19 May 2007 04:27


  • Title: [SW Column] (Mohamed Abdulle Illal)  DICTATORSHIP EXHUMED
  • From:[]
  • Date :[23 July 2000]

Opinions expressed in this column are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of SW.


By Mohamed Abdulle Illal

A new dawn of history began in Somalia when armed officers craving for power overthrew the constitutional government in a bloodless coup-d' etat in October 21, 1969. And as it is universally known, all revolutionists have one common catch phrase "dealing with corruption, nepotism, mismanagement of public affairs, or saving the country from imminent disintegration". This was exactly what the coup leaders and their ranks were reiterating that morning over the radio and the mounted loud speakers. But the truth is, that was the day on which clouds of bleakness overcast the sky of Somalia, and a wind of fear and insecurity swept the relative harmony that existed at the time.

Logically speaking, political events of that magnitude are liable to provoke the conscience of any enlightened society, however the Somali people, who have a narrow perception of the values of democracy, birth rights, and human decency, had given blank cheque to the hijackers of the nation. This is to say, the Somalis had utterly failed to anticipate the dire consequences of the then premature dictatorial offence. Instead, they were readily stirred by emotion, and took the alleged slogans of the junta at face value, thereby receiving them with green leaves without questioning what the future would be like under military rule. Surely, it would have considerable impact on the oppressive intentions of the despotic regime had they organized themselves in time, and engaged in some form of resistance.

What happened then in the next morning, the military junta abrogated the voted for constitution of the country; disbanded the elected parliament; and put all government officials, MPs, and senior civil servants behind bars incommunicado.

But, again there was no sign of mass discontent, al least openly. So being further encouraged by the lack of responses from the people's side, the regime manifested its reign of terror. It started with imposing curbs on the freedom of expression, the freedom of press, the freedom of association, and the freedom of religion to mention a few. And this trend sustained only a short while before it gave way to more heinous forms of brutalities, such as arbitrary execution, detention with no access to justice, merciless tortures, and unwarranted seizure of private properties, not to talk about the resulting mental anguish and frustrations.

The deterioration of the situation had been gathering momentum day after day until after 21 long years of harsh rule, the despots lost control of the country into the hands of more trigger happy and highly disorganized marauders whose objectives were not beyond pillage and bloodshed. Thus, came the onset of a full-blown anarchy, which prevailed over the last vestiges of hope. And it did not take time before the country disintegrated into clan-based factions 90% of which were led by the same characters who were serving the defunct regime as ministers, diplomats and senior army officers.

Deplorably, the same criminals, who have been ever since engaging in killing and mutilating innocent people; drugging the youngsters to fight for them; and destroying both public and private properties, are now running for high offices.

But the question is what makes it possible for them to perpetrate as many atrocious crimes as they wish against this nation, and yet campaign for the leadership? The answer is very clear, it is the tenacious beliefs of tribalism  that dissuades the ordinary people from reflecting on the backgrounds of their so-called leaders, and that the social climbers take advantage of. And, in fact, this attitude symbolizes the moral emptiness of the Somali people. It is a nation in which wickedness prevails over reasoning and logic; a nation for which the past account of the person has no relevance since no one gets charged according to his actions or character; a nation in which anyone can kill as many innocent people as he wishes, and next day runs for presidency.

Similarly, what is happening in Arta, Djibouti, these days, is another history on the making. The merchants of death and drug dealers are trying one more time to hijack the fate of this nation is the name of finding solutions for the problems they themselves created.

So, once again, it is a defining moment, and a trial of peoples' conscience whether they use this conference as an appropriate forum to condemn both the malignant tribalism and whoever uses it as a material for his personal gains, or whether they give renewal allegiance to the brutalizes of this nation, which if they do, will be tantamount to a victim turning to his tormentor for help; and to accepting the defunct dictatorship to be unearthed.


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