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177 The Question Antonio Garcia “Why is it that we live?” Mohammed Aidid asked. His subordinates knew that he often dwelt on the philosophical. Tired and unsure but still euphoric after the victory they answered “you are the hand of Allah, the all-knowing and all powerful”. The War Council was formed to discuss and debrief the recent battle. Born into war, the members of the Council were used to the discipline of awaiting commands. They found comfort in receiving orders. They watched as Mohammed put out his cigarette. His eyes searched the room. “What is it that they want here? What do they want! We have made a clear point over the past few days and you have all fought well!”, Aidid exclaimed. His fatigue now showing, he spoke in staccato bursts. He leaned on a chair for support. The smell of sweat and smoke was cloying and the heat was dizzying. An old hand at war, Aidid knew that the only way was to commence with a decisive and strong attack. “We need to make it clear, that we will not tolerate outside interference. This is our house and a man must be king in his house. What is the nature of this ‘peacekeeping mission’? Peacekeeping in our country, our country that they have raped, and bled dry. What do they know of our customs and our story.” Colonel Hasaan looked at Aidid, unsure of himself. He felt a strange mix of pain, anxiety and ecstasy. After being shot in the shoulder he had continued fighting until the next day when hostilities ceased. Hasaan was now completely exhausted. “What do we do now Sir?”, Hasaan asked. “The external attacks on us have united the Habar Gidir”, Mohammed answered. He continued, “we must maintain the initiative. In the Ogaden War we did not do so. Now, we have an opportunity to unite our 178 land. Do those arrogant Americans think that they will tell me how to run my country? I got rid of Siad Bari!” The Council cheered and slammed on the wooden table in applause. The robust crockery rattled. Hasaan looked up, his jaundiced eyes searching for those of Aidid. He knew the problem was much more complex. Whispering he said, “what about the UN presence? The answer can’t be mili…” Mohammed put up his hand stopping Hasaan mid-sentence, “If I am the problem, then what about our politics, our clans, that damned despot Ali Mahdi. Their Black Hawks have fallen and we will not allow them to block out our Somali sun. Our skies and our sand and seas belong to us.” Sammir came running in, interrupting Mohammed. He knew that Sammir would not risk interrupting him if it was not something of great importance. Sammir cautiously approached Mohammed with a satellite phone in hand. He gestured for Mohammed’s ear whispering, “please forgive me General, it is the White House”. A polite officious male voice on the other end of the phone explained, “General Mohammed Farrar Aidid, please hold for President Clinton”. ...


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MARC Record
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