- Created: Tuesday, 01 May 2012 14:53
- Written by London FRFI
On Saturday 28 April, Hands Off Somalia (HOS), held a public meeting to discuss the British government’s threat of military intervention in Somalia, and to raise awareness about the campaign. HOS was initiated by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! in January 2012, to mobilise opposition to an international conference hosted by David Cameron in London on 23 February, which was convened to deal with what he terms ‘a failed state’. The campaign was formed together with people from the Somali community in London and other anti-imperialists, and held a big demonstration outside the venue of the conference.
Saturday’s meeting was held at Somers Town Community Centre, in