5/08/2013

Somalia: Please, stop it!

Rome (Italy) – Wars, famine and pandemics are part of everyday reality in many Subsaharian countries, especially those of the Sahelian belt and the Horn of Africa. Just yesterday a piece of news came in, regarding a terrorist attack in Mogadishu, Somalia, perpetrated by the usual Islamic extremist groups financed by the Salafi Saudis.
So far, we know of eleven victims, in a framework where the majority of the population lives, or, better, survives, in inhuman conditions. A judgement on this unresolved matter is imperative for every man and woman of good will. But let us follow a logical order.
 The reasons for this permanent degradation of the human condition, to quote the words of Christian Coméliau, are rooted in poverty, which “cannot be seen as inevitable misfortune, nor a condition, nor a social category, but as a process of exclusion determined by structural inequalities”.  As a matter of fact, we are talking about counties where Jihadism, the ideological manipulation of religion for subversive ends, as well as the marginalization of large sectors of indigenous populations from the management of the res publica, fed by continuous conflicts, form an extremely heated scenario.
It is a vicious circle in which different factors interact with each other penalizing, every year, millions of innocents. What is disconcerting is the silence of the international community on the matters hitting all these countries, and, first of all, Somalia. On the one hand, Africa obviously stands between opposite geostrategic interests regarding, for a part, its vast energetic resources, such as oil, natural gas and uranium, on the other hand, there are various forms of carelessness, of the money-hungry ruling class and of so-called benefactors.
For instance, for too many years now, in Mogadishu and in most of the Horn of Africa, the international community, rather than promoting development cooperation that takes into account the actual needs of the area, decided to respond to the cyclical climatic disasters, regardless if it was droughts or floods, and to armed crises by promoting emergency interventions that have dramatically sharpened the dependence of the African population on foreign aid. And what about financial speculation linked to the trading of investment funds?
The issue regards “futures“ on agricultural products that are no longer purchased exclusively by those who have a direct interest in that particular market, therefore following the traditional rule of supply and demand, but also by financial entities such as pension funds, that invest large sums of money with the only goal of obtaining the highest possible yields.
This results in spikes in food costs, especially cereal products, in contexts where solidarity should take precedence over the ruthless rules of the business. These are countries where people allocate more than 80% of their income to satisfy food requirements and that, in the current climate, are completely unable to cope with the indiscriminate increase in food prices. This is why it would be desirable that international diplomacy began to address the political agenda of these countries, starting with the forthcoming international conference on Somalia, which is to be held in London tomorrow.  This event will see the first international appearance of Italy’s brand new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Emma Bonino.
It is important to look to the problem from a holistic perspective, not breaking it up into the traditional areas of intervention (humanitarian emergencies, peace-building, and development aid) and to keep in mind the facts that gave this country such ordeals. This, however, will only be possible when we will have the intellectual honesty to establish, at an international level, a new kind of multilateralism, that focuses on human and is not hostage of the mercantile interests of those who are slaves to money.

By Giulio Albanese – Afronline/Vita
Follow Giulio Albanese blog (in Italian)
Translated by Irene Crivellini