I do not know much of Somalia. They have been prominently Muslim dating back to the beginning of Islam. It was a main economic hub for centuries. The region has been muddled over by foreign governments who drew boundaries to fit their needs, without a clear understanding of the people or their needs. Various governmental structures have changed and changed hands while Shari’a has persisted throughout Somalia’s history. Along side religion, are also the clans and their war lords who had their own “law,” or Xeer, as it were. As close as I can figure it out, Xeer is the means by which the local warlords administered Shari’a.
What we must understand is that the Somali are not a bunch of barefoot natives running around with pointy sticks AND they have oil. They have cities, an economy, universities, and, of course, poor people.
A lot of those poor people used to support their families by fishing the local waters. They can no longer do that because huge trawlers have “fished out” the waters there. Any fish that were not caught were subsequently killed by illegal dumping of industrialized wastes from, well- let me see, Oh yes, industrialized countries.
So here we have a country that has an ineffective government and a growing population that has been effectively displaced by egregious practices of industrialized nations. These proud people have nothing to lose. We have, through our greed and wanton disregard, pushed these people into a very dark corner. They struck back by becoming pirates.
From Piracy, it was a very small step to becoming terrorists.
Somali Rebels Pledge to Send Fighters to Aid Yemen Jihad
Can we fight these terrorists with bullets? Why yes, all day long. Can we stop them with bullets? Never. With bullets all we can do is strengthen their resolve and reinforce their hopelessness. The key to stopping them is simple and much less costly all the way around. We help them. We stop polluting their waters. We help by providing economic development and hope to the “would-be terrorists.”
While we are at it, we need to start being kind to our own. I read this a.m. that people were surprised to discover that their mortgage renegotiation had damaged their credit scores. I have to ask, myself, “Why?” First of all, who keeps these scores? Why the banks, of course. Who was it that engineered these potent economic pitfalls? The banks, of course. Who bailed out these banks when they made these gross errors of judgment? We did. Are they suffering from damaged credit scores? Hell no! They are collecting billions of dollars worth of bonuses paid by our hard earned tax dollars.
Now they say that the mortgage renegotiations are not working. Duh. The President committed $75 billion to help the banks renegotiate hundreds of billions of bad loans. So, not enough to start with. Add to that the fact that the banks are only and very slowly renegotiating a very small percentage of those loans. As a result, the economy continues to decline and people without jobs cannot make house payments. Right now, the economy is like a giant poker game and there are only a few players left at the table with any money—the bankers and a few others. If the income does not get redistributed soon, we will start sprouting a few home-grown terrorists of our own.
The majority of people in this country work for Wal-Mart or are not working at all. They have little or no health insurance. They or their children are dropping out of high school, unarmed with the basic skills to survive in this stilted economy.
I am reminded of two sayings I have heard recently. One is that Democracy is not a spectator sport. I watched a history program, by Howard Zinn. It showed the development of this country. I watched the UAW being born where I was born, Flint, Michigan. My family was part of that on both sides. I watched the Viet Nam protests and I was very active there. I watched Ceasar Chavez and I was part of that in Salinas. I watched AIDS advocates in San Francisco and I was very much part of that. I look at the problems today and I see nothing. No one seems to be part of anything except the stupid tea-baggers. If people do not get involved I am afraid the other maxim I was reminded of will eventually come into play. “Give a man some food and he will eat for the day. Give him a gun and he will eat everyday.” It is time for people to start actively caring about what is going on, today.