Somalis need some attention too

Somalia still remains a country without a government. Many Somalis still die violent deaths in the streets of Mogadishu and out in the countryside away from the press. Millions of Somali children are still forced to grow up in a country that offers them no future. And the international community still does not give a rat’s behind about Somalia.

Of all the conflicts in Africa, Somalia has attracted the least international attention. Almost anybody who regularly watches or reads news knows about Darfur. Quite a good number know about the wars in central Africa – and are doing or trying to do something to stop them. All this while Somalia remains neglected. There are no organizations (like is the case with Darfur) pressuring law makers in countries that have the power to stop the conflict in Somalia and restore proper government. Even the United Nations, which has sent peacekeepers to the DRC, Sierra Leone, Darfur, and just about everywhere else in need of the blue helmets, has maintained a healthy distance from Somalia.

Just for the record, Somalia’s lack of international attention may have been a self-inflicted wound – many people were disgusted by the 1993 debacle involving the murder of American troops. But will all due respect to those who lost their lives in Mogadishu, 1993 should not be a reason to not intervene in Somalia. Intervening with a sizeable force is the right thing to do. Piecemeal interventions – like is being done by Uganda – or self-interested invasions – like Ethiopia did a few months back – will not make the situation any better. If the international community does not act soon, the problem will spread into the wider region. The current problem with pirates and terrorists may just be the beginning.

Somalia fell apart because of poor leadership. There is nothing peculiarly wrong with the Somali people or their culture. I say it is time the world realized that Somalis are people too and that they need to be rescued from the warlords who continue to kill with impunity.