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A Sad Anniversary

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By Abdi-Noor  Mohamed
Monday, December 17, 2007

Twelve months ago this month, Mogadishu has witnessed one of it worst tragedies ever. Ethiopian warplanes bombarded the airport, which was then controlled by the Union of Islamic Courts. At the time of the attack I was inside an internet cafe near Ceynu Shams restaurant around Al-Baraka area where I often visited to check my e-mails.

 When the local FM media released the news of the aggressive Ethiopian air raid, the song of Mohamed Suleiman came suddenly to my mind and immediately I noted how strong we were those days when Suleiman sang with his golden voice:









I think anybody with a right mind can imagine the gap of time and strength stretched wide across the day this song was created and the day Ethiopians bombarded our airport. The difference between these two days is glaring brightly much as a dark spot is more distinct than a white one.   

 But there are certain pertinent questions and coincidences that have died away in the sound of the explosion, which still remain an enigma to most of us. First the blast occurred in the eve of Christmas. Why? Were the Ethiopians sternly responding to those vulgar and rather unbalanced utterances made by some of the court leaders who rhetorically vowed that they would pray Ciid A-Adha in Baidoa and Addis?

Or was the attack a mere assertion of military superiority in the region to warn Eritrea of a similar punishment if they kept tampering with the Somali politics? Was the attack a Christmas gift to the Americans? Or was it a sign of an impending terror in Somalia? What was it?

 Why has the pilot disappeared in the dusty istaqfurow winds of Mogdishu soon as he dropped his cargo of terror? Since the airport lacked such equipment of advanced military installations why did he melt away and not hovered around for a while to make sure that no landings or possible take-offs would take place?

Were the planes that have bombed the airport belonged to Ethiopia alone or were there other planes, which had provided escort jobs to give the Ethiopians a military cover up? After all how many planes have attacked us that day?

On the other side of the horror coin, two prominent court leaders have landed shortly after the blast while two other Islamic court leaders boarded the same plane supposedly carrying bags laden with dollar cash, leaving the people (whom they had led to war) in the middle of no where. It was a disgustingly shameful act to see those who have pulled the hornet's nest fleeing first.

And sadly enough Somalia has those days been sinking in the flood waters of its own rivers much the same way as it is now drowning in the blood of its own people. Floods have forced hundreds of people, mainly in the lowest income bracket, out of their villages while a much higher number who hail from the agricultural rural villages were cut off in the bush.

With no food and shelter, fate had left them at the mercy of donations from humanitarian agencies which itself was not available due to inaccessibility to their locations.  But at long last the roads were re-opened. 

Hearing the rumbling sound of the engine from a distance, they thought that supplies and equipment were arriving to their localities. Hope had started to trickle in their hearts like drops of rain pelting on roof of a nomad's makeshift house.  But much to their chagrin, they found tanks filled with fire instead of trucks loaded with food and medical drugs. The Ethiopians were advancing towards the capital city faster that anybody anticipated.

Mogadishu residents were seized by fear of what will happen to them if war broke out inside the city between the Ethiopians and the Somali Islamic Courts. In my neighbourhood a mother was wailing while her four-year-old daughter spoke out of her innocence about war and fighting.

 Mother Says
"The tanks are coming drawing closer
The city shall be attacked
All the routes are blocked
All borders are sealed off
Air and sea travel banned
The enemy will shoot us
What shall we do?”
“Mom" said the daughter
"Is the bullet painful

It was a sad scenario to see Ethiopian troops coming to murder such an innocent child who did not even know what it meant to have a bullets pumped into her body.  What Mogadishu and its residents have experienced over the past year falls far beyond the limits of a human imagination: Shelling the innocent, bombing the buildings, killing people en-mass, large scale displacement, humanitarian crisis at catastrophic proportions, streets awash with blood, bodies stinking and smelling so badly in the rubbish strewn roads, remains taken care of by dogs, cats and to large extent insects. Rising death toll, hospitals overwhelmed by the number of patients being admitted on daily basis while patients were scattered around and under the shade of Qurac trees, weeping wailing and screaming with pain.

Along with this tragedy business in the city has been brought to a total halt as all sources of livelihood has been destroyed. .Main market centers of Bakaraha and Suuq Bacaad have been targeted to dismantle what the TFG thought as the eye of the Alqaed hurricane. Schools and madrassas have been closed and no child was seen on the road wearing a school uniform or carrying books and pens

It seems that in the pot of anarchy a nation is melting whose bonds are broken and its past is boiling. Like a nation whose present is burning and its resources are escaping rapidly like a steam. In the laboratory of global terror mass filteration is taking place and only criminals are passing through as the innocents are regarded as residues of the experiment who deserve nothing more than being thrown in to the murder pin.

Lastly but not the least,  let me conclude this year's Sad Anniversay of Ethiopian occupation by dedicating this article to  a young somali child who has shown an unblemished dedication and courage to live in a city of war. I wish every Somali with a sense of patriotic feeling would generate strength from the surging spirits of this Somali child who bravely speaks of liberating his motherland from the Ethiopian occupation but resists to be corrupted by extremists who are using children of his age as a human explosive.  

Mowliid is a 10-year old street child who spends the whole day in danger zones to collect plastic (which when cleaned could be sold out to the customers in the market).  He is the sole breadwinner of a family consisting of 6 heads with a blind father and an ailing mother.  I have met Mowliid some time during the early days of the occupation at Is-Goyska Hawlwadag and had a little chat with him while waiting for a bus at the junction. 

I asked him what he knew about the Ethiopians and he replied " Dirty occupiers" Then I asked him what he knew about the islamic insurgents and he replied "Gardheerayaal Is-Qarxiya" I asked if he had ever tried to fight with the Ethiopians and he coolly responded that he was once lured to a bomb-throwing job which would have allowed him to eke a sum of 20 dollars. "But I refused to accept the offer" I asked "why?"and he retorted " My friend Sugow has killed himslef with a bomb he was supposed to murder Ethiopian and TFG soldiers at Bakaraha after he had mishandled the weapon”

While speaking with him I was impressed by the flashes of smile his face has been emitting and the bright glow in his eyes, which certainly showed his desire to see his country liberated but not ruled by extremists.

Mowlid, at such a tender age of ten years lives with the pain of not knowing where he should get the next bread to feed himself and his family. He walks barefooted in the heat of the Mogadishu sun and at times sleeps in the market stalls, spending half of the night in disputes or fist fights with other boys to secure a space within stall.

What amazed me is the irrepressible spirits and the radiating waves of courage, which Mowlid demonstrated amid roaring tanks, flying bullets and exploding mortar bombs. Despite unbearable neglect this Somali child sill has dreams that he shall one day live in an environment of peace and stability. If you and I do not fight for the future of Mowlid and other Somali children who do you think would do that job for us? If we ignore these heart-wrenching pleas shall we not wreak havoc on the hopes of these beautiful souls? Think of it and come up with a solution.

Abdi-Noor Mohamed
Writer and Film maker
Gothenburg, Sweden
[email protected]

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