By Abdulkadir A. Mohamud (Jangali)
Saturday, February 09, 2008
After a couple of fruitless attempts from IGAD and the Arab League to mediate between Transitional Federal Government and Union of Islamic Courts, the USA gave the final “GO” to Ethiopian troops to crush the UIC. On December 28th 2006, Ethiopian troops, backed by US warplanes, entered in Mogadishu. They forced the militias loyal to the UIC to abandon their strong-holds in Mogadishu and its suburbs. The TFG led by the president and the warlords who had been defeated by UIC six months earlier, were welcomed in Mogadishu by Ethiopian officers.
One year after Ethiopian troops' presence in Somalia, a group of Somalis met at the lobby of Watergate Hotel in Washington DC to discuss Somali issues. Like many other Somalis in different parts of the world, the members of the group were not on the same page about Ethiopian troops in Somalia and the TFG’s way of governance.
The groups were:
Shanta Cabdi iyo Cibaado-Suuban (five Abdis and Ibaado-Suuban):
Abdullahi, Abdirahman, Abdisamad, Abdulkadir, Abdihakim and Ibaado-Suuban
Abdirahman: The Somali situation is getting from bad to worst and hundreds of thousands are in unimaginable conditions in the old Banadir area. Does anyone here have any ideas on how we can help Somalia?
Abdisamad: Ghedi is gone, Somalia has a new Prime Minister and from now on everything will be all right.
Ibaado-Suuban: I wish! What makes you sure about that? Nothing was in the hands of Ghedi and nothing will be in the hands of Nur-Adde. Somalia is run by Ethiopians from corner to corner and it will remain this way if we don‘t wake up. Every five years Ethiopians will organize new reconciliation conferences until they become a majority or double the size of the Somali people in Somalia.
Abdisamad: Ibaado, it seems that you were born a pessimist and blame all the friendly countries for your own inflicts. You should just wait and give the new government led by Mr. Nur-Adde a chance to function. I am sure you will be amazed at how well Mr. Nur-Adde will be able to clean up the mess created by Ghedi. Very soon the hands of the TFG will reach all over Somalia from Kismayo to Hargheysa and expand their power in every village.
Abdirahman: As a Somalilander, I came here with good faith and I try to have some kind of leniency for the Somali problems as a whole, but then I meet people like Abdisamad. Instead of recognizing the real problems that Somalia is facing today, Abdisamad is the type to nurture these lies from the merciless mercenaries who are destroying Somalia. The Ethiopians are shelling the capital city daily, and the TFG cannot either halt them or question their genocide. They don’t even have a spokesperson who can at least tell the world what is happening in Mogadishu. The TFG does not know the number of Ethiopian troops operating in Mogadishu. They come and go when and where they want in Somalia without the TFG's knowledge. Therefore, Somalia’s problem is not about who is replacing who…Ghedi or Nur-Adde, it is about Ethiopia.
Ibaado-Suuban: You are absolutely right. I may “understand” the deeds of those that are ruthless in Somalia, but I don’t understand how a gentleman like Abdisamad, and hundreds like him, talk on BBC, Voice America, and local radios, supporting Ethiopia's presence in Somalia. It surprises me that these Somalis never think about the crimes and the destruction Ethiopia is committing, before they come to their ridiculous conclusions. Ethiopia is not our savior, period!
Abdisamad: Ibaado, or do you prefer Suuban; you should stop holding on to the old animosity with Ethiopia. Now, it is a brotherly country and they are no longer the enemy. The Ethiopian troops are helping the TFG to rebuild Somalia’s peace and security, so you have to understand why I, and others you listen to on the radio, welcome them and defend their presence in Somalia. They liberated the capital city from UIC and warlords, who were ruining my beloved city Mogadishu for 17 years. These warlords killed my family members in the early 90’s. They also took my family's property and I will gladly support my brothers from Ethiopia who liberated us.
Abaado: Oh My God! First of all, if you were looking for revenge for what happened in the 1990’s, the perpetrators were the warlords who are working next to the Ethiopians, helping them to commit crimes in Mogadishu today. Secondly, it is a matter of time when your Ethiopian brothers will come and destroy your native town, once they finish Mogadishu. Don’t forget, what goes around comes around.
