Apr 18, 2010

Who will speak up?

News coming out of Somalia in the last few weeks is nothing short of disturbing. The hard line militants rampaging in the country have banned radio music and school bells from chiming to signal end of classes because they are un-Islamic. This comes on the heels of other harsh restrictions and enforcements of Sharia law which include public stonings for adultery.

In February these extremists announced that they were forming an alliance with Al-Qaeda to establish an Islamic state and to fight a jihad across East Africa. The African Union currently has a peace keeping force in the country but they’re in no position to stem the violence, and the current government is weak and can do little effectively.

The questions I have are these - who is speaking up against these actions? What right does a group that does have not popular backing of the people have to make such decisions? They are enforcing their tyranny through the intimidation and bloodshed of innocent Somalis and the continent largely remains silent.

We’re always eager to point accusatory fingers at the West when they bring attention to such issues and ask that fixes be made. Yet when given the opportunity to be proactive we sit back and look the other way while Africans are denied basic human rights and are killed with impunity.

I also want to know why the Islamic world is not speaking up. Where are the loud protests against violence committed in the name of Allah? Will these voices only be heard if and when foreign troops are sent in? 

I do not see this just as a Somali problem, but symptomatic of the greater ills that plague Africa. How are we to move forward when situations such as the one in Somalia are allowed to flourish? We always argue for autonomy free of Western interests and yet stumble when it comes to taking responsibility. 


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