Abdi-Noor Haji Mohamed Writer and film-Maker Mogadishu, Somalia
I nearly wrote an elegy for Somalia to pay last respects to my beloved motherland when the nation seemed to be drifting into the margins of a renewed strife and tribal clash. On one hand there is the TFG supported by the Ethiopian troops with no enough police to cover the city, and on the other we have Islamic courts organizing and regrouping themselves in some Arabian countries notably Yemen and Saudi Arabia. In between we have skirmishes and ambushes in Mogadishu aimed at undermining the power of the TFG.
The Ethiopian troops who, in the first days of their arrival, slept peacefully at the seaside to enjoy the ocean breeze, found themselves awakened with mortar attacks by unknown militia who started to operate clandestinely in many parts of the city.
Last night alone Mogadishu received more than 15 rockets, which landed on residential areas, killing and maiming innocent people. We spent the whole night sending telephones and exchanging text messages to ensure that we are still alive. Some families crashed the gates of the mosques to find sanctuary or die in the house of God if strayed rockets hit them while hiding there. Can you imagine such kind of horror descending upon you in the middle of the night!
All the people in the shelled areas fled their homes to seek protection in buildings with concrete roofing. Hundreds have squeezed in the few available shelters in Taleh, Kassapopolare, Al-baraka area etc.
The security situation deteriorated when the Ethiopian Prime Minister declared that their mission was complete as it was only limited to giving a military chase to the Islamic Courts Union leaders who vowed that they would attack Ethiopia within a week. "Ethiopia is in no danger of being attacked by Somali Islamic Courts" Says Meles " So we better phase out soon though we should do it in a timely manner" And at least one third of his troops have already pulled out.
Fear of slipping back into anarchy heightened when the African Union failed to come up with the required 8000 soldiers to replace the Ethiopians. When you bring all these factors under the microscope you find out that there is nothing you could do other than wait and see or write a mourning song for the motherland. That is what I intended to do but I changed my mind when the President, Col. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed declared reconciliation conference in which all sectors of the population and political organizations shall be involved. That was really a sigh of relief for people who still wish to see peace in their country.
If expertly handled, the conference will no doubt bear fruits of joy but if it is messed up same way as others were spoiled with tribalism and greed for power, then it will doom to a failure and will be no better than HAL HACAD LAGU LISAY. I think this conference is a glimmer of hope shining in a distant horizon. It is a window of opportunity we should take advantage of, not on personal basis, though, but on the altruistic ambition to lift Somalia from the pits of shame it had sunk in over the years of clan fighting. Please share this poem with me:
Nation of love
Nation of beauty
Nation of Peace
Nation of Unity
My dear Somalia
Sick and bedridden
Property of warlord
Victim of brutality
Of cruelty and violence
Of misuse and maltreatment
You may have lost the charm to flirt
Your chastity may have been spoiled
But never has your dignity ever diminished
Though tears are drying in your eyes
A spark of hope is still glowing in them
Whatever happened to you dear love
Rest assured honey that time has come
To deliver you from abuse and neglect
To put you back to your place of honor
Reconciliation Reconciliation Reconciliation