Saturday, April 10, 2010

Al-Shabaab Bans Music, BBC Broadcasts

Always expect the worst form of treatment from African leaders whenever they feel threatened. Southern Somalia's powerful Islamist groups have once again imposed stringent measures on the locals they govern: no more playing music by local radios and a shut down of the BBC transmissions. And that is exactly what the Tigre regime in Addis Ababa did to VOA broadcasts in Amharic for fear of raising political tensions as the elections approach. Strange as it may sound, another ban has been slapped on schools this time warning headmasters (principals)and school teachers to refrain from ringing bells at anytime. The islamists contend that bell-ringing is a Christian culture which has no place in Islamic Somalia.

Leaders of southern Somalia's religious movements who are eying to topple the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Mogadishu prefer banging of walls, desks, and clapping of hands as replacement for bell ringing. In the southern town of Afmadu controlled by Islamists, the teaching of English and Science have been terminated forthwith. We will leave these contentious and burning issues for Islamic scholars to debate on.

In this era of globalization where the world has transformed into a global village due to interconnectedness brought about by interaction and integration, one cannot understand how any nation can survive in the absence of international trade and investment. With the rapid rise of India and China as global economic powers, even mighty United States and her European allies are rewriting their school curricula so as to accommodate science, medicine, and engineering. While it is not a bad idea for the Jihadists to resuscitate, reinvent, and revitalize vital subjects that have long been abandoned, I find it laughable when science, which hardly contradicts Islamic teachings, is deemed unacceptable in the schools that fall under their domains. In the next few decades, a nation's survival will be determined by how far it has excelled in the sciences.

Islamist leaders have become masters at digging the skeletal remains of revered persons. There are even reports of these master-gravediggers mixing the skeletal remains of Somali shaikhs with those of persons of unknown religious following. These actions are meant to confuse the followers of the revered persons from identifying the exact human remains of their saints. At times they unearth the remains of non-Muslim religious symbols in the glare of the media. From what I know, people don't worship the saints or the graves that hold them, but that they are paying homage to their beloved departed souls.

While Islamists carry out desecration of graves, the government that is supposed to protect the people from harassment remains powerless, toothless, ineffective, and cowering behind the artillery and tanks of AMISOM-the African Union Peacekeeping Force in Mogadishu. According to observers of Somalia affairs and general politics, the current president of the TFG has become the world's most widely-traveled leader.
Undoubtedly, Shaikh Sharif's government has enough troops to counter the daily provocations from the heavily-armed opposition.

Lack of reliable military hardware, defective leadership compounded by corruption, and embezzlement of funds are the major obstacles crippling the current government. A fulfilling promise can only be warranted when the TFG and the opposition engage in a final onslaught so that whoever wins the battle emerges the final undisputed winner who will steer Somalia for many years to come.

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