Written by 7:01 am Opinion

Where is Justice for the Ten? the Hundreds of Thousands don’t matter-Baadiyow’s Logic

Abdi Mohamud

Why does Dr. Baadiyow promote uneven, lopsided justice?

Dr. Abdurahman Abdullahi Baadiyo mourned for the sheikhs executed by the Siyad Barre Regime on January 23rd, 1975. In an article posted on WardheerNews, the learned professor pleaded with the Somali public to always remember and pray for these martyrs. He argued that what happened on that fateful day was a blasphemy that displeased Allah and necessitated swift, divine  punishment. He referred to two military aircrafts which collided in the skies of Mogadishu, suggesting that this should have been a manifestation of Allah’s punishment due to the gross transgression. He further went on to indicate that the intractable killings, lawlessness and other ills inflicted on this nation is the result of that day’s awful incident. We do not know if what happened had been preordained or if it was the Creator’s wrath unleashed after the fact. Allah knows the best.


Dr. Baadiyo would like us to believe that the root cause of Somalia’s prolonged destructive behavior and its current predicaments have connection to the execution of the sheikhs. That claim has no basis. There could be a number of factors responsible for the weakening of the Somali state and its subsequent disintegration. But it is undeniable that the IMF and World Bank structural programs introduced in the 1980s and the clan-based militias had played leading roles in the demise of the state. Somalia was doing fine until men in suits from Brenton Woods institutions showed up and demanded the military regime to reconfigure the way the country’s economy was run. They imposed harsh economic policies which sent everything in disarray. A big chunk of state employees were laid off, food crop farming was abandoned in favor of cash crop farming, and healthcare and rural development programs were also scaled down. The IFM policies reduced farm production and killed the agro-based manufacturing sector because crops had to be exported to finance debt servicing. This resulted in job loss and economic downturn. They also drastically diminished the state capabilities to serve and deliver for its people.


Roughly about half a dozen dozen clan-based militia groups were formed in the late 1970s and early 80s. The Ethiopian government allowed all of them to establish bases in its country from which they could launch attacks on Somalia. They received training, weapons and financial support from their host. They never produced any plans detailing why they desired to take that wrong path and wage a war against their own country. They never found common objectives that could bring them closer to a point where they could agree to integrate their forces and form a unified decision-making body. They never deliberated on how they would run the country after they took over. They were driven by animosity, clan chauvinism, and personal grudge. So, their failure to stabilize, unite or govern the country after they successfully overthrew the Barre Regime was not a surprise.

The Bretton Woods institutions and clan-based militias occupy an enviable position regarding Somalia’s failed state and anyone ignoring their roles may not be serious. His/her work will carry no weight.


 In the 1940s, 50s, 60s and onwards, many Somalis went to study in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and in other Arab countries. Many schools and universities were offering free education to muslim students from around the globe. This was a part of a grand American scheme to fight against the Soviets and to depict them as evil, ungodly people. The petro sheikhs believed the American deception and doubled down the propagation of Islamic literature. So the Islamic awakening based on the new knowledge and ideas acquired by those students educated in Cairo, Mecca, Madina and other places took root in Somalia. Students, who returned home, began teaching and propagating Islam many years before the revolution. This resulted in teaching different interpretations of the faith by different groups. So, Dr. Baadiyo’s assertion that everything was cohesive and intact when Barre took power is misleading at best.


I agree that the murders of the sheikhs was a horrendous crime. A jail term would have been appropriate. However, given the revolutionary attitude and political climate in the world at the time might have discouraged the regime from considering leniency. Governments, Somalia included, did not tolerate dissident voices because they wanted to appear strong to remain unopposed. In many parts of the Muslim world, more inhumane crimes were committed by people in power. For instance, in Indonesia 500,000 people were killed from 1965 to 1966. Likewise, Syrian dictator Hafez al Asad massacred over 1,000 in 1982, mostly Muslim Brotherhood leaders and their followers. These are examples of many human rights violations done in Muslim and Non-Muslim countries in the world of the pre-Soviet disintegration era.