Abdullahi: Why are you all in denial? Cabinet ministers, director generals, ambassadors, judges, military, police generals, and all other government factions have been appointed and I know some of them are your relatives too. So, I don’t understand your defiance for all this.
Ibaado: No doubt, there have been hundreds of government officials appointed, but do they run the offices they have been designated to? Over thirty nine ambassadors have been nominated to different countries in the world, and none of them have presented the diplomatic credentials. Where are the ambassadors who are nominated for important countries like: USA, UK, Italy, Canada, Australia and Iraq? They just nominated ambassadors like local District Commissions in their regions.
Abdihakim: Yes, well hopefully, before the end of 2008 Somaliland will be recognized and we will provide a safe haven for Somali people. We can help you have a viable government. Insha-Allah we will lift you from the agony and the mess that you are in.
Ibaado: The leaders in Hargheysa can talk about what is happening in Gaza, Palestine, but not in Mogadishu. Xaasha, make no mistake, the ordinary people of Somaliland made it clear how they are sorry about the suffering of the Somali people in Mogadishu and they condemned the crimes that Ethiopians are committing.
Abdihakim: Are you blaming our leaders for what your so-called leaders created? It’s prudent that Somaliland’s leaders don’t criticize the Ethiopians, because it is against our interest and security.
Ibaado: Wow! A wise man, Benjamin Franklin, once said, “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both”.
Abdihakim: Well, it is your problem, because your leaders were repeating the same callous mistakes, including your president who claimed four years ago when he was campaigning for the office that he was imprisoned in Alambakha, Ethiopia in 1980’s for seven years. Then of course he detested when the Ethiopians put their flags on Galdogab and Balanballe after he spearheaded these Ethiopian troops to capture those two towns. He was showing off to his audience how he was Patriotic…khkhkh. The paradox being that his first request from the international community, soon after he had been elected as president, was to get Ethiopian troops to capture Somalia for him. Shabeel ma raboobo (a tiger won’t be a pet)
Abdirahman: Abdihakim, besides all those facts, Somaliland could not give a safe haven for a handful of journalist who fled from Mogadishu and you think we can save Somalia from Ethiopia. I come from Hargheysa a couple of months ago and I was so ashamed at what I had observed. The Ethiopian intelligence officers socialize with Khat every day, having the highest authority in our government. They instruct whatever they want in the evening and our government carries it out the next day. I am a diehard Somalilander, yet I believe people in Mogadishu will save Somalia from Ethiopians. At least they are aware of Ethiopia’s goal and they can‘t be used by them anymore. Dhurwaaga ciyaya iyo kan aamusan kee daran (which one is worse the howling hyena or the silent one?). It is time to put aside our differences and find the best way to drive Ethiopians out of Somalia and kilil5.
Ibaado: Thank you brother. Yeah! ….It’s about time!
Abdihakiim: How can we drive them out?
Ibaado: By force. Nimaan warankaagu gelin weertaadu ma gasho (He, who does not feel the pain of your spear will never listen to your words). In other words: When the countries extend their power or authority over others in the interest of domination, they will never give up until the people of the victim country fight back.
Abudllahi: Ok! You’ve convinced me. Does anybody know the most effective way of freeing Somalia from Ethiopia?
Abdulkadir: The most effective way to fight against Ethiopia is non-violence: a) Exhibiting to the world about the atrocities they have committed through writing
b) Organizing rallies and demonstrations in every corner of the world, where ever Ethiopians have diplomatic offices, or any places Ethiopians have representatives inside and outside of Somalia.
c) Diaspora’s campaign through their naturalized country’s political representatives.
Bad leaders have very thin skin for literature and rallies. That is why they suppress the free press and the freedom of speech, therefore we have to beat them through writings.
Ibaado: Well, how long does it takes to convince the world through writings, demonstrations, and rallies about the Ethiopians’ viciousness?
