Exactly 4 years ago, doing simple things like what I am doing now, speaking to young men my age within the military, would have got me into a lot of trouble. You see when Al-Shabaab was in control of the capital, you wouldn’t dare approach any individual within the army. This would mean either you’re providing intelligence or are planning to excute an order. But with the enemy at the back foot, I wanted to spend as much time with these young guys who are always in the headlines and see for myself inside the everyday life of our soldiers.
“Dayuusbora Dayuusbora” shouts out a young soldier named Arabay, not his real name but was given to him due to speaking with a heavy tongue. “Moriyaan Tartiib Kaabo” I jabbed back. “Moriyaan” is a term, which recently I was told is quite frequent among foreigners to take it back to their own countries to label any menace, used for a trouble maker who sits in checkpoints with the intention of collecting a self-controlled tax on passer-bys or any activity which is deemed anti-social. This activity had been widespread through-out the country and is another war that the government is battling.
Just like any other individuals, the guys joke around and pick on one another with intention being to pass time, a hobby seen throughout the world with un-employed youths. These same guys who are currently liberating our nation are seen in the international media as young, merciless bandits with no intention but rape, murder and lotting. It’s a shame really because without these guys sacrifice, we wouldn’t have the possibility of expressing our freedom or ideas as much as we are now.
Arabay, Mc Hammer, Farey and Bobo, 4 young guys are now somewhere in another state battling the enemy of Somalia and they do this because they do not want any thanks from you, rather at first they feel it’s for their own security to defeat Al-Shabaab.
As I wonder through the streets of Maka Al Mukarama looking for a colleague, I see a truck pass by with a skinny framed tall guy shouting with high note, “I need your sunglasses more than you”. I look up, and find another group of young heroes-to-be off to liberate yet another oppressed city. I reach them at the traffic light and without any hesitation; had over my sunglasses ($200 it cost me!) and tossed it over to one who seemed as if he did really needed it more than me.
I pray for these guys and it really is a shame that we do not have the mindset to even collect some donations or show courage in order to raise their spirits but rather picture them all in a negative aspect.
Remember next time you come to Mogadishu, those same guys you are asking to provide security for you are those same guys who are putting their lives at risk in order for you to dangle your way through the city while you curse, disrespect and call them the worst in society.
Have some respect Somalia, have some respect for your troops.
There’s always one terrible apple in the tree, just like there is in everyday life.
Our troops have asked themselves what John F Kennedy had been asking over the last 50 years, “Ask not what your country can do for you rather what you can do for your country”.
The million dollar question is what have you asked yourself?