Today from Hiiraan Online:  _
Ads By Google
Between The Bomb and my Pen

Abdi-Noor Hagi Mohamed
Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Ads By Google
 a result of the seemingly unending war in Somalia people continue to suffer from the prolonged political deadlock, which has been going on since the country fell in the hands of feuding warlords seventeen years ago. Out from war Somalis have acquired a great deal of experience which helped them build a mechanism to cope with the hectic insecurity and survival challenges posed upon them by daily life.


One day while diving for cover to escape flying bullets in Mogadishu’s Bakaraha market, I dashed into a small kiosk located right inside the pavement. In the last two decades, business stalls grew on the roadsides like mushroom for reasons mainly related to getting better security but largely believed to be a sign of defying law and order. 


Being caught in a cross fire I came to understand that I have arrived the wrong place at the wrong time, accusing myself of failing to calculate the risks carefully enough before leaving my house. But it was too late to squander time in such wasteful accusations.  


 Before the TFG siege of Bakaraha, which lasted more than three weeks, the market has been widely believed to be the safest spot in Mogadishu which offered protection and security to all inhabitants of the city regardless of their tribal or clan origins.  That is why  we are instinctively guided to the direction of the Bakaraha even at times when we had not so important errands to attend in the market.


 In Mogadishu people live with tired souls craving for peace like a nomad in a dry area whose gut feelings are tuned to the nearest place he could fetch water. Though I did not have any specific obligation to visit Bakaraha that day, I just made an abrupt move knowing little or virtually nothing of what was coming on the road for me. It was a hasty move to satisfy an urge and a deeply-felt impulse that was brewing in my subconscious mind.


But soon as I arrived Bakaraha, I was greeted with the terrifying sound of bomb explosion and subsequent shootings exchanged between Ethiopian-supported TFG soldiers and unknown militia, (but known widely as the insurgents), operating clandestinely in the city to dislodge the government.


In the ensuing scuttle, I have lost my pen. It was not the expensive type of pens which most of today’s politicians use for show-off, but it was just an ordinary pen “BIG” which is the most commonly used one in Somalia. My feelings for any pen marked “BIG” are quite strong as they flush out pleasant memories of childhood days when I felt proud using it in the classroom.  


But now my pen was not in the school. It was lost in the Bakaraha and unfortunately it was spending time with the wrong companion as it has found itself lounging on a filthy sand dampened by showers of monsoon rains. And worse still it lied beside a Bomb which was half buried and barely showed its jagged surface.  


The two have started talking.

Your name...” said the Pen

“A Bomb, but call me F1, and you?

“PEN” but just say “BIG”


BIG broke the ice by setting a mood for conversation

 “You look to be an alien in Somalia, F1. You are not grown in here as a crop
Nor were you manufactured in the Somali factories. You must be a foreigner. Please tell me which country you originate from and how you have ended up in Somalia"


F1 grinned sarcastically, saying “Of the two of us, you are an alien”, adding
We (Bombs) are plenty in here while you are so few and lack any numerical importance in this war-ridden nation.
May I ask you “BIG” what are you doing in Somalia?”


 “I am the voice of peace and I am here to defend it from being destroyed by war” said BIG.


“What are you talking about? Peace?” Where is peace? To have peace there must be justice first. And we are here to avoid justice from having any sound footing on Somali soil. . Light and darkness cannot descend at one time on the same locale.  If you are talking about light then you should wait until the sun rises” F1 raised its voice to intimidate BIG”, adding “if you speak of peace again I shall explode” 


"No No please" PEN pleaded for mercy


BIG remains under the captivity of F1 which sometimes threatens to go off, and other times feeds PEN with classified information by disclosing reports related to how many types of weapons are in Mogadishu, where they did come from, who provided them and who are the main actors of arming Somali warring factions. PEN also receives information related to TFG plans to raze Mogadishu and dismantle the economic and educational institutions in the pretext of fighting with insurgents without weighing options before they chose that insane decision.


