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The Asmara Gathering; An epilog to the intricate crises in Somalia

“Oppressors tend to learn nothing from history unless shocked into a rude awakening,” Hussein A. Bulhan


by Abdi Dirshe

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On September 1, 2007 Somalis will join together in Asmara, Eritrea to envision a nation which is born of the people's concerted efforts and which embodies the real aspirations of the people of Somalia, as our people have long suffered. December of last year was a rude awakening for most Somalis. Somalia’s dignity, sovereignty and territorial integrity have been forcibly violated in utter disregard of all international laws and norms.

Ethiopia, a historical enemy has crossed our borders with the logistical and military support of the U.S. government and the diplomatic and financial aid of the European Union and the U.N., negating Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity under international law.

Ethiopian troops murdered our men, raped our women, and abused our children, they have displaced our civilian population, and destroyed our homes, arrested our religious leaders and intellectuals by the shiploads, sending them to Addis Ababa’s torture dungeons, a process known as a rendition, as well as committing war crimes and crimes against humanity as documented by international and local NGOs and human rights organizations.

As the world watches, Ethiopia and its U.S. ally are engaged in collective punishments of our civilian population in Mogadishu and in many other areas of Somalia. There are daily reports of killings, rape, robbery and displacement of our people. The ruthless way the Ethiopian troops are conducting the war in Somalia is causing an immense loss of human lives. This endless brutal repression was aimed at destroying and uprooting all the social and economic power of the society to pave the way for the installation of unpopular puppet regime to enforce the policies of Somalia’s enemies. Businesses are faced with daily bombings and harassments, media centres are forced to close and journalists are either threatened or killed as has been happening since the invasion. The inept leadership of the TFG chose servitude over public service; they have equally ceded their responsibility towards their country. If the creation of the TFG was to serve the needs of the Somali people, it has failed miserably. Its function has been reduced to the participation in the killing, displacement and the destruction of its people by its Ethiopian masters. A government that drives its people to such desperate conditions is one that is morally corrupt and ought not exist.


Many Somalis are realizing that the Ethiopian invasion was never meant to be a temporary measure and their hope for a speedy Ethiopian exit was never part of the plan and waiting for a peaceful end to the savage killings of our people is futile. Oppressors tend to learn nothing from history unless shocked into a rude awakening as said by Hussein A. Bulhan in his essay in Rethinking Fanon, Revolutionary Psychiatry of Fanon. Many Somalis are disturbed by the blind support of the United States and its western allies to this mayhem and the dismemberment of the Somali state. The deep cultural fear of Islam in the psyche of western nations, many suspect, is what drives them to support Ethiopia to commit genocide and war crimes against the people of Somalia with impunity.  The evidence can’t and will not be explained away no matter how they try to spin it.  This is increasing the resolve of the Somali people.


There is a growing social ferment in Somalia as Somalis fight back against this atrocious and vicious violence against the people of Somalia. Indeed, this has given rise to a new nationalism among Somalis at large. They reject the bogus 4.5 system cooked in Ethiopia to divide the Somali people. Our nation is not defined by one’s tribe origin, but our common language, religion, land and culture. In September of this year a national conference is scheduled to take place in Asmara. It offers a great opportunity to restore our nation’s territorial integrity, our dignity and reestablish our nationhood.  Delegations will come from all over the world representing the young and the old, women groups, the intellectuals, the political movements and Somalis living in the Diaspora. This offers great hope to the future of our nation and will undoubtedly reawaken our national conscious.

‘Dalka sow anigu ma lihi, dalka sow anigu ma lihi?

Gumeystaha dhacaayaa geeridu dhibeysaa

Ninkii dhoof ku yimidna wuu dhaqaaqi doonaa

Dhulka sow anigu ma lihi?’

The writer is a founding member of the Somali Diaspora Network and a long time humanitarian/peace activist. You can reach him at [email protected]

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