Monday, May 9, 2011

Turning the lights back on in Mogadishu, Somalia

The mayor of Mogadishu insists that the gunfire and mortar explosions of his legendarily dangerous city are greatly exaggerated.“It’s much safer than Baghdad,” he says brightly.After 20 years of devastating war, the people of Mogadishu have few dreams beyond their daily survival. A level of violence marginally lower than Baghdad might be all they dare hope for.But the mayor, Mohamed Nur, has big ambitions for the war-torn capital of Somalia. Operating on a tiny budget, he and his employees are cleaning up the garbage and providing electricity for streetlights in the darkened streets. They are chopping down the thorn bushes, opening new markets and setting up basketball and volleyball courts.

They are even planting flowers and trees in a few places – although they are often stolen at night.“The flowers and gardens are psychological,” he says. “It’s symbolic. We want to show that we can come back and live normally.”Yet it will take more than flowers to restore peace in Mogadishu, where the government is besieged by a militant Islamic guerrilla army known as al-Shabab. The mayor admits his city faces horrific problems of corruption, violence, homelessness and unemployment.Mr. Nur, who fled Mogadishu in 1993, spent most of the past 18 years in Britain. He ran a small Internet café in London, joined the Labour Party, ran for city council, and idolized London’s former socialist mayor Ken Livingstone.Last year, Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed asked him to return to the country of his birth and become mayor of its biggest city. With some qualms, he accepted. He told his family that one day they might hear of his assassination or his death in an explosion.He only wanted to bring a ray of hope to the city. “The population of Mogadishu was in a dark cage, with no light, no windows, and only a horrible noise that the people could not see,” he said. “They accepted the fear and darkness and it became normal because they know nothing else. But now we are trying to break open a window in their cage." It has not been easy. Anger and frustration cloud his face as he remembers a cultural festival he organized this year – the first in Mogadishu in the past 20 years. Singers and dancers were arranged, and thousands of people gathered in the streets. And then a gang of gunmen pulled up in a pick-up truck and opened fire on the crowd. Four civilians were killed and 16 were injured.Even worse, he says, the gunmen were government soldiers, and their alleged ringleader was his predecessor, former mayor Mohamed Dhere, who remains a powerful force in the city. A few weeks later, Mr. Dhere was released from jail, infuriating the new mayor.Mr. Nur claims that Somali court officials accepted bribes to release Mr. Dhere. “It’s a disaster,” he fumes. “From top to bottom, the courts are corrupt. Without a judicial system, this country cannot function.”Corruption and violence seem almost unstoppable here. Even in the city government, bribery is expected, Mr. Nur says. Some of his own department heads are stealing money and embezzling public property, he says, yet he cannot get rid of them.And then there are the government soldiers. “Some of them are only trained to kill, and they’re roaming around the markets with guns full of bullets,” Mr. Nur said. “They are threatening innocent civilians and even killing them. They can rob or kill for food. The insecurity in Mogadishu is caused by those soldiers.”The social problems are equally massive. After decades of war, about half of the city’s three million people have fled. Of those who remain, hundreds of thousands are living in squalid refugee camps, vulnerable to disease, without hope of jobs or education. The unemployment rate among young people is 90 to 95 per cent, he says.“The camps could be a breeding ground for Shabab. A lot of people are born in camps and grow up in camps. They have no chance at jobs. Shabab is attractive to young people who have nothing to do.”The despair is symbolized by the vast forest of thorn bushes that has blanketed the city in the past 20 years. “They conquer every space in Mogadishu,” the mayor says. “They even block the roads and fill the houses.”To provide some hope for the unemployed youth, Mr. Nur is trying to organize sports activities. But the city’s two soccer stadiums are both under the control of the Islamic militants, who believe that sports are evil. Even in government-controlled areas, female athletes must cover their legs in baggy track suits because of Islamic dress codes. “The women who play basketball in this environment are very courageous and committed,” he says.Because of the shortage of sports facilities, some women tried to play basketball on a military field near the presidential palace. But a government soldier ordered them to stop. He, too, told them it was evil to play sports.“It was a crime,” Mr. Nur said. “He should be in prison.Globe and Mail
Post a Comment

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner General Mohamed Abshir

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner  General Mohamed Abshir

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater
Somalia army parade 1979

Sultan Kenadid

Sultan Kenadid
Sultanate of Obbia

President of the United Meeting with Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of the Somali Republic,

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire
Sultanate of Warsengeli

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre
Siad Barre ( A somali Hero )

MoS Moments of Silence

MoS Moments of Silence
honor the fallen

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre  and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie
Beautiful handshake

May Allah bless him and give Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan

May Allah bless him and give  Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan
Honorable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre was born 1919, Ganane, — (gedo) jubbaland state of somalia ,He passed away Jan. 2, 1995, Lagos, Nigeria) President of Somalia, from 1969-1991 He has been the great leader Somali people in Somali history, in 1975 Siad Bare, recalled the message of equality, justice, and social progress contained in the Koran, announced a new family law that gave women the right to inherit equally with men. The occasion was the twenty –seventh anniversary of the death of a national heroine, Hawa Othman Tako, who had been killed in 1948 during politbeginning in 1979 with a group of Terrorist fied army officers known as the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF).Mr Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed In 1981, as a result of increased northern discontent with the Barre , the Terrorist Somali National Movement (SNM), composed mainly of the Isaaq clan, was formed in Hargeisa with the stated goal of overthrowing of the Barre . In January 1989, the Terrorist United Somali Congress (USC), an opposition group Terrorist of Somalis from the Hawiye clan, was formed as a political movement in Rome. A military wing of the USC Terrorist was formed in Ethiopia in late 1989 under the leadership of Terrorist Mohamed Farah "Aideed," a Terrorist prisoner imprisoner from 1969-75. Aideed also formed alliances with other Terrorist groups, including the SNM (ONLF) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), an Terrorist Ogadeen sub-clan force under Terrorist Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess in the Bakool and Bay regions of Southern Somalia. , 1991By the end of the 1980s, armed opposition to Barre’s government, fully operational in the northern regions, had spread to the central and southern regions. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes, claiming refugee status in neighboring Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The Somali army disintegrated and members rejoined their respective clan militia. Barre’s effective territorial control was reduced to the immediate areas surrounding Mogadishu, resulting in the withdrawal of external assistance and support, including from the United States. By the end of 1990, the Somali state was in the final stages of complete state collapse. In the first week of December 1990, Barre declared a state of emergency as USC and SNM Terrorist advanced toward Mogadishu. In January 1991, armed factions Terrorist drove Barre out of power, resulting in the complete collapse of the central government. Barre later died in exile in Nigeria. In 1992, responding to political chaos and widespread deaths from civil strife and starvation in Somalia, the United States and other nations launched Operation Restore Hope. Led by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the operation was designed to create an environment in which assistance could be delivered to Somalis suffering from the effects of dual catastrophes—one manmade and one natural. UNITAF was followed by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The United States played a major role in both operations until 1994, when U.S. forces withdrew. Warlordism, terrorism. PIRATES ,(TRIBILISM) Replaces the Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre administration .While the terrorist threat in Somalia is real, Somalia’s rich history and cultural traditions have helped to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. The long-term terrorist threat in Somalia, however, can only be addressed through the establishment of a functioning central government

The Honourable Ronald Reagan,

When our world changed forever

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)
Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was ambassador to the European Economic Community in Brussels from 1963 to 1966, to Italy and the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] in Rome from 1969 to 1973, and to the French Govern­ment in Paris from 1974 to 1979.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac 'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac  'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.
Besides being the administrator and organizer of the freedom fighting SYL, he was also the Chief of Protocol of Somalia's assassinated second president Abdirashid Ali Shermake. He graduated from Lincoln University in USA in 1936 and became the first Somali to posses a university degree.

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic
Somalia

About Us

The Foundation is dedicated to networking like-minded Somalis opposed to the terrorist insurgency that is plaguing our beloved homeland and informing the international public at large about what is really happening throughout the Horn of Africa region.

Blog Archive

We Are Winning the War on Terrorism in Horn of Africa

The threat is from violent extremists who are a small minority of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, the threat is real. They distort Islam. They kill man, woman and child; Christian and Hindu, Jew and Muslim. They seek to create a repressive caliphate. To defeat this enemy, we must understand who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for.

Terror Free Somalia Foundation