Sunday, March 27, 2005
Somali Reaction to Recent Ethiopian Invasion and Life Under the ICU
Somalis in their own words about the Ethiopian invasion and life under the ICU:
More at the bottom of this article:
Life is harsh here because of recent events; and it's been made worse by Ethiopian interference. Prices are rocketing, unemployment is rising and chaos prevails.-SAFIA, MOGADISHU, RESEARCHER
We feel afraid because there is a rampant lack of security. We see more assassinations and we hear more bombings; shops especially are being targeted.
The government has stepped up its campaign to restrict our freedom of expression. I think they want to prevent the outside world knowing what has happened in Somalia.
Of course there were big disagreements before [under the rule of the Union of Islamic Courts], but at least that came within the context of freedom of expression.
It is really terrifying here.
Everyone believes Ethiopia is only after its own interests in Somalia. I don't see any popular support for the new government. With the worsening security and economic situation, khat [a mild stimulant] is once again openly on sale in the markets.
I think the Ethiopian forces should withdraw and new negotiations should be launched between the disputing parties.
If not, the government and the Ethiopian forces will suffer heavily, as the resistance is growing day by day. Members of the government are afraid for their lives. They are aware that they are not popular.
They should pack up and leave. It is in everyone's best interests.
I hope Ethiopia's interference will help solve our problems - even though no-one here wants or accepts Ethiopia's involvement.-MAHMOUD ABDULLAH, MOGADISHU, CHARITY CHAIRMAN
The Ethiopian forces should focus on helping the transitional government build infrastructure, achieve peace and generally create a state.
The Islamic Courts radically changed things in Somalia. There was safety, peace and commerce. In other words, they brought Mogadishu back to life.
However, the Islamic Courts did not really create a state or its institutions. They created a tribal regime instead. The Ethiopian presence is a reality we just have to accept. What really matters is that we get peace and security.
The Islamic Courts should be allowed to return only as part of the institutions of a new government, and not on the basis of the tribal regime they adopted before they collapsed.
I think life will go on, and the Somalis will manage. We have survived more than 15 years of worse conditions than this.
It is a very precarious situation there in Mogadishu. Humanitarian conditions are getting worse, as Somalis suffer from Ethiopian interference and American bombings.-MUSTAFA EL-SOMALI, SUDAN, STUDENT
Violence breaks out and we don't know when it will finish.
I think the dispute between the Somali government and the Islamic Courts is ideological, not based on power-sharing ambitions.
Foreign interference is not new in Somalia. It's been there for a while. The road to peace in Somalia should start by ending Ethiopian, US and Kenyan interference in Somali affairs. Somalis should take power.
The Arab League and European Union should be the ones who help the reconciliation effort.
When the Islamic Courts were in charge, we had peace. I could go and visit people easily, and move around without being afraid. It's true they banned cinemas, but people didn't complain about that. There are no such restrictions on cinemas now.-ZAKIYA ABDULLAH, MOGADISHU, STUDENT
However, we need to wait and see what the new interim government and Ethiopian forces will do. I don't mind foreign intervention if it improves the situation here. Otherwise, the intervention should stop.
Life is difficult, but not as bad as it was before. We do have a problem with freedom of movement. I hope this improves.
More at the bottom of this article:
My name is Osman and I have lived in Mogadishu throughout the Somali civil war for the past 16 years. We had relative peace when the Islamic Courts ruled Mogadishu but we all knew it was not going to last because the Courts were not build to make peace but to destroy and disturb the Transitional Government. Now that the fake Courts are out the door, Somalia is at critical cross roads. Some people in Mogadishu are so impatient that they want the government to pacify Mogadishu less than two weeks. I think we need to give more time to the Transition government and have patience.-Osman Osman ALi, Mogadishu, Somalia
Warlords are rejoining and there is no peace whatever in Somalia. The only peace that we had was when the Islamists were in control. The Ethiopian soldiers are in Somalia but get attacked every few minutes.-Omar, Mogdishu
I am really disappointed. I don't know what to do. People of my age in Somalia have no future. They did not go to school because of warlords.-Mohamud Bashir, Nairobi, Kenya
I'm an 18-year old high school student I took most of my time in anarchy except six months of reliable security and free from worry. Now we are in the hands Ethiopia. My mother suggested to me to stop going to school until the security comes. That is great problem because I'll miss some of my last class lessons. I request the international community to look the new colonial period which is damaging my future.-Tahliil Olaad Hassan, Mogadishu
I am a Somali boy called Hassan Ahmed Mohamed Kabirow who was born in Mogadishu in 1980 and I grew up there. I am really, really very sorry for what is going on in my homeland especially in Mogadishu. I grew up with continuous civil war. I had no education except English language. I left in my country in 27/12/2001 because of civil war. And now I am in Cairo. There no homeland if there is no peace and security. Please bring security...-Hassan Ahmed Kabirow, Cairo, Egypt