April 9, 2012- It is with a sense of sadness and rage that I write this piece. It is sad and outrageous that we have lost Mowlid Macaane, MP, Faysal Haji Elmi, Said Mugambe, Mohamed I.Yabarow(Wiish), dedicated men of service and peace to the actions of members of a murderous homegrown, foreign inspired and foreign imposed Al-qaida outfit, that now must be understood clearly seeks a macabre thrill in the snuffing out of innocent lives. It is also tragic that the Alshabab, an out and out national and international outlaw group is still coating its rhetoric in Islamic theological justifications when all its actions are anti-life, anti-peace and hence anti-Islam. The latter could only happen because we failed to brand it as an international criminal anarchist organization, no different if not worse than the Mafia, international drug cartels or pirates who are all enemies of humanity.
I had met MP Mowliid Macaane as soon as I joined the TFG last July. Abukar Osman Balle, former chief of staff to PM Farmajo informed me that like him and I, Mowlid was also from Jowhar, a fact that piqued my interest. We met a few times and on those rare occasions we met in Mogadishu, he had one topic that he wanted to register in my mind: that the 4.5 formula is inherently unfair and also racist. Mowlid belonged to the Jareer (Bantu) clan that straddle along the banks of the two rivers, Shabelle and Juba; yet the MP always referred to his clan as Jareer Weyne (Greater Jareer clan) to emphasize the fact that his clan was not actually a minority, numerically speaking, and the fact that the status quo with respect to the place of his community in Somali society was no longer tenable and some change needed to be made for the better. He did have a point. The Jareer community has had its full share of civil strife and violence within the calumny that befell the Somali public in the last 20 years; but it also bore the brunt of the civil war, more than any other group, as unarmed group that has historically been discriminated and denigrated as less than second class citizens. Yet on the 4.5 power sharing formula, the Jareer Weyne and all the other constituent communities within the so-called point-five clan or “other”, the numbers game does not add up. In the absence of any census clearly mapping out clan demography, a good guestimate would be that the cumulative population of the constituent communities within the point-five clan may well be bigger than the main charter clans, individually or separately taken. He also had a knack for cleverly delivering his political messages with a nod to dramaturgy. I was told that he once stood up in parliament and asked the rhetorical question as to whether people see in him standing as a full man or a half a man or point five man!. True to his human rights defender form: RIP
Faysal Haji Elmi, may Allah bless his soul, despite our age difference, was a close friend of mine. I had met him in June 2011 at the home of MP, Khadija Mohamed Dirie, another Jowhar hometown buddy and a fierce gender equity activist. Almost instantly we connected and it turned out I already knew many of his siblings, such as Asha, Amina and Faahim. After I joined the TFG, Faysal began work at the office of the PM Abdiwali as a community outreach director but he also closely worked with me and my Ministry because he cared about reconciliation and communal understanding. He spoke, breathed and dreamt about peace and he had such exuberance for life and unlimited capacity for accommodating people and building bridges. Moreover, Faysal had friends all over and made new friends by the day and if you knew him you would, as I have, become part of a vast network of great people from all clans and communities. When I heard the news last night, I literally cried and then reflected on why we are killing off our best, our most dedicated people to the cause of life and peace; why Faysal who preached peace.RIP
Of the remaining martyrs Said Mungambe and Wiish, I had only known Said Mungambe. Yet both of them were sports icons who also contributed to sports development in the service of peace during the civil war. If you were connected and had your ears close to the ground, you would realize that the deceased pair organized one sports event or tournament, training etc after another and together they were fixtures in a field that has become an orphan as a result of the statelessness and lack of governance structures during the civil war. The two of them fit the bill of the Somali sports community where you will find the greatest pool of peace mongers, more than any other segment in our community.
I have come to know Said Mungambe through his brother Ali Biit, a friend since my teen years. I last ran into him at a restaurant in Mogadishu about three weeks ago and after we exchanged pleasantries and greetings, Mungambe and I began to talk about an issue we discussed before: peace themed sports tournaments throughout Somalia, and then we parted and promised to reconnect. I hope others within the sports community would take up on that promise and hope. RIP
As I attended the funeral of Mowlid and Faysal today, I made a mental note of a surge of hope because I could tell among the people attending the funeral a sense of outrage and disgust with the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. I also could not help but remember Redemption Songs: “How long Shall they Kill Our Prophets……………..”
I conclude by extending my heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the deceased martyrs and pray that Allah bestow them with patience and forbearance. Amen!
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