Life or Death: Humanity Runs Awry in Somalia
By Hwaa Irfan
Somalia has been a part of U.S. African policy since WWII as a conduit to the Middle East. In the 1960s tensions grew as a result of the colonial mentality of creating new borders. Mogadishu fell under the new colonial boundaries which cut through Somali territory dividing kith and kin, undermining the economy, compromising the delicate ecological balance, and undermining the development of Somalia as a whole. This led to territorial disputes as the concept of colonial borders as designed by the Washington Consensus was unacceptable increasing tensions and conflicts between Ethiopia, Kenya, Eritrea, and Somalia which was complicated by the Cold War, the U.S. refusal of the presence of “rival” countries in Somalia, and the constant flow of U.S. humanitarian aid.
However, Somalia did once enjoy prosperity and at the same time managed to resist 14 foreign-backed governments, and did have a fully functional civil society when the state was banished in 1991 along with the newly constructed U.S. embassy leaving the U.S backed warlords in place, and farmers unable to plant or harvest. By 1992, the image of Somalia as a famine struck country was projected by the UN which lead to a U.S. military led humanitarian relief in Somalia which lasted 6 months, with the U.S. military placed throughout the country with the U.S. handing over control to the U.N. Fearing control, as Somalis were exposed to the type non-lethal weapons that removed the skin, Somalis forced the U.N. out of the country.
After 9/11 the U.S. formed a naval blockade, then denied Somali self determination by denying them statehood, which allowed for the U.S. supported Ethiopian incursion into Somalia.
Now, 30,000 children died in one month – one month alone! Why? Because they were starving, and they were Somalian! Countries turned their back because of Somali piracy, ignoring the initial reason behind the piracy being the dumping of toxic waste on their shores in a country that suffers droughts once in every five years. In an ecologically delicate environment pressure has been added by the U.S. so-called war on terror, Al-Shabaab, Ethiopian interference, and the UN.
In none of the mainstream media was it acknowledged that for the past two years foreign aircraft was shooting and killing their cattle. As the famine spreads 400,000 Somalis have been displaced in Afgoye settlements near the capital Mogadishu. The monsoons have begun, but to buy water costs $700 (£430) for 10,000 litres.
Not even their neighbours did anything including their neighbours in the midst of Ramadhan! We demand mercy, but in the month of mercy we are not merciful. Instead of going on Hajj again, the money put aside can be given to prevent more Somalis from dying from hunger in a world that has a growing problem with obesity. Instead of paying zakat, and sadaqat (charity) to some self interested entity help push the balance away from death towards life!
The famine in Somalia is the responsibility of Africans, of Muslims, of Arabs, and the developed world for the famine in Somalia is a result of climate change, a change that is a product of greed and excess, which also includes the exploitation of African natural resources to build western capitalism. The millions that have “appeared,” to support Japan, to bail out banks and Greece again (because Greece was a way of “processing money for Europe), to give undesired aid to Egypt, and to carryout CIA operations in Somalia.
With foreign presence there long before the “official” UN declaration that there is in fact a famine is a crime in itself, because the severe drought was known many months before in the Bakool and Lower Shabelle.
The warlords that were wreaking havoc across the country were creations of the U.S. so-called war on terror – funded and armed by the U.S. to fight “al-Qaeda” which also happens to have some American members! Al-Shebaab for all their crimes, is the excuse which has justifiable reasons to not want foreign aid entering the strategic country of Somalia, which in the long term will prove to be a threat, but that does not include Africans, Arabs, and Muslims. This has been evidenced by the fact that Islamic Relief, Unicef, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are operating in Al-Shebaab controlled areas alongside Somali NGOs. Muslim Aid have distributed food aid to the internally displaced from Somalia and Ethiopis in Hargiesa National Stadium where they have found shelter.
Yet with the huge machinations and networks of the UN and the World Food Program seem unable to get food and medical aid to Somalia!
Type of Food Aid
Everyday, unsold fruits and vegetables are wasted, while UNICEF can only provide 20 day supply of questionable soy-blend products that do not add to the health and proper nutrition of Somalis. Muslim Aid has distributed rice, wheat-floor and vegetable oil.
Channeling unwanted foods through food aid has been a notorious practice including the introduction of western foods to ‘convert’ the diet of the people turning them into long term consumers undermining local food production as dependency on food imports increase.
Leading By Example
To know the truth about Somalia, leading by example an unprecedented visit by a top non-African official, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu occurred on Friday 19th 2011. The PM was accompanied by his wife and daughter to what is painted by the corporate media as a war zone. They have broken the myth that no one can go there.
“They have shown they can share the hardship and the feelings that the Somalian people have – and this sends a signal to the rest of the world, ” said Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed to Deustch Welle reporter Dorian Jones in Istanbul. Ahmed was attending an emergency meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference called by Turkey to address the growing crisis. What has taken place since is a commitment:
- Prime Minister Erdogan pledges to raise U.S$200mn for Somalia in a public appeal by the end of the Ramadhan
- African Union and Somali forces drove out Al Shebaab from Mogadishu
- Turkish aid has been airlifted to Somalia
- Ships carrying supplies are en route.
- Intention to open an embassy in Somalia as a part of its global outreach/influence
- A banner erected in the middle of Mogadishu depicting Erdogan and Ahmed states:
“We are grateful to Turkey for not forgetting us in these difficult times”.
- Turkish public has raised U.S$115mn to aid Somalia
- Prime Minister Erdogan promises to build a road from the airport to the capital.
Somalia offers the world the opportunity to give back what it has taken without permission. Not to give money, but to give real food for real lives, to give in terms of skill to rebuild the agricultural industry, and to give by allowing Somalis to benefit from their agricultural, from self determination, and from statehood, and also to stop the land grab which provides food insecurity for the countries the land is “taken”, and food security for the investing country.
Want to help?
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Jones, D. “Turkey pledges aid to famine-stricken Somalia.” http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15331391,00.html
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