It was a very disappointing moment for many of us who are really committed to see a positive change in Somalia in general and in particular, the Lower Shabelle.  Indeed, we were obligated to give the benefit of doubt to the ICU until we realized that it was a sham ceremony intended to blind and fool the public.  In the last 3-4 months the ICU instituted Islamic administrations led by the locals in many districts outside of Mogadishu including Balad, Jowhar, Bulo- Burte, and Beledweyne. I honestly question why the handover of the lower Shabelle to its native should go through three phases as stated in the speech of Sheikh Shariif.  It is my gut feeling that at the end nothing will ever change. I wish history to prove me wrong.


If the brutal exploitation of unarmed clans in the South is not an urgent issue for the ICU, I greatly doubt their seriousness to resolve Somali crises. As I alluded in one of my previous articles, the illegal occupation in the lower Shabelle is a cancer for the ICU and unfortunately it failed for the third time to grasp the golden opportunity to be a trusted religious organization committed to the justice of Somalia. I will still insist until proven wrong that clan allegiance has once again superseded the faith.


 The wishy-washy attitude of the ICU towards the Lower Shabelle region is a clear sign of the ICU’s weakness towards distinguishing between faith and clan loyalty. The lower Shabelle is known to have the highest religious scholars in any region of Somalia. For those of you who are not aware, I like to jog your memory that SHEIKH AWEYS AL-QADIRI- the father of Islam in Somalia was born and raised in Lower Shabelle. Cities like Merca and Barawe in the Lower Shabelle used to be or are still the Mecca of Islam in Somalia. It is very clear that the natives of this region are not atheist or unbelievers, but their misery lies to the fact that they live in one of the finest area of Somalia. The discrimination of the natives of the South is a matter of survival for the occupiers and I doubt that they will ever release the region. Let us remind ourselves that this is Somalia, a country consumed by vicious wind of hatred and clan ideology based on domination of others. 


On another note, I like to extend my support and admiration to the most beloved Somali cartoonist, Amin Amir who has done a stunning job educating the public with his political cartoons.  Amin is well known to draw cartoons related to the most current issues of Somalia and his cartoons does not portray only the ICU’s flawed process, but also the TFG. A quick review of Mr. Amin’s cartoons would show that he has exposed cartoons related to pertinent issues in Somaliland and Puntland as well.  The curse of Sheikh Shariif to Amin Amir will not intimidate us as we live in countries where the freedom of expression is the basic rights of every citizen. Sheikh Shariif must realize that he is no more a public school teacher in Mogadishu, but a national figure and he will be criticized or praised based on his political actions and performance. I am appalled by his continuous attempt to silence his critics.  In a previous occasion he called the public to refrain themselves from passing judgments to the illegal administration in Lower Shabelle. Mr. Sharif’s latest attempt to silence Mr. Amir raises a lot of questions about his real personality. His words are those of an inexperienced politician, I am quite sure under his authority; the public might not be allowed to express their personal views. Finally, I like to remind him that Somalia is not a property of a specific community, but it is a country belonging to all of us including him. If you hate to be publicly criticized, the best choice for you will be to stay away from politics. Yesterday’s show in Afgoye was nothing, but a farce. I believe Amin Amir would have been the best man to express yesterday’s event in one simple cartoon than what I did in these two pages, but that is his talent which I greatly admire.


Dr. Ali Said Faqi

[email protected]


The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "Hiiraan Online"

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