Abdulkadir: In 1989 I met a married couple in a workshop held in Washington DC. They told me that for 20 years, every Friday they would go to the front gate of the White House and demonstrate on the Palestinian tragedy. They never missed their schedule time at 4 PM; even on rainy or snowy Fridays. This couple was not Palestinian, Arabic, or Muslim. They were doing this because they could not stand the unnecessary sufferings of the Palestinian people. Albert Einstein said “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” Therefore, we should not get exhausted for demonstrating against the Ethiopian brutality as long as we are breathing.
Abirahman: Ethiopia is a powerful country in our region and they have strong allies who support them. They lie about what is going on in Somalia and they claim that they are fighting against terrorism, so how can we expose their lies to the world?
Abdulkadir: Ethiopians are indeed covering their violence through lies, and maintain their lies through violence. However, lies live short and Meles may be able to fool some leaders like Bush, but he can’t fool all the leaders of the world forever.
Ibaado: Still I don’t get it! You want us to fight against Ethiopians through writing?
Abdulkadir: There are many ways to fight back, so we have to look into the best route: Gandhi’s (India) way or Ferhat Abbas’ (Algeria) way; fighting back with non-violence or violence.
Ibaado: I don’t like Gandhi’s passive way of fighting. It takes too long. I like Ferhat Abbas’s fight better. We can finish these guys despite their heavily mechanized army.
Abdulkadir: Please, don’t underestimate the power and the effectiveness of non-violence resistance. How many people in this world know Ferhat Abbas and how many people don’t know Mahatma Gandhi?
Another group of Somalis wealthy men met in Singapore. They were three highly regarded businessmen: Arrale, Iid and Ali-Jamaal.
Arrale: How is the business in your area?
Ali-Jamaal: It is booming. We don’t pay taxes and unlike in your area, we don’t have authority figures interfering in our businesses.
Iid: That is why we don’t like having a government in Somalia. We want to have the "ultimate" free market, which does not exist anywhere in the world. Our businesses are flourishing, even with the Ethiopians and insurgents fighting in Mogadishu.
Arrale: How long do you think this "ultimate" free market will last?
Ali-Jamaal: At least for generations or forever! Khaakahakahakah.
Iid: God bless the Somali Diaspora. They remit billions of US dollars in Somalia and they raised the purchasing power of millions of Somalis. Most of the time we print our own Somali Shillings with Xerox copy machines and we exchange the remitted US dollars. I joined the business community in the late 1980s and I remember the last years of Siad Barre’s government. The remittance was less than one hundred million US dollars. You do the math. We are much better off without a government.
Arrale: The other day I was talking to a friend of mine who lives in Seattle, USA about the remittance. He explained to me that the remittance will end very soon, once his generation is gone. His son who is highly paid does not want to know anybody in Somalia, and doesn’t care to send money to his relatives. This phenomenon is universal for the younger Somali generation. They don’t understand the clan fighting, or how Somali’s can be dependent on their relatives. His son, like many, don’t want to give away their money to someone they don’t know. Perhaps if they see Somali people doing good for themselves they will contribute to the rebuilding of the country… and don’t forget it is a maybe. Therefore, we have to think about how the future of the remittance and the purchasing power of the Somali people will look like in the coming 20-30 years.
Iid: God! I never thought about that. What are you suggesting now?
Arrale: We have to be honest and stand on the front line about reconciliations and support those who can save Somalia, not the warlords. We have to be proactive in finding the best way to rid the Ethiopians out of our country, and take the leading roles for the rebuilding of Somalia.
While those businessmen were agreeing and shaking their hands in Singapore to do good things for Somalia; Twenty members of the TFG parliament were meeting in Baidoa. They became very ashamed of what they had done to their country since they had been selected in Kenya. They confessed to each other that they had done nothing. Yet, they are responsible for inviting their enemy to their land, causing the death of their people and the destruction of their capital city. At the end they agreed to stand up and reverse the problem they started and fight for their country’s good.
That same week another meeting was going on in Addis. Mr. Zirrow called three of his advisors for a meeting: Asfaum, Tessafa, and Girgis.
