Somalia HistoryThis is to thank the editors of this...


December 23, 1992

Somalia History

This is to thank the editors of this newspaper for the number of stories published about the deployment of U.S. troops in Somalia for humanitarian reasons.

However, please allow me to correct an error made by a local Somali lady, Fathia Karsha, a resident of Silver Spring, who was quoted in a Dec. 5 article as saying: "Sending troops is not enough. Nobody talks about a political settlement or any peace talks. It's not as if we (Somalis) are so uncivilized. We lived for hundreds of years together."

First, nobody ever made the argument that the sending of troops to Somalia is enough to solve the problems of whatever is left of Somalia.

Second, there are a lot of people, from U.S. Ambassador Robert Oakley, President Bush's special envoy to Somalia, to United Nations Secretary General Boutros-Boutros Ghali, who are talking about the notion of political settlement and peace talks.

Third, nobody ever raised the issue of whether Somalis are so civilized or, as Ms. Karsha put it, "so uncivilized."

Fourth, and finally, the fact that Somalis have lived together for hundreds of years has nothing to do with the tragedy that led to the current famine which resulted from civil war among various tribes.

The problem of Somalia is the collapse of the nation-state which existed in Somalia for 31 years, or from the time of independence in 1960 to the collapse of the previous regime of President Mohammed Siad Barre in 1991.

Prior to the establishment of the Somali nation-state, the country was under the colonial rule of Great Britain and Italy; before that, the country was divided into various little states that were based on tribal identity.

The current attempt to re-establish these tribal states by Somalia's various tribes shows that the experience of the nation-state is very young in Somalia. Therefore, Ms. Karsha's argument that Somalis have lived together for hundreds of years in a nation-state has no basis in history.

Abdul Raham Abdi

College Park

Too Little, Too Late

Over 3,000 human beings died each day in Somalia while the United States pondered intervention. It took months for the administration, which was so concerned over getting re-elected to office, to bolster the support for Operation Restore Hope.

Why was there such gridlock and caution in aiding millions of starving people? Because in our politically correct society, we are so concerned with our economy and layoffs that we neglected our responsibility to the world.

We blasted George Bush for spending too much time concentrating on foreign policy that when a crisis arose outside the borders of the U.S., he was too timid to intervene, worried about the polls.

We call ourselves a caring country, yet when another country in need bangs on our door we don't answer. It is already too late to bring back the hundreds of thousands who have died already, but it is not too late to save others from starving.

We should install a program for distributing aid to starving people so that in the future we are ready to deal with crises around the world with a program that doesn't rely on government gridlock and indecision for aid.

Chris Loveland


Good News Today

The Sun has been criticized for a lack of "good news" stories, and there is a lot of bad news to report. It seems to me, however, that there is a real attempt to print good news, and many of us appreciate it.

Front page news, for example, on Dec. 16 included: "Baltimore Co.'s Kenwood High School to offer day care," and "Towson becoming heaven on earth for book lovers," and ". . . a lot of help going to Somalia starts in the rural Carroll County town of New Windsor," and "Baidoa recovering from famine's siege."

There is a lot of good news at all levels created by a lot of good people who make it happen. It is encouraging to read about it.

R.O. Bonnell Jr.


God Is Not Only Christian

I cannot allow Blanche Howard's letter of Dec. 15 to go unanswered. She may be right that this is a Christian nation; I don't know what that means anyway.

But I am outraged by her so-called proof: that on currency is inscribed with the motto, "In God We Trust."

I would not have thought it possible that anyone living in this multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious society of ours still believes that trust in God is an attribute arrogated to Christianity.

Matilda Weiner



The letter of Blanche Howard in The Sun Dec. 15 raises a number of issues that merit response.

Her premise seems to be that America is a Christian nation whose ideals have put us "ahead in kindness, consideration, ethics and integrity." Having lived and worked in several non-Christian countries -- namely Japan and Korea -- I can attest that America does not have a monopoly on the values she enumerates.

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