At this critical juncture in the history of Somalia, the potential for a lasting peace is subservient to a new breed of tribal politics driven by opportunistic warlords. The momentum of this ravenous wildfire has lately been gaining strength in the Diaspora too. The current TFG, despite its lack of accomplishment, is singular in making limited but serious steps at establishing a functioning government, despite her conspicuous deficiencies,. She is making headways in a variety of international stages; it is getting the ears of nations and international organizations that can have an effect on the stability of Somalia but still lacks the overwhelming support of Somalis especially the Diaspora. Tribalism is the major factor impeding the Diaspora’s unanimous endorsement of the TFG. The idiosyncrasies of individuals in the TFG with a track record of excessive abuse of trust and warlord ism, newcomers who are currently inventing themselves to garner wealth and power is another factor that does not appeal to a sizable number of people. Nevertheless, the flickers of hope to reawaken the long-lost stability of Somalia spawned a sense of emergency in the warlords who ruthlessly preside over Mogadishu and the Southern Regions. A stable government would mean they will no longer take pleasure in an uninhibited abuse of human rights and unrestrained exploitation and destruction of national resources. It means an end to the evil and voracious appetite of warlords devoid of conscience and morals. Afraid that their gluttonous subjugation of peaceful communities is coming to an end, they mounted a campaign to appeal to the vegetative conscience of the Diaspora.
Blind allegiance to tribe caused much pain and suffering to the Somalis and the current events are not any different. We have lately seen a storm of political maneuvers from these warlords; envoys on extended overseas visits, a barrage of communiques to sway the thinking of the international community; and a volley of communication with the Diaspora in an effort to appeal to their subconscious tribal instincts. For the last 15 years, these warlords practiced indiscriminate killing; they looted, maimed, burned, raped and subjected the people of the Southern Regions, to unparalleled acts of inhumanity and enslavement. Apart from some lone voices, the silence of the Diaspora on this issue seems to be an indication of endorsement of these morally repugnant acts which are usually wrapped in a shroud of tribalism and religious charlatanism. The Diaspora has an obligation to understand the full impact of these warlords’ devastation. Notwithstanding the perpetuation of social unrest and the intrinsic evils it connotes, they have also irreversibly obliterated the environment.
It is equally a bolt from the blue to see that the TFG is in collusion with the warlords to continue the abnegation of the humanity of the people in the fertile triangle of Somalia who have borne the brunt of the civil chaos. The TFG willingly agreed to proceed with the Joint Needs Assessment, in the absence and without the consultation of the millions who suffer daily under the merciless hand of inhuman “Alien Warlords”. I call them alien because of the treatment they deliver to their fellow Somalis; I call them alien because they are the cause of armed enmasse migration to the Southern Regions with the sole intention to occupy land by force, subjugate communities by force and gain economically as a result of that forced occupation. Could it be that the TFG is in the process of solidifying the eternalness of the warlords’ foot on the backs of those they have trampled on for a decade and a half? The TFG is not in a position to guarantee the required social justice and does not have mechanisms to ensure that social inequalities do not engender an endless cycle of civil war. She, then, has no choice but to refrain from acknowledging and solidifying their stranglehold on the lives millions of our fellow Somalis.
In a speech in 4/6/2004 to WIDER Development Conference, Helsinki, the President of the Crisis Management Institute, Martti Ahtisaari alluded to the dangers of institutional weakness, social disparity and scarcity in national conflicts: “The causes of conflict are often manifold, and attempts to point to one determining factor are generally not successful. We have, however, in recent years seen the emergence of certain trends suggesting strong linkages between scarcity, inequality and institutional weaknesses in societies and their abilities to ensure peace and security”.
Environmental issues prevalent in the central regions of Somalia, tribalism and the peaceful nature of the people in the Fertile Triangle conspired against them. The constant cycle of flood and famine in Somalia had severe impact on the human and animal life. Famine recurrance in the central regions and the subsequent desertifcation had the biggest impact. Even before the civil war, migration from these regions into the cities, and especially Mogadishu, has been a notable feature of social movement. After the civil war, an opportunity arose whereby large numbers of armed militias forcefully occupied both private and public land.
Dr. Adekeye Adebajo summarized it beautifully in one of his research papers Economic Agendas in Civil Wars: A Conference Summary, April 1999 when he said that:
The parallels drawn by Dr. Adebajo between his search and the actual situation in South Somalia are amazing. Warlords who have acquired large cache of weapons and supported by tribal militia forcefully settled in the Southern Regions. Of course, they are entitled to peaceful settlement anywhere in Somaia, but because that has not happened, it is only precautionary on my part to mention it in case someone is wondering. The need to sustain control of this part of Somalia entails the establishment of economic infrastructure. The labour force required for such a build up comes from the communities whose farms and property were taken by force. It is natural and real that these communities will always keep their eyes on securing their humanity and protecting their lives and property. And as a result, the outcome; perpetuation of violence for generations to come; which is part of the consequences of our own deafness to hear the voices of suffering, will continue to haunt us for along time.
The Diaspora needs to realize that there are specific features of national destruction besides the dehumanization. Man-made environmental destruction and deforestation is occuring at an alarming and an unprecedented scale as entire forests are being burned down for charcoal exportation. The resulting disaster is the desertification of the Southern Regions which are about the only part of Somalia that has some hope of being rescued environmentally.
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