Criticism is a healthy way of correcting things. In healthy democracies, there are people called critics. These people keep an eye on every single negative action of the government and its sectors. There are government critics, book critics, movie critics, corporate critics and so on. The reason these people are there is to put a cap on the wrongs being committed. Wrongs can mean election irregularities, embezzlement or emptying of state coffers, corruption of all kinds, bribery and other unethical and immoral acts that are a handicap to a nation's interests. The work of a critic is to uncover a wrong so it may be corrected before things get out of hand. But please remember, men like ex-president Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, General Mohamed Farah Aideed, and Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess were rebels instead.
One of Somalia's most critical opponent of the regime headed by Siyad Barre was the novelist Nurudin Farah who is regarded as one of the best novelist of our time. The junta gave him a hard time because of the wrongs he wanted corrected. The end result was his voluntary exile. Besides Nurudin many other critics of Somali origin became victims of the ruling junta. Some ended up getting extended jail terms. Somali academics who left three decades and over ago still remain in exile. It is nonsensical that someones life is put in danger because of having different views? Thus, it is important for our readers to differentiate who is a rebel and who is a critic.
The irony is that many African governments don't entertain criticisms and healthy debates. Adopting a watch and see policy while inhuman acts like massacres or genocide, corruption and theft, arbitrary arrests without valid reasons are committed in front of your eyes without saying a word is against human conscience. If you see a woman being raped without commenting then wait until your sister, your mother, your aunt or a female relative of yours becomes the next victim. Those who stand by the sidelines without raising a word while having a clear picture of the ills and gravity of crimes committed against innocent civilians has no iota of mercy and thus belongs to the dogs.