By Idris Ahmed Osman
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Many might question themselves the significance of addressing you, instead of the warlords and politicians themselves. First, who among them today responsibly merits to be addressed about the issues of a citizen’s concern?. Anyone sincere, neutral and patriotic enough to be entitled for this role is currently missing. Otherwise, why on earth this matter should be taken to as far as across the pacific?!. Moreover, prevention is better than cure. I am humbly emulating, the great and highly revered in the house of Islam, noble prophet Solomon (Suleiman), when he addressed the famous queen of Sheba in the ancient Yemen felicity. I of myself can not stand to your calibre as the 66th secretary of state for a twenty first century empire; but being equipped with the same inspiration and aspiration for truth and justice as the father prophet David (Daauud), I derive immense and superb spiritual capacity to face any Goliath. The purpose of my open letter to you is neither to defile and defame your respected personality, position and performance, nor disparage your beloved country and people, as much as it is to bridge the gap of misunderstanding between our nation and your foreign office’s policy. Oppression and injustice is abhorred and reprimanded in the textual origin of all spiritual teachings, thus Islam as a religion of peace has been prominently on the vanguard in this case. Violence and terrorism of innocents is likewise seriously considered abominable and very repugnant on a global standard, regardless of whether it is committed in New York or Nugaal, Minnesota or Mogadishu, Kentucky or Kismayu. It is the same, it is a heinous crime against humanity and it is totally rejected.
It would save you time and effort as it would rid many who hold negative view of your country’s foreign policy, not necessarily the friendly American people as a nation, of the unfriendly perception; had you contemplated on the current status of my beloved country. Though you probably got extraordinarily much detailed data through intelligence, research, advice, reports, etc. it would pay to curiously look at things from various angles. Somalia (total area 246,200 sq mi) is little smaller in size than the state of Texas (total area 268,601 sq mi.). Currently, with the predominantly shifting displacement as a result of the instability, there could be an estimate of roughly five or six million surviving in it. Out of the six million, on average, hundreds of thousands are either orphans, disabled, victims of civil war, homeless, drought and flood stricken, old aged, or unemployed, yet living without infrastructure in constant shelling since 1990. This is Somalia; the horn of this robust and dormant Rhino (Africa), its unpredictable, violent eruption and furious butt seems to be irritating you and has triggered major part of your recent mission in Africa. Though carrying a more beautiful title then (operation restore hope), your country failed in its mission in Somalia in the fall of 1992. After over a decade and half, with your astute personality in power, I am yet disappointed and dismayed that your country handled, in an effort to untangle the intricate tangled crisis in my beloved country, again by the wrong end. I thought lessons might have been learnt, but this maybe given to some less extent the obscure and vague concept, you are experiencing, on Somalia; or virtually lending it less attention as a non priority target. Either way, it has contributed to the building up of an unprecedented hostility towards your foreign policy among the Somali people. The general concept prevalent among Somalis can be summarized in the following five points:
- Your overall role in the region, particularly in Somalia, is being seen as negative, lopsided, and troublesome. Your administration is currently considering neighbouring Djibouti as its central military command in the horn of Africa, which could be seen as adding more fuel to the fire.
- Your main aim and mission is being self-interpreted as pursuing your own national (homeland) security, overseas interests and strategic international relations.
- Your country’s foreign policy is being portrayed as prioritizing its own national interests at the cost of incurring death and destruction on other nations.
- Your country, in order to achieve and secure both its national and foreign interests and goals, does not comply with the democratic values it claims (I am not herein referring to the Kyoto protocol on global warming or the International Criminal Court (ICC) which your administration not only rejected to sign but also renounced and invalidated) hence employs any unruly and immoral cooperation and alliance with any well known dictator or corrupt agent in his country. As if it is fulfilment of the inaugural address of J. F. Kennedy in Washington D.C. on the 20th of January 1961, when he said: Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
- Your country’s failure in its peacekeeping mission, impartial, indiscriminate brutal killing or interest-based, alleged mission to remove a dictator, hence restore peace and stability elsewhere in the world, rendered it a negative impact and ruined its image.
I am hereby offering you a helping hand as it is pitiful to note the abusive misinterpretation and practical mishandling of the generous, well-wisher American tax payer’s efforts by your administration’s foreign policy. (I am concentrating on your administration’s foreign policy throughout, avoiding the use of the misleading terminology “Anti-American sentiment”). While strenuously maintaining reservations in advance lest I give a strong point to your natural contestant-the democrats; but unfortunately it seems to me that you are draining the majority of the American people’s wholehearted contributions and donations for world peace and progress to utter waste. At this stage, you may ask yourself the proposals or advices I may have in store for you, again it will be limited in five points:
- Where there is will, there is always a way; forget about black hawk down and let your administration seriously devote and dedicate, time to carefully study the complex actual situation, funding to solve the Somali crisis. Prioritize it and handle it directly without relying heavily on any controversial and prejudiced third party.
