August 14, 2013

Doctors Without Borders gives up on Somalia.

"We have reached the point where I just don’t see the recognition of the value of impartial humanitarian assistance in Somalia anymore... We’re not therefore able to put our staff in places where they can work. The risks and the compromises that we must make are too high.... I want to reiterate that the kidnapping was simply the latest in a series of incidents since we have been present in Somalia, but yes, it was the last straw."

14 comments:

Carl said...

Pussies. Where are the Jesuits when you need them?

Tibore said...

Somalia was written off by others a while ago. Years ago, Mark Bowden in his book Black Hawk Down included this cynical yet thought provoking quote from an anonymous US official about the society that generated the Battle of Mogadishu:

"It was a watershed," says one State Department official, who asked not to be named because his insight runs so counter to our current foreign agenda. "The idea used to be that terrible countries were terrible because good, decent, innocent people were being oppressed by evil, thuggish leaders. Somalia changed all that. Here you have a country where just about everybody is caught up in hatred and fighting. You stop an old lady on the street and ask her if she wants peace, and she'll say yes, of course, I pray for it daily. All the things you'd expect her to say. Then ask her if she would be willing for her clan to share power with another in order to have that peace, and she'll say, 'What, with those murderers and thieves? I'd die first.'

People in these countries - Bosnia is a more recent example - don't want peace. They want victory. They want power. Men, women, old and young, Somalia was the experience that taught us that people in these places bear much of the responsibility for things being the way they are. The hatred and the killing continues because they want it to. Or because they don't want peace enough to stop it."

(My bolding)

The event was over a decade ago, and too much is still the same.

It's a harsh thing to contemplate, this charge that a nation has basically inflicted such fatal problems on itself. But the evidence suggests that this is exactly what's happening in Somalia. The reasons for the Doctors group decamping by are just the latest data points.

AaronS said...

Even idealists can eventually take a hint.

Tibore said...

Oh, yes, I did read the story, and I acknowledge the part where the group Al Shabaab was mentioned. It's true that the new factor here is the outside influence of Al Qaeda associated terrorists on Al Shabaab. But the critique of Somalia elucidated above is not refuted by that. The society has let the group in and not recoiled and rejected it, like the tribes in Iraq's Anbar valley had. This despite the Somalian clans being pretty well equipped combat-wise themselves. The group wouldn't be tolerated if they weren't wanted by at least the ones in power. And that holds true for any violence-torn society; remember that in Afghanistan's case it took the Pakistani ISI propping up the Taliban to create the conditions for Bin Laden to be accepted and allowed there. Before that, the Mujahadeen were openly scornful of his Arab mercenaries.

If it's true that an insurgency needs a willing population like a fish needs water (ref. Mao's writings re the "sea" through which guerilla's swim through), it's also true that the water can evaporate and leave the fish stranded. Hence, the argument that a segment of Somali society is willingly accommodating that Al Qaeda influenced group. That group cannot exert influence if it were not tolerated.

cubanbob said...

No good deed goes unpunished.

David said...

How goes it at the Clinton Foundation?

cubanbob said...

Somalia needs to be recolonized. The problem is no one wants the job. Cruel as it sounds stop all aid to Somalia. They will either kill themselves off or finally get back on the path of civilization.

madAsHell said...

So....Chicago is Somalia.

We have a Somalia here in Seattle as well. Many of them wear hoodies.

Unknown said...

In short, the problem with Somalia is the Somalis.

stlcdr said...

I'm surprised it took so long, really. I guess hope and compassion can go a long way, but at some point the conversation goes:

Coordinator: "Doc, we need you to go to in Somalia, they need your help."

Doc: "Sure, are the current docs coming home for a bit of relief?"

Coordinator: "Uh, no, they were kidnapped. We don't know where they are. We need you to replace them."

Doc: "**** that, I ain't doin' that ****."

EDH said...

Just wait until Obamacare kicks in.

Clyde said...

Places like Somalia show human nature at its basest. Western civilization, with its respect for property and the rule of law, has helped to prevent that sort of thing from happening here. We forget that at our peril.

It's all there in Kipling's "The Gods of the Copybook Headings."

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Loudly the journalists and NGOs and related goodthinkers do bleat when tribal societies commence a brawl to establish who shall be dominant. But goodthinkers absolutely reject the concept of a better-organized outside force taking charge as enforcers of a uniform law - that would be colonialism, Heart of Darkness and all that. By default, said goodthinkers, whether they intend it or not, are restoring an earlier era of human development. In which the brawl continues until there exist only two camps of survivors - the utterly defeated, or subjects, and the conquerers, or rulers. Hulagu and the subjection of Baghdad come to mind.

It could be that colonialism is superior - provided it brings one clear body of law and enforces it uniformly. What do you want, goodthinkers?

LarsPorsena said...

As a military man once said about Somalia, "Re-arm them, train them, and seal the borders".