Zirrow: What went wrong? We planned to destroy those UIC in a week and now it’s been a year and we are far from a victory.
Girigis: Mr. Minister, wars are like this. Look at Iraq, the most powerful nation in the world is struggling for 5 years to win just the city of Baghdad. Therefore, it is ok if we do not win in Mogadishu right now, even for the next 10 years.
Zirrow: What? Do we have resources like USA to continue a war for 5 or 10 years?
Tessafa: Mr. Zirrow our dream is spoiled by Bush and Indha-adde……I am afraid that our dream is dead.
Girgis: Who is Indha-adde?
Zirrow: Be quiet, you fool! Let him finish.
Tessafa: Indha-adde is a warlord who was acting as a defense minister of the UIC and he provoked us in November- December 2007 for his rhetoric remarks of waging war into our country.
Girigis: Mr. Minister I don’t understand what Tessafa is insinuating. Our dream is dead?
Tessafa: Yes! I told Mr. Zirrow when he was preparing for the war that he is going to wake up a sleeping tiger and that will be the end of our dream.???
Girigis: I thought the war was about a short cut for taking over all Somali seaports within months, instead of waiting for Ethiopians to over populate Somalia for the next 30 years.
Asfaum: I am sorry. Mr. Minister what we were planning for the last 15 years is beyond hope of recovery now. We should not listen to Mr. Bush.
Zirrow: I was ill-advised. Is there any possibility for damage control?
Asfaum: I don't think so.
Tessafa: The best way is to pull out our troops from Somalia and undo all the lies that you were telling the world. Also, we have to apologize to the Somali people and compensate the destruction we caused and help the victims of this misguided war.
Girigis: Are you kidding? Who paid you to talk like this to our beloved Minister?
Zirrow: You are fired and you must hand over all your responsibilities and government properties to your assistant, immediately!
Girgis: Why are you looking at me? His Excellency is talking to Tessafa, not me.
Zirrow: I am talking to you, fool! I also fired Wolde and now you. As a matter of fact you are all fired.
Girgis: You engaged Ethiopia with a stupid war and you blame it on us?
Zirrow: I wanted to do a favor for you, but you don’t deserve it. Guards …Guards... take these two men to Alambakha and make sure I don’t ever see them again!
Tassafa: Zirrow, I am giving you my last advice: Pull our troops out of Somalia at once !
In conclusion, Somali people have understood that Ethiopia was behind all the conflicts among the warlords and the inter clan warfare. Of course, like in the colonial time, there will always be individuals and groups who are blind and will serve the interest of Ethiopia. (Isticmaar u adeege). The change has started and the Somali people are hungry for peace, dignity, and a good government. This new movement won’t be stopped until Somalia comes back with respect from International community. Therefore, I appeal to all scholars, intellectuals, politicians, poets, elders, clergy members, and individual patriots to come and participate in changing Somalia for a better future.
1. Educate Somali people through writing on websites, get on radio and TV talk shows, write plays and poems about Ethiopia’s role in Somalia’s predicament. Also it is important to enlighten the future of Somalia for the Somali people.
2. Take part in non-violent resistance through rallies and demonstrations in every corner of the world. Every Friday afternoon, the Ethiopian embassies should feel the pain their government has caused to the Somali people. We need hundreds or thousands of determined Somalis to play a part in these non-violence demonstrations. Let the Ethiopians and the world see how we are capable of bringing our country back to order, so help us God.
3. Be a part of the political activities and the voting power in your naturalized countries, so you can lobby for Somalia.
4. Organize forums and political platforms for Somali civil societies.
5. Not accepting any more warlord reconciliation conferences organized by IGAD, AU, or any other organizations that Ethiopia is behind or may have any input in.
6. Rejecting clan based 4.5 or similar divisive ways of power sharing in Somali politics.
This is the end of Ethiopian Dreams and the beginning of the Somali Hope.
Thank you to all who have encouraged me in continuing my story since the first part of this writing. God bless you all and God bless Somalia.
Abdulkadir Mohamud (Jangali)
E-mail: [email protected]