Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Somaliland: Free media under attack by Islamists

Strong condemnation of the attack on Somaliland's free media by Bashir Goth in the Washington Times.

True to the superstition of the day, Friday the 13th of October 2006 was a day of bad luck for Somaliland press freedom. On this day, mobs of people, led by religious fanatics assembled in a public square in the second Somaliland city of Buroa, and burned editions of Haatuf, Somaliland's leading newspaper. This was the first time in Somaliland's living memory that forces of darkness tried to kill enlightenment.

Somaliland is the part of Somalia which was once a British colony and is now independent from Somalia. Unlike Somalia it is relatively stable and peaceful - and prospering. Goth reveals some familiar behaviour.

The newspaper burners also threatened that the paper's offices will be their next target if it did not stop its critical reporting on Islamists. But what they did not say out loud is that it will be the reporters themselves that would be burning next time. They don't have to say it because we know they are capable of doing it. We have seen it in Iraq, Sudan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Somalia and elsewhere.

Elsewhere like Holland, Denmark, France, Britain. Goth pulls no punches with his next statement.

The question that may be asked is why the Islamists hate the free media? The answer is simple because they breed in damp invisible places like Black Widow Spiders and spread their hate message in dark corners. Just like a black widow spider avoids light, the Islamists avoid being in the focus of the press. They believe in cloaks; to them naked truth is akin to a naked body. All realities should be hidden under layers of concealment.

That's rather powerful stuff for the WashPo. I'm surprised it got past the editor. It doesn't get any softer in tone either.

As the famous witty madman, Cawaale of Borama once said: "If you hear Allahu Akbar chanted outside a mosque, strengthen your defenses." And this is what Haatuf newspaper and its sister paper Somaliland Times did. They heard the hollow Islamist slogans chanted, they saw their suspicious movements in dark corners, and they heard Allahu Akbar chanted for the wrong reasons and at the wrong places.

As a responsible media outlet they decided to know why? So they took their spotlight and focused it on the sources of suspicion. And as expected the reaction was quick and as primitive and brutal as it could be to "burn the paper first and if it doesn't get the message, burn its offices."

All sadly familiar to us in Britain and Europe whether it be Cartoon Jihad or Popeaphobia. Goth reminds the Islamists that ....

They should thank God that in a democratic state like Somaliland they could protest, burn newspapers and walk away with impunity. We wonder whether their role models in the Islamic Courts of Mogadishu would allow dissent groups to protest, burn the veil and walk away without the fear of heavy reprisals in their waiting.

Actually, we couldn't do that here, either. Burn the American flag or Union Jack - fine. Set fire to the cross - OK. But try holding a protest and set fire to the veil and I'd lay odds that the police wade in sharpish. "You can't do that, sonny. It's incitement to religious hatred. You're nicked!" Funny that demanding the murder of the pope wasn't, but hey that's modern Britain for you.

Goth ends his piece thus.

It is our advice also to the Somaliland government and to the media of Somaliland to declare this infamous day, October 13, as the Somaliland Day for Media Freedom. Canonizing this date would symbolize the courageous defiance of the free media to the intimidation of the forces of darkness and will remain as an eternal wart of shame on the face of truth-haters.

It would be my advice to the USA, Britain and the rest of the world to realise that recognising Somaliland as a nation state would prove to moderate Muslims around the world that the west will support them if they really want democracy, stability and peace.

Write to your MP today and demand recognition for Somaliland.

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