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Freedom Rider: America Brings Hell to Somalia
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
"The Muslim religion is used as a convenient scapegoat to further the aims of war."
What does the word "Islamist" mean? The millions of people around the globe who practice Islam are called Muslims, but this new term has crept into the language without question or investigation. It seems to apply to Muslims who fight against the occupation of Iraq, or Somalians who don't take kindly to the U.S.-backed Ethiopian government invading their country and killing their countrymen and women. In short, an Islamist seems to be any Muslim who has the nerve to act in opposition to the American government. Like anyone else deemed an enemy, a new word has to be invented in order to dehumanize. If Somalian resistance fighters were called just that, then Americans might question their government's decision to keep killing them.
America 's intervention gave Ethiopia license to invade Somalia and begin a horrific cycle of violence. According to Amnesty International, more than 600,000 Somalis have fled from their homes, at least 6,000 are dead and 90,000 children in refugee camps are in danger of death from starvation and lack of hygiene and medical care.
The so-called war on terror is in fact a war of terror practiced against millions of people all over the world. The Muslim religion is used as a convenient scapegoat to further the aims of that war and Somalia is just one of the victims. Somalia is now in the grip of one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, and it is all happening under the direction of George W. Bush. In a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions and all international human rights standards, a U.S. naval vessel sent cruise missiles into the city of Dusa Mareb to commit an extra judicial killing, an assassination, of Hashi Aden Ayro, the leader of al-Shabab. Al-Shabab is dedicated to fighting the American backed Ethiopian occupation and is therefore tagged as "Islamist," "terrorist," and "linked to al-qaeda."
"A U.S. naval vessel sent cruise missiles into the city of Dusa Mareb to commit an extra judicial killing, an assassination."
The corporate media, who make no pretense of independently reporting the news, repeat the administration's well worn phrases about Islamists and al-Qaeda connections but never bother to tell their readers and listeners about the atrocities committed on their behalf or about resistance to them.
At least 1,000 residents of Dusa Mareb gathered to protest the killing of Ayro and at least 20 other civilians in the bombing. "Down with the Bush administration," was the marchers slogan of the day. To their credit, Somalis who are in harms way from American bombs have a greater willingness to take to the streets and condemn Bushism than American citizens do.
If American warships are sending cruise missiles into Somalia, shouldn't Congress have authorized this use of force? Obviously they should have, but they aren't interested in fighting the lame duck Bushies. There will be no impeachment, no investigation of torture, and no pesky questions about military attacks on the Somali people. Like the Iraqis, Somalians have done America no harm but die in large numbers at the hands of Americans nonetheless.
While Americans turn a blind eye to yet another act committed by its rogue government, Somalians are not suffering in silence. Thousands protested in Mogadishu against soaring food prices. The Somalians' food crisis is a direct result of the terror inflicted upon them. Ethiopian and Somalian government troops raid local food markets and literally take food from the mouths of the people. So much evil, so little time to protest.
"Somalians have done America no harm but die in large numbers at the hands of Americans."
As the Democratic presidential nomination winds down, there should be opportunities to protest and make the war on terror extinct when Bush leaves office. This campaign provided an opportunity to put both Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton on notice that the status quo must be gone with Bush. It is foolishly optimistic to think that the same people who allowed the political twins to fight over so little of substance would suddenly begin making demands. So the next president, McCain or a Democrat, will continue the war on terror that kills so many people. The Democrats are accessories to all of the Bush administration evil doing. It takes foolish optimism to think that the willing accomplices to crime will change their ways when Bush is gone.
The Amnesty International report diplomatically states that all parties are responsible for the atrocities carried out against Somalian civilians. That is not true at all. There is one force more to blame than any other. "...the bankroller, armorer and trainer of the Ethiopian invaders, the paymaster of the Somali warlords, the missile-striker, the refugee-bomber, the ‘extrajudicial' assassin, the renditioner, the wielder of death squads: the United States government, under the direction of George W. Bush, and with the full and willing complicity of the entire political establishment."
God damn America.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.Com. Ms. Kimberley maintains an edifying and frequently updated blog at freedomrider.blogspot.com. More of her work is also available at her Black Agenda Reportarchive page.
Source: Black Agenda Report