- Source and locate peacekeepers, experts, mediators, reconciliatory bodies, peace negotiators, among your allies in the OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries) and the Arab League, whose real function and role in general, I can not really hitherto understand while Somalia is by greater ratio and proportion being attributed to them in its identity. Ironically, aid funds was poured on the fledgling, immature, weak TFG by some countries within the GCC, I am not sure whether it was an intentional red cloth excitement of the bull fight in Somalia, or a miscalculated naïve gesture of goodwill as usual?!. It could not be a mere coincidence not to preconceive, owing to the current situation in Somalia, the funds would probably be funnelled into the pockets of the top TFG players and their regional chief clan counterparts or arms purchase rather than the emaciated bellies of the destitute, starving, innocent, ordinary general public. At a time when in Somalia, the sight of cash in hand motivates more murderers. Your superman attitude, unique world power, single-handed policing of the global conflicts by deliberately excluding and disabling the role of the OIC and Arab League, in a possible UN-led mission in Iraq, Afghanistan and now in Somalia, is now bearing its sour fruits, unexpected drawback and negative impact. (Unfortunately, while some of them have behind the scene and in a disguised manner greatly supported you in your mission in Iraq and Afghanistan, offering military bases, logistics and intelligence). Troops and experts from the OIC and Arab League might traditionally and culturally, yet amicably and intimately be acceptable to both the TFG and all oppositionists. I thought, over the years, you mastered the technique of alluring others with one (decoy) among them, albeit camouflaged in similar sociable pattern. It is really sad and disappointing. I am really sorry Condie!.
- One of the worst malice with which Somalia is being plagued now is the ammunition proliferation, arms in everyone’s hands. Should there be a mutual trust developed between the friendly troops and experts from the OIC/Arab league and all the warlords/politicians, the former could mediate and supervise national reconciliation. Divert and channel to more constructive and better use, the millions of dollars your administration is now spending in the so called war on terror in the horn of Africa, to launch an indiscriminate, country-wide, peaceful, lucrative disarmament project titled Dollars against Destruction and rebuilding the country. Set up centres, where handing in a gun would be exchanged with double or triple its current value in the market. Still you should not ignore two points: first in Somalia today, arms serve as yesterday’s axe and sickle for the farmers and herdsmen; saw and hammer for the builders and carpenters. It is a means of acquiring daily bread. Hence creating alternative job opportunities and other sources of income, rehabilitation and recreation centres are also a dire necessity. Second, it reflects on a clan’s, feat for self defence and, power for political or social representation.
- Most of these projects could be partially delivered by the energetic and active Somali intellectuals in the Diaspora. They could approach and engage their respective clan members to undertake community development programmes. Their complementary participation in collaboration with the OIC/ Arab league troops and experts could be greatly beneficial. All that is needed would be to ensure an even distribution of opportunities, just and fair social representation of all categories of the society, (without any misrepresentation or denial of rights).
- Let not be identified as favouring certain major clan, sub-clan, or force over the other; Neutrality is extremely important The least suspicious wrong step may be interpreted as supporting one over the other and trigger undesirable consequences. Pursuing hidden agenda and interest-based interference shall definitely spoil any efforts.
I chose to address you in my open letter rather than your president for various reasons of which, your early childhood discrimination experience in your birth place Birmingham’s (Alabama) early discriminatory laws and attitudes. The fact that you have been through similar hardships gives me more chances to make you feel the plight and suffering of children in Somalia. Unlike your president, you are more likely to hearken and behold the blood-stained emotional message of the suckling infant at its dying bed, when two of your helicopters bombed a village near Afmadow, a town in a forested area close to the Kenyan border, earlier at the beginning of this year leaving 31 civilians dead. On behalf of this tearful infant and many others who were either killed or disabled by your fire, I would quote your similar pitiful situation, suffering of the segregation era: "Those terrible events burned into my consciousness. I missed many days at my segregated school because of the frequent bomb threats”. Remember too how painful it was when your schoolmate Denise McNair, aged 11, was killed in the bombing of the primarily black sixteenth street Baptist Church by white supremacists on September 15, 1963. Your words at the time, as if recorded in space, still echoed in the ears of the innocent dying children (who were unfortunately forgotten in the dark days of history, because they were born in primitive-style village in Somalia, the news of their unfair deaths did not noticeably appear on the front page headlines as did your beloved Denise). But I took it as a moral responsibility to convey to you their whisper, in my ears seconds before their bidding farewell this world with painful torments, on your promise in your memoir: I remember the bombing of that Sunday school at sixteen street Baptist church in Birmingham in 1963. I did not see it happen but I heard it happen, and I felt it happen a few blocks away from my father’s church, it is a sound I will never forget, that will ever reverberate in my ears, that bomb took the lives of four young girls, including my friend and playmate Denise McNair. Condoleezza Rice, commencement 2004, Vanderbilt University, May 13, 2004.
Since then at least 400.000 (Four hundred thousand) innocent young girls (friends and playmates of other children) were killed by US bombs in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
In your capacity as the daughter of a Presbyterian minister reverend, John Wesley Rice, Jr., I am more optimistic that you would appreciate the message of peace in Islam, which is being deliberately confused and misinterpreted. Terminologies like clash of civilisations and war on terror surfaced into existence due to misunderstanding about the spiritual text of Islam. It would not be mission impossible for you, who successfully completed more sophisticated mission, to pay reference to your minister reverend father’s Bible shelf for the Paracletos, the comforter whose arrival was foretold by Jesus; or one like Moses from among the brethren of the Israelites who would come after Jesus (i.e. Muhammad) in the prophecy given to Moses in Deuteronomy. In the noble book which was revealed to Muhammad, we Muslims find message of peace such that the illegal, unjustified, oppressive, unfair, killing of one innocent human being is like mass murdering the whole of humanity. Likewise does the humanitarian rescue and saving of a single soul equal to saving the whole of mankind. This is Islam:
5:32 On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person –[ unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land] - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them our apostles with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land. Al-Quran 5:32.
By the same miracle with which Solomon had shown the truth to queen of Sheba and David single-handed slew the giant Goliath, I pray to my Lord that you miraculously and humbly, by virtue of your inner conscience, succumbed to the invitations and advices in this open letter.
Idris Ahmed Osman
E-mail: [email protected]