Friday, April 11, 2008

‘President’ Abdullahi Yusuf: Wearing betrayal as a badge of distinction

Note to the readers: The issue of personal attacks and character assassination seems to have been misunderstood by many Somali readers, such that a mention of a politician, nowadays, runs the risk of an outcry of ‘it is personal attack’ clamour. To my knowledge, stating historical facts purported to have taken place (which can still be disputed), or bringing up names of political figures (without infringing on their physical, family or ancestral quarter) can, by no means, be categorized under that label. Indeed, it has now become trendy to hide under the sanctuary provided by the confusions that arise out of the mix-up of the very notion of what amounts to slander (libel) and what doesn’t. And, it is quite suffocating!

If Lombroso was alive today, he would have buried himself in the sand in ignominy. Cesare Lombroso, the Italian criminologist, believed in ‘biological determinism’ and argued that ‘criminals have particular physiognomic attributes or deformities’. According to him, criminality was inherited, and hence ‘the born criminal could be distinguished by physical atavistic stigmata’. These physical attributes including, inter alia, large jaws, low sloping foreheads, hawk-like noses or hard shifty eyes.

Well, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, Somalia’s ‘President’ has none of that; yet he is a wicked criminal. In fact, with avuncular looks, curly hair and ever-present ‘adeer, listen to me’ talk, he is just another elderly Somali father.

The deeper I look into the man’s face, albeit irrationally, the lesser I could find any trace of proof to validate the Italian’s assertions. The very exploration of Lombroso’s supposition, was itself disconcerting, as I realized that such attitude will land me into the club of ‘eugenists’; and that after all, Lombroso’s theory failed to stand to the test of times and are no longer considered as the foundations of contemporary criminology.

To what does Lombroso’s purported theory amount to, then? To nothing! But that is not the end of the story. Luckily, criminals who escape that ‘natural detector’ can still be seized by the more rigorous one of scrutinizing their deeds and that is what I did with Abdullahi yusuf.

Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed’s litany of crimes, rebellion, killings, and tribalism epitomises the ugliness of treason and betrayal of national interest: a treason he wears with gusto, as if it is a medal of honour.

In 1977, at the height of the Ethio-Somali war, a group of Somali Colonels hatched up a plot to subvert the gains made by the gallant Somali army. Somalia’s current president was a key resident in that abode of iniquity. He is, however, lucky because Somali’s are tribal society and treason is pardonable. Or so it looks.

His revolt against the tyrannical dictatorship of the late President - Siyad Barre, is understandable and in many ways commendable, but his later day actions point to a less ‘nationalistic’ motives for the insurrection than he purports it to be. A man, who privately confides with associates and clans-men, that the ‘Qaran-diid’ Hawiya’s deserve to be obliterated from the face of the earth; couldn’t have had the Somali vision in fighting Siyad Barre. Perhaps, it was all about inter-Darod sub-clan antagonism, or psychopathic lust for power that gave him the tenacity to wage a guerrilla war against the republic.

Nothing in the man’s actions of the last decades suggest to an altruistic and nationalistic desire to emancipate the Somali people from the malaise of tribalism, corruption and ill-governance it was deeply engrossed with.

In the 1990s, Abdullahi Yusuf sought the support of the Ethiopian regime to crush Al-Itixaad. Hundreds of Somali youth were ruthlessly butchered by foreign army under the stewardship of Somali traitors. The Ethiopians were also there to his rescue as he fought another clan war with Jama Ali Jama in Puntland.

But the biggest crime was yet in store for the man who takes immense pride in the number of battles he fought and blood he shed. Thousands of Somali youth have fallen at their early ages for his throne, and were used as a ritual sacrifice for his comfort and political ascendancy. Millions of Somali’s hung their heads down in shame and humiliation when he collaborated with arch-enemy Ethiopia in the‘re-colonization’ of Somalia. Thousands have fled their homes and languish in squalor and hunger around the capital. Hundreds of Somali girls are raped by the barbaric invading army.

Most recently, the octogenarian president whose definition of ‘dawlad and shacab’ is pre-historic, to say the least, is busy sabotaging any possibility of a peace deal. Surrounded by a retinue of clan-maniacs and former warlords, he knows a peaceful Somalia will hold him responsible for the unspeakable crimes committed against its people.

Hence, he prefers the last days of his life to end in exile and (in fortress when in Somalia) pretending to be a president – just an ordinary president; who can stand shoulder to shoulder with the rest of world leaders with his head high. What a pity? And an insult to the Somali nation as well!

It is time Somali’s prepare dossiers for the Marshal Petain’s (the French traitor who faked president of the Vichy Republic and collaborated with the Nazi occupiers) of the modern era and manuscript their crimes for posterity. Or at least name and shame them for what they are! Traitors. The worst thing to do is watching when murderers masquerade as leaders; and turn a blind eye.

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