Somalia is a casualty of lie-peddlers
Last updated Jan 2, 2019
Why the 'infidels' are not answering my call today?
Warning: If the words of Kaftanlaw can’t tickle you into a hearty guffaw, you seem not to get his joke, so you got to move to the next news story. It’s no joke to appreciate a Somali-made wisecrack.
By Kaftanlaw in aw Kaftanlaw
Chaos and lawlessness tend to bring the best and worst out of people. Criminals take advantage of them. Philanthropists help the victims. Warlords and terrorists find heavens to terrorize people.
But Somalia’s chaos has produced two types of Somalis: The power-hungry lot. Let’s call them lie-peddlers. And the masses. Let’s call them the silent majority.
These two types – the fake, selfish, mainly immoral and relatively educated Somali vs. the real, arrogant, nationalist and proud Somali – are contesting with each other for the control of the nation’s narrative.
And incongruously the world seems to be listening to just one side: Lie peddlers.
If, for example, a foreign Embassy, mainly based in Nairobi or Mogadishu, wants to get more information on a certain matter about Somalia, it places a call to one lie-peddler who will most probably say what the mission wants to hear. The bulk of the mission’s report may have been prepared days earlier, but was just awaiting a confirmation from a local source to lend it some credibility.
The rub is, this information provided by this dubious source will most likely affect or influence the lives of millions of Somalis because the mission will file a cable containing its assessment to its country of origin – talk of Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction.
In Somalia, they’re ideas of mass destruction provided by rapacious, if creative, people who know how to one-up experienced Western and African diplomats. An illiterate Somali – most Somalis indeed, whether educated or not — has an Allah-given, inbuilt talent for twisting foreigners around his little finger. A Somali can finagle his way into whatever he wants, and that is why Somalis are exceedingly unique, unfathomable species. The more foreigners try to decipher the tricks employed by these “national warriors,” the more they realize how ill-informed they’re about them and Somalia.
NaÔve foreigners go for Somali liars, not out of love but Somali prevaricators know how to massage foreigners’ egos and tickle their vanity until they think Somalis are gullible, which, in fact, they are not.
Liars are the preferred invitees whenever the world organizes a crucial meeting on Somalia because others, truth-tellers, will spoil the party by saying the bitter truth about Somalia.
Lost on how the world is ignorant on Somali affairs, ordinary Somalis ask themselves, always: Who are those Somalis talking to the world and misleading it? Who’re those peddling lies about our country?
Although – psychologically speaking — everyone likes to hear what he likes to hear, the lies by the power-hungry Somalis don’t only harm Somalis, it negatively affects the reputation of think-tanks, foreign Embassies and countries. Hundreds of reports, based on these false information from liars, have already been published.
Lie-peddlers don’t give a damn about what happens to Somalia and Somalis. They want money and will do everything to get it. Their pet subjects are: Islamists, terrorists, clans, corruption, insecurity, humanitarian issues, to name just a few. Almost all Western missions in Somalia have dossiers about Somalia’s prominent individuals, accompanied by man-made, made-up designations. So-and-so is a nationalist, another could be dubbed a political islamist, another is a clan-oriented or is a thief or a saboteur.
On the surface, Somali lie peddlers are ordinary folks. They may sometimes even own their aid organizations or run research centers or businesses.
This group of people is characterized by its flexibility, or to be precise its dishonesty: If, for example, one of them visits a Western Embassy he will go out of his way and say that he will do everything the mission needs from Somalia, including treasonous acts. While at it, however, a Somali liar won’t forget to milk the moment and ask the mission to grant him or a close relatives one or two visas – of course, the whole issue is a give and take deal.
But when that same man is angry and alone with his clansmen, he will start rapping foreigners. “Al Shabab is right to target these infidels. I know them, they’re dirty,” he will say in his private chats, and he may mean it, because he is aware that his ties to foreigners are based on interests and not on convictions.
Somali lie-peddlers prefer to dress nicely, live large in secure areas because they know the silent majority hates them. In Mogadishu, they put up at hotels in government-controlled areas near the seaport and the airport. They depend on teashop chats, radio stations, websites and informal tÍte-ŗ-tÍte with government officials as their source of information.
Lies by these Somali defrauders and international rent-seekers led to the perception that Somalia is a country whose people can’t agree on anything because of clan interests, while in fact Somalia’s problems isn’t all about clan interests.
Students, teachers, herders, nomads and highly educated Somalis laugh at foreigners who – when they visit the country or lecture at local and international workshops — pretend to know Somalia more than Somalis themselves. Somalis may hear a Westerner, for example, saying “Somalis fought because of clans and therefore the country should be federated.” That foreigner was never told that Somalis’ fighting is completely different from that of Westerners. He was never told that Somalia’s clan fighting is more like a squabbling between a husband and his wife, and that is why clans fight each other yet continue to live together. Has any Westerner read Rwanda’s genocide to understand the difference between Somalis and other Africans.
Now, you must know that all the reports you read or heard of talking about Somalia are being contributed to by a one lie-peddler or another. The point is: Don’t trust everything you read or hear about Somalia. Use your brain and seek the truth by yourself.
Over the last two decades, there were little reliable information coming out of Somalia: Everyone, every country and every institution told its own story, the story it wanted it told. The aim was either purely monetary or a calculated strategy to keep Somalia in perpetual chaos. Because everyone is benefiting from the prolonged lawlessness. Because of the false information, countries and organizations created new jobs for themselves, such as special envoys, country directors, program managers and peacekeepers, let alone conferences, workshops and meetings that are held to fritter away badly needed money. Aid organizations sounded alarm bells in Somalia to get millions of dollars that finally ended up in individual pockets.
Now the fundamental question many Somalis would like to ask is: By listening to a select group of mainly scammers, tricksters and cheats, didn’t the world ignore, wittingly or unwittingly, the views of the masses. Is it accurate to use the plural form of Somali and say Somalis in reports when the silent majority is not a part of that tally?
O you who care about Somalia, if the first casualty of war is the truth, Somalia is the first casualty of lie-peddlers.