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Future on Fire

Abdi-Noor  Mohamed
Saturday, December 01, 2007

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The sound of the terrifying rocket bombs, the screams of the wounded civilians, the harsh conditions of survival, the increasing rate of displacement, the pain of living without life, the escalating security crisis, the mounting build-up of tension, the insensitiveness of the international community, the increasing Ethiopian reinforcements which make a daily push into the city, the massacare of genocide proportions, the dying kids gasping for a last breath etc. constitute a huge gain on the part of the TFG warlord-government and the Islamic insurgent.  

To them, the pain and the suffering of the people is a potential source of stability to further consolidate their greed for power using women and children nothing more than a heap of firewood aimed at fuelling their insane wars. 
Few weeks ago before I left Mogadishu, (now I am in Europe ), a man called me from the middle of a cluster of shacks inhabited by displaced populations. "My son" he started while scratching gently his not-so long grey beard  “I am going to die few minutes from now and I don’t have much time to explain everything for you. Do a favour for me, my son. Please write my WILL (Dardaaran in Somali). "What"? I asked, feeling shocked.  "Look at that lane branching off the road along the Geed Hinid tree.... just over there, well beside that half-broken light pole overlooking the obliterated wall near the makeshift hut" Peering into the dampened pathway which glistened in the scorching Mogadishu sun, I saw Islamic insurgents assembling their Hobiye rocket launcher preparing themselves to supply sort of a ritual-like daily attack to Villa Somalia.

The old man who tried to stay calm in the face of danger demonstrated courage in his talk though the look in his eyes has betrayed him as they defied his wishes to inject a veneer of valour in his voice. ”I can in no way stop these boys to use this camp as a base to launch rockets nor can I pack up and leave the place in time to escape a more aggressive response from the Ethiopians. Please take up the pen before it is too late and write The Will for me".  unfortunately while we were in the middle of the talk, the militia fired a rocket and forced us to run as we dived for cover. They took aim at Villa Somalia but instead of hitting Abdullahi Yusuf and his Ethiopians, their mortar bomb exploded in a house occupied by innocent civilians who were neither guilty of cooperating with the TFG nor posed any threat to the Islamic courts and their extermination campaign. 

Their blind attack resulted in the death of a mother and her three children who lived near the dilapidated National Theatre as reported immediately by FM local radios. 15 minutes later a retaliatory rocket attack sent by the Ethiopians landed in the camp causing heavy human and material causalty. I was not able to immediately go back to the site to find out if the old man and his family had perished in the unprecise Ethiopian shooting. However,  I managed to visit the place several  days later when there was a lull and corridors of safety have been re-opened.

To my dismay half of the camp has been burned and there was no single hut I could see in the devastated area. All makeshift shacks have been reduced to ashes. I did not know the fate of the old man and his family till I saw him accidentally at the Ceelahs Biyaha along the road between Afgoi and Mogadishu where no less than a million people have been displaced by the inhuman shellings and bombardments raging in Mogadishu. The memory of that incident and more of its sort had left an ache in the depths of my soul. Though I have left the place few weeks ago, the nasty experiences of war, drought and the futile attemp of blackmail by close associates will fill volumes of my future literary work.

Somalia deserves to be spared from further blood shed. It deserves to be re-built within the frame of peace, justice and preservation of human rights. But that seems beyond our reach so long as one faction bombs civilians indiscriminately while the other continues to work as a puppet government whose survival rests on the hands of an occupying force. We are losing ownership of our country as the solution for the Somali war is drifting away with the winds of anarchy while the hope to get peace is fading in the horizon of despair.
A nation can exist as a nation-state only when it has a rule of law in place and an effective judiciary and executive machinery that mets out justice regardless of the tribal origins of the person under investigation.
But when the nation is reduced to mere lands of terror controlled by factions and tribal chiefs, it would lose all criteria to call it a " Nation" as it is just a dark hole in which all types of dangerous creatures hide out to devour on the poor and the innocent civilians. 
Can you imagine a government that wants to run a nation while destroying the very foundation on which a nation is based: People and their history. It is like planting a tree and wishing it to grow without roots.  
It is sad that Somalia has been left at the mercy of these two evils: A Warlord Government with a criminal track record which kills the same people it has been sworn-in and insurgents who mastermind mass destruction in the form of explosions never caring about the civilians who die along with their targets. It is the similarity of their action that makes me arrive at a conclusion to brand both of them as evil. 
Making all kinds of ugly behaviours a habit, they terrorized the nation and its people by milking clan and religious loyalties for the sake of their personal advantage. TFG, for instance, is a government from the warlord to the warlord and for the warlord. It has lost credibility long before it was established in Nairobi, Kenya though I personally believed that we should give it a chance and see what this it would accomplish on the side of peace and restoration of law and order in Somalia.
It is usually my way of thinking not to rule out all possibilities of a positive outcome, though unrealistic the issue may seem. But my wish to see a government in total control of the nation never materialized as TFG turned out to be a spearhead of an imperialist expansion with long term objectives to bury the motherland in the sands of global war on terror.
Unfortunately the other faction, which in this case I mean the insurgents, is not doing better either. They can't get somalia back to the hands of the Somalis due to a severe structural defect in their overall organizational set up. First they are losing consistency in their political objectives and secondly they are replicating an iraq-like terror tactics in Somalia which only places them on the disadvantaged side. Secondly their lose coalition walls are making cracks as a rift is looming over among the various groups in the war against the Ethiopians. And Thirdly the US and the west have implicated them to a terror network whose support and material assistance is furnished by Al-Qaeda which by all means represent a great loss of reputation in the international political arena.
With their hopes dying away in the wilderness, the only option these Islamic insurgents have is to stay in war till last drop because they have gone too far and have no line behind them to which they can take a retreat. For those two factions: TFG and the insurgents,  death is the only way of sustaining life. Therefore both of them wage war as a means of safety with illusive dreams that victory is just in the offing. They do not know that they are fighting a zero sum war which no one wins over. They are hiding behind the shadows of a prolonged conflict and protracted emergency situations of disease and famine with the intention to avoid peace from descending in somalia. Peace heralds tremendous threat as, with peace in place, they will end up in the chambers of the International Criminal courts.  

It is sad that their life entirely depends on the death of the nation. Waiting for these two antagonistic factions to come to a table and agree on restoring peace in somalia is like waiting for a naked sky to give rain. Where will this leave the starving Somali child? Is this not a Future on Fire?

It is sad that the insurgents read the following to the young somali child soldier whom they lure to their deadly terror business: 
Dear  Boy they say:

Die for me little boy
I want to be in politics
You got to die for me
You belong to my tribe
Islam is my power ladder
clan militia are its steps
Blood is what I invest
Please shed it for me
A pint is quite enough
But a gallon is better
If you blow up yourself
So much the better
In life you live in dignity
In death you go to heaven
50 virgins are waiting for you 
And to the TFG I would say:
You can kill and loot today
You can be a living terror
You can let Somalia melt

You can let it sink in despai

Even if time goes against you
You can cross the line over
You can change your political shirt 
You can join civil society movements

You can preach peace and tolerance
You can be safe there for sometime
But not every time can you be in safe hands
One day you will be brought to justice
No matter how big or large it may be
The blanket of injustice can´t cover you well
There will always be a space where the 
A breath of justice would touch you

And to the somali people I would say:

You are the people
You are the power
Make a change

Abdi-Noor Mohamed
Writer and Filmmaker
Gothernbourg, Sweden
E-mail: [email protected]

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