On the home front, killings, displacements and gross human rights violations perpetrated by actors other than the Barre Regime have been more serious and widespread. The numbers of Somalis killed since Barre’s departure should be well above 100,000 innocent souls. We will never know the exact number of Somalis who have lost their lives in the last 32 years. A few estimates of the people perished in the known major confrontations between major political actors are documented and available. Some will be cited here to appreciate the loss of sanctity of human life and dignity in Somalia. It is heartrending to note that 14,000 people were killed in Mogadishu in a span of three months while 27,000 were wounded. Opposing clan militias loyal to Ali Mahdi and his arch enemy General Aideed were responsible for this calamity. Human displacement, rape, and loss of properties of magnitude were also part of the atrocities done by the perpetrators. But these things usually attract no one’s attention. In the north, SNM also ravaged the communities there. It was reported that 1,500 men were slaughtered by SNM loyalists in Dila and Borame in February 1991. In Galkacyo, It is believed that 900 men were murdered by General Cabdi Qaybdiid and the militia he commanded in the early 1990s.


In the City of Baydhabo, inhabitants were starved to death when General Aideed laid siege for months. It is hard to account for how many people perished in the siege but they could be well in the thousands. The whole population could have been decimated had the Americans not intervened. It was also widely reported during the early days of Somalia’s civil war that the Somali Bantu communities in the fertile lands of Lower Shabelle and Bay regions were grossly abused by militia groups loyal to opposing warlords. These unarmed, farming communities were subjected to a kind of mistreatment akin to slavery. Reports of killing, forced labour, rape, and plunder of their livestock and farm produces were circulated by human rights organizations and other observers. These marginalized communities endure too much pain, abuse, and are deprived of peace, dignity, and humanity to this day.


The mass killing of Somali people has been unabated. As recently as October 14th, 2017, the terrorist group, Alshabab, killed 300 people in a bomb blast and wounded a higher number than that. Alshabab is a menacing monster in the midst of the nation. It indiscriminately butchers innocent Somalis. It carries out deadly attacks that claim many lives and cause a great deal of damage. Its latest bomb attack in Mogadishu claimed 100 lives and 300 people sustained injuries. Some of the injured will be permanently disabled and disfigured. They have lost the ability to earn livelihood, be productive, and to care for themselves and their families.


Dr. Baadiyo is well aware of all these brutalities and gross violations subjected to the Somali people. The whole nation has suffered dislocations and ruins. He knows that many, many saints, sages, professors, sheikhs, businesspeople, men, women, old and young have been killed in great numbers in the last 32 years. Somalia has become a macabre environment and a site of orgies of horrendous criminalities. With all these miseries, carnage and more being realities in Somali, Dr. Baadiyo’s argument that the executed sheikhs’ case is “exceptional,” to say the least, is unwise and insensitive. It is beyond comprehension why he shows humility and humanity towards ten souls and not thousands. For him, they are nameless, faceless, unimportant mortals. As a learned man, he should have done better. He should have acknowledged the humanity, dignity and innocence of thousands butchered for no reason. The life of every human being is sacred therefore there should be no preference of one over another.


Our celebrity scholar, always seen in splendid places and elite gatherings, should know that he has a higher calling. He should think about better ways to serve the nation. There are a quarter of a million displaced people in his city, unemployment hovers over 60%, and violence and criminalities are rampant. He should perhaps lead and take his students to field trips to survey, study, and analyze the myriad social ills that exist and offer groundbreaking solutions. That would be a better service and legacy.

Abdi Mohamud is a social commentator with keen interests on community welfare, societal growth and general well-being of the Somali coteries. You can contact him on [email protected]

You can also feature your writings on The Daily Jubba if you meet the submission requirements on https://bit.ly/3SlMYfz by sending an email to [email protected]





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