Thursday, January 23, 2020
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Let’s Halt the Political Bickering and Bury the Dead

By Abdi Mohamud

Al-Shabaab, the Al-Qaeda affiliated group attacked innocent people, driving a vehicle full of powerful explosives at rush hour in a busy street in Mogadishu, Somalia. This area known as X-Control is a high traffic area where commuter buses bound for different parts of the city drop off and pick up commuters. Thousands of people pass through this place daily, including traders, students, workers, and many others going about their business. December 28th, 2019 was a sad day in Mogadishu.

The ex-control check point explosion

Somalis felt a great deal of pain and sorrow. No words can describe the magnitude of this calamity exacted at the Somali people and their assets. However, the people of Mogadishu came together, acted swiftly, and started attending to the victims. They used their meagre resources generously to care for the wounded and bury the dead. The heinous attack will not waiver the commitment and determination of the Somali people to liberate their country from this terrorist group. It will be defeated soon Insha’Allah.

Terrorism is a global phenomenon that requires international action, efforts, and resources. There is no easy solution other than that fight has to go on. This fight starts condemning terrorism as well as offering sympathy and support to victims of terrorism. Every decent, sensible human being shows sympathy and offers condolences in all tragic occurrences. Condolences signify love, tenderness and care. And we, Somalis this is our first action taken, and first weapon deployed in our fight against Al-Shabaab. This has been the norm and still is in every age, country and continent. And that is why Islam enjoins the believers to serve and comfort the bereaved for three days. The support, kindness, and the physical presence of others reduce the physical and mental suffering that the bereaved may experience. In America and other rich countries, they even dispatch professional counsellors who provide essential services to the impacted people. The aim is to lessen the anguish of death and help people overcome the mental and physical devastation and suffering associated with loss of loved ones.

While the significance of condolences to the bereaved is indisputable, Mohamed Fatah has attempted to diminish the relevance and importance of this age-old practice by humanity the world over. Mr. Fatah disparaged Somali leaders for extending their condolences to the people affected by bomb attack on 28 Dec 2019 in Mogadishu in recent blog Somali Government Not Serious About Fighting Al-Shabaab. What led Mr. Fatah to take this path where he tried to degrade the national leaders for their support and sympathy to the Somali people, particularly those directly impacted by the blast remains unclear. It is stunning though. Is he too arrogant to object to any sympathy and support towards the bereaved? 

Mr. Fatah, a man who claims that he has achieved distinction and eminence in his profession, was expected to be more sensible in regards to this tragic incident. He should not only have offered his condolences but also should have been on his way to Mogadishu with essential and life-saving supplies. This was not a time of settling scores and capitalizing on the pain of the Somali people. Mr. Fatah continued blaming Farmaajo/Khayre on what happened in Mogadishu. That may be fair but it will prove difficult for any leader to degrade, and defeat Al-Shabaab without first having the decades old army embargo imposed on our nation lifted. The continued army embargo is unjust, justified as it limits the nation’s ability to defend itself as well as to secure its people from this blood-thirsty, inhumane terrorist group. Mr. Fatah understands this issue well but he chose not to address it

I understand that Mr. Fatah was a close aide to President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, advising him on security matters and that role gave him an opportunity to have an ample understanding of the myriad challenges that exist in Somalia. Many years of war and neglect devastated the economy, education, infrastructure, and social cohesion. Farmaajo and Khaire are well aware of the magnitude and depth of these matters, and they are committed to tackling these challenges one at a time. With patience, hard work, and wisdom, the nation will achieve progress under their leadership. In fact, success has already been attained in some sectors. More students are in school, government revenue has increased, ghost workers have been dealt with, and the country is close to being awarded total debt cancellation. Debt free status is highly coveted honor that every nation wants to earn. The realization of this goal, which is now within reach, will boost the country’s moral, confidence and determination to achieve more significant progress in many spheres. While every Somali should be proud of this accomplishment, Mr. Fatah is questioning the importance of this rare achievement. I found unreasonable the logic of his questioning in this matter. He should see that the cup is half full. Not half empty.

Similarly, and strangely enough, I have found Mr. Fatah’s US admiration unfathomable. There is a strong likelihood that Mr. Fatah is on a public relations campaign for Donald Trump, who is a bigot, racist, disgraced, and impeached president. That is evident in his writings. Mr. Trump’s bigotry and hatred towards Somalis is well known. He has used all kinds of derogatory language against them. He has even barred them from entering his country. He is politically sitting in a precarious position as his removal from office is imminent. Mr. Fatah claimed in another piece titled Growing Frustration with Somalia’s Unchecked Government that America sends one billion dollars to Somalia. He went on saying that the country would cease operating without this American financial support. And he has addressed Mr. Trump as Mr. President Trump in all his article to show respect, deference, and perhaps love. Mr. Trump commands no respect or deference and he is subject of daily ridicule. It may be true that the dollar amount in question sent to Somalia. However, the question is who gets and benefits it. Bigger portion of the funds is allocated to American troops in Somalia. 

These troops are part of American military presence in Africa also known as Africom. The Americans are there just to ward off the Chinese who are also getting more ambitious and aggressive in terms of having their fair share of influence in Africa. The US embassy in Mogadishu also receives its share of the billion-dollar amount. Somalia, if any, gets minimal. So it is highly problematic that Mr. Fatah is deliberately distorting facts and spreading false information. American troops are given a free hand when it comes to what they can do in Somalia. They are making life hellish for the poor Somalis due to constant air raid. They are doing this at the pretext that they are targeting Al-Shabaab. The fact is that Somalia has become free test grounds for the Americans. They are eager to see how powerful and lethal their weapons are.

The killings, displacement and other atrocities committed by Americans have met war crime criteria. This is a fact attested by rights groups and media organizations who have documented the American transgressions in Somalia, such as Amnesty International reporting on USA/Somalia: Shroud of Secrecy Around Civilian Deaths Masks Possible War Crimes. They have killed hundreds, maybe thousands of people, forced many more to flee, destroyed their livelihood, and reduced many villages and community settlements inhabitable. The terror by the Americans in Somalia is the same as or worse than the one caused by Al-Shabaab. So, Mr. Fatah’s reticence on these inhumane crimes by the Americans is troubling. Unfortunately, it seems that Mr. Fatah, who claims to be a multidisciplinary expert with vast experience in different fields, is getting wrong on everything regarding Somali. 

Another strange thing is that Mr. Fatah came up with quick rebuttal in defense of United Arab Emirates (UAE) when Somali Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) reported its preliminary findings on the latest bomb in Mogadishu. Mr. Fatah was quick to discredit and attack NISA. He also assaulted with such a fury and passion on a Turkish website that concurred with NISA. The website went further by identifying UAE as the sole perpetrator behind the massacre of the innocent Somalis while NISA mentioned no names.

This is a Somali institution where hundreds, maybe thousands of dedicated, patriotic Somalis work, associated with. The suspicion of UAE as the perpetrator should not be a surprise given the destabilizing, subversive actions she has done lately in Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and elsewhere. The newly found wealth has made UAE arrogant and ambitious. She has developed arriviste’s behavior where she is trying to be with big league nations. Unfortunately, she is ill-prepared to be in that position yet hubris blinds her to come to terms with that reality.

Abdi Mohamud
Email: [email protected]

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