Bomb secretly informed PEN that the Ethiopians or better say the “Occupiers” are in the opinion of the existence of a widespread terror web in Somalia which has been flourishing during the years of no government in Somalia. Bomb added that routing a group of Islamic extremists is no solution to ending Ethiopias fears of an extremist government at their backyard. Bomb said that the Ethiopians are looking forward to an entire makeover of the Somali people in terms of culture, politics and religion. As they see TFG as a spent force which cannot survive beyond its mandate, Bomb continued, they are engaged in a frenzied search for another group who might loyally serve their interests when the TFG leaves the scene.   


Bomb pumped PEN with a great deal of information covering insurgent’s actions and bombing raids, pretending to target TFG but systematically take aim on areas predominantly inhabited by civilians as part of their tactics to create an uprising or otherwise de-link the people from a government that has already lost support of its people. BOMB says “ the insurgents who use us for multi-purpose have a very narrow vision as regards to the prevailing political situation of Somalia.


“The insurgents vow to continue fighting till the Ethiopians end their occupation in Somalia. I wonder what they mean with these rhetoric statements that lack any substance of logic. The Ethiopians invaded Somalia and routed them till they (insurgents) disappeared in the forests of Raskiamboni where they were later bombarded by US planes. Who came to their rescue when they were undergoing all this pain? Eritrea was there and had shown great loyalty to the clerics but did not have the muscle to stot the Ethiopians.


Bomb went on saying “ Suppose the Ethiopians have left Somalia and the clerics assumed full responsibility of their country. Who will stop the Ethiopians from coming back again and dislodge clerics if they try to impose strict Sharia laws. If the sheiks are people with strong religious and patriotic convictions they should make concessions for the sake of their country or keep fighting till a force of international level that counterbalance Ethiopia sympathizes with them”


“That is right but what would you say to the TFG” asked PEN


“TFG is just an empty Ethiopian vessel. It can make noises but never can it make a sound of its own. So don’t waste time speaking with the government. Concluded BOMB

“What about the ongoing reconciliation conference” PEN asked again


And Bomb replied softly with a smile “ While I am in Somalia, never expect any peace. As for the reconciliation conference I wish to say all reconciliation conferences in Somalia that are held in my presence give people the expectation of bringing the dark years to an end but only prolong the duration of misery in Somalia.


These conferences are rays that never shine or rain that never wet. To expect any positive outcome of the reconciliation conference is a dream vanishing in the horizon of illusive desires”. Concluded BOMB, adamantly refusing to release my PEN. I admire your support, dear reader  if you join me in the struggle for PEN’s freedom.


"What about bitter statements made by the Arab League calling Ethiopia to pull out from Somalia?" Asked PEN, hurling a number of as fast as it could to its kidnapper


"Arab League" retorted Bomb " Don't make me laugh please. Whatever the Arabs say is nothing more than a storm in the cup"


With all this information divulged to PEN and transferred to me in the form of telepathy, there is no single line, clause or article that shows any concerns to the grave humanitarian condition of the masses. No group worries about the plight of the Somali people perishing in the war or fleeing their houses when Ethiopian tanks spit fire on them or insurgents throw hand grenades in the market places where high civilian casualty is reported on daily basis.


 Increasing risks on the Somali waters due to pirates aggravated the deteriorating humanitarian condition of Somalia. One groups is involved in uprooting people from their homes while the other is imposing unnecessary restrictions to deny food from reaching the dying masses. And sometimes shooting takes place while distribution is underway resulting the death of women and children. And those who escaped the bullet would die slowly in their shacks from hunger, acute starvation and disease.

The inhumane actions of both sides constitute crimes against humanity as they are carrying out genocide to the Somalis particularly the most vulnerable communities in Somalia: The minorities.   It is disgustingly painful to see how the eyes of the world are open to Darfur while letting Somalia roll over a mountain of despair like a smooth pebble speeding downwards into an ocean of despondency without anybody’s notice. 

|Abdi-Noor Mohamed
Writer and Filmmaker
Mogadishu, somalia
[email protected]

Click here