Monday, April 30, 2012

Time Somalis recognised and appreciated AMISOM's work in Somalia.

An exchange on twitter regarding AMISOM's presence in Mogadishu rubbed me the wrong way and I am amazed at the animosity towards these soldiers serving the interest of Somalia and Somalis at such a high price. They put their lives at risk and fight wars most Somalis, especially those in the Diaspora, are not willing to fight. They have massively contributed to the growing peace and stability in Mogadishu and most of them serve for a stretch of 6 months before they can go back to their families and take a break. You tell me how many Somalis in their comfortable Western countries will sacrifice their comforts to fight Al-Shabaab in a country where the AMISOM are not only outnumbered but where they can't even tell the difference between a civilian and a combatant, fighting ghostly figures hiding in the population.

Yes most of the soldiers are motivated by money and they get paid well for their sacrifices but they could have chosen to go to Iraq or Afghanistan or another messed up country in need of peacekeepers, there is no particular reason those individuals chose Somalia. 

I think these soldiers are doing a great job and my recent trip to Mogadishu has left me really impressed with what they have achieved, working with the TFG. Mogadishu was a no-go city for many years and last time I was there 6 years ago, I couldn't have walked freely in the city without armed guards but this time, I was walking around Waaberi, Wadajir and Xamar Weyne with no security at all! If it was not for AMISOM's presence in Mogadishu, Al-Shabaab would have seriously threatened TFG's weak and disorganised army. Mogadishu is slowly coming back to life and everywhere you drive you will find construction and buildings being rehabilitated, it is incredible that the outside world isn't witnessing this almost miraculous transformation, for a city written off as hopeless. 

Somalis need to recognise and support the efforts of the AMISOM and the great work they are doing in bringing back peace and stability to Mogadishu. These soldiers are cleaning up the mess we have created at a great risk to their lives and they live harsh and isolated lives in their Mogadishu baraks. Like a lot of other Somalis, I also would hate to do this job but am grateful to them for their work and for the countries who have and are still sending young men to help Somalia bring this endless war to a stop, which has has claimed so many lives and created so much misery.

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