The "War on Terror" and Africa's Worst Humanitarian
By Sadia Ali Aden
Approximately three months ago,
Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG),
pressured out Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi.
Surprisingly, this political re-arrangement of
deckchairs generated much noisy headlines.
Meanwhile the real story - the great
unfolding humanitarian disaster - continued unnoticed.
For the Somali people, the Ethiopian
invasion of December of 2006 could not have started at a
worse time. Defeating the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC)
and propping up the TFG; this was Ethiopia's immediate
rationale for violating Somalia. The larger goal?
Forging a partnership between Washington and Addis Ababa
in order to execute "war on terror."
A year later, this mission has not
been accomplished. Instead, the "war on terror" has
become the terror of war being visited on the Somali
Admittedly a handful of Somalis have
benefited from the invasion, specifically the dozens of
warlords previously driven out of Mogadishu by the UIC.
These warlords, the instigators of Somalia's current
civil conflict, were reinstalled in their fiefdoms
riding on the backs of Ethiopia's invading tanks. As a
result, the reviled check points and road blocks used to
bully cash out of unarmed civilians were reintroduced in
Southern Somalia, particularly Mogadishu.
To keep the invasion and Africa's
worst humanitarian catastrophe going, heavy and modern
weapons, including airplanes were used. One was a U.S.
Air Force AC-130 gunship that attacked and killed Somali
villagers and countless livestock in the hunt for three
foreign men suspected for the bombing of 1998 American
embassies in Africa, who yet remain at large.
Among those caught in the chaos were
visiting Somalis from the Diaspora. In the period
between June and December 2006, Somali technocrats
returned to their native country to partake in the
rebuilding during the six month period of peace and
stability that was established under the rule of the UIC.
The Diaspora arrived with the intention to give back to
the land and the people they left behind and contribute
to rebuilding their lives.
rendition" programs were the gratitude they received.
The TFG, Kenya, Ethiopia and US are all implicated.
Males as young as 12 were seized from their homes in the
dead of the night, blindfolded and taken to unknown
Fleeing refugees met a similar fate.
Unfortunately, these refugees had nowhere to escape, as
Kenya decided to close its borders and deny them entry.
This paved the way for the current nightmare scenario:
one million internally displaced persons (IDPs,) mostly
children and women, without any provision or protection
from the UN or other humanitarian agencies or NGOs.
In order to create a safe haven for
the displaced refugees, the international community must
demand that neighboring countries open their borders.
All too often, the casualties of war are those that are
unmentioned: the innocent men, women and children,
caught in the middle, left with no way out.
The UN's High Commissioner for
Refugees, António Guterres, said border security
measures should not impair the ability of deserving
Somali civilians to enter Kenya to seek safety and
protection as refugees. The neighboring nations have a
humanitarian responsibility to safeguard these
On October 30, 2007, 40 international
NGOs released a joint statement warning of the looming
humanitarian catastrophe in Somalia, while Ethiopian
forces and militias loyal to the Transitional Federal
Government callously prevent delivery of life-saving
Ethiopian forces continue their
shelling of Mogadishu neighborhoods. According to Elman
Human Rights group, 7000 civilians - mostly women,
children, and elderly - were killed between January and
November of 2007.
Human Rights Watch's August 2007
report on Somalia, titled
"Shell-Shocked: Civilians Under Siege in Mogadishu,"
documented "many of the most serious patterns of abuse
by Ethiopian troops, such as indiscriminate attacks on
civilians, summary executions and repeated targeting of
hospitals," wrote the organization's Washington Advocacy
Director for Human Rights Watch, Tom Malinowski, in an
open letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
However, the international media by
and large remain morally selective in what they show to
Somali caricaturist, Amin Amir (AminArts.com)
depicts this moral selectivity on his
December 12, 2007 cartoon. The powerful imagery
shows a representative of the international media
zooming his camera on a severely malnourished child
standing in the middle of a killing field littered with
bodies while Ethiopian jets fly overhead firing
missiles. The child declares: "I don't need your
coverage; it is these atrocities"—pointing to the
dead—"that you need to be telling the world."
The current Somali nightmare was
exacerbated by the systematic assassination of Somali
independent media groups. And the silence of the
international community on this matter is deeply
disturbing and sadly deafening. This year alone, eight
Somali journalists were killed for having simply dared
report the reality on the streets of Mogadishu. The TFG
and Ethiopian forces have created an environment of
terror and coercion.
According to the
United Nations Children's Fund, one-quarter of the
refugees around Afgooye are younger than age of five.
Sick children and pregnant women often are turned away
at checkpoints, and trucks carrying food and other
humanitarian aid are routinely charged $500 each for
"Things are now getting absolutely
worse," said Christian Balslev-Olesen, the UNICEF
representative for Somalia. "There is a dirtiness to
this war. Children are a real target."
Sadia Ali Aden is a mother, writer, and voice for
justice and equality who lives in Virginia. She can be
email@example.com This e-mail address is being
view it .
originally appeared in
Black Agenda Report
posted 4 December 2007
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Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All
By Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons knows firsthand that
wealth is rooted in much more than the
market. True wealth has more to do with
what's in your heart than what's in your
wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons
became one of America's shrewdest
entrepreneurs, achieving a level of
success that most investors only dream
about. No matter how much material gain
he accumulated, he never stopped lending
a hand to those less fortunate. In
Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare
blend of spiritual savvy and
street-smart wisdom to offer a new
definition of wealth-and share timeless
principles for developing an unshakable
sense of self that can weather any
financial storm. As Simmons says, "Happy
can make you money, but money can't make
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The New Jim Crow
Mass Incarceration in the Age of
By Michele Alexander
Contrary to the
rosy picture of race embodied in Barack
Obama's political success and Oprah
Winfrey's financial success, legal
scholar Alexander argues vigorously and
persuasively that [w]e have not ended
racial caste in America; we have merely
redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial
segregation has been replaced by mass
incarceration as a system of social
control (More African Americans are
under correctional control today... than
were enslaved in 1850). Alexander
reviews American racial history from the
colonies to the Clinton administration,
delineating its transformation into the
war on drugs. She offers an acute
analysis of the effect of this mass
incarceration upon former inmates who
will be discriminated against, legally,
for the rest of their lives, denied
employment, housing, education, and
public benefits. Most provocatively, she
reveals how both the move toward
colorblindness and affirmative action
may blur our vision of injustice: most
Americans know and don't know the truth
about mass incarceration—but her
carefully researched, deeply engaging,
and thoroughly readable book should
* * * *
Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays
Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a
collection of fourteen essays by scholars and
creative writers from Africa and the Americas.
Called one of two significant critical works on
Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late
1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of
Carter G. Woodson and
Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as
well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations
were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early
essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish
medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an
historical context for understanding 20th-century
creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone
writers, such as Cuban
Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist,
Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the
significance of Negritude in Latin America. This
collaborative text set the tone for later
conferences in which writers and scholars worked
together to promote, disseminate, and critique the
literature of Spanish-speaking people of African
descent. . . .
Cited by a
literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the
field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which
most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."
* * * * *
The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
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Ancient African Nations
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If you like this page consider making a donation
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Negro Digest /
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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
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George Jackson /
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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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update 20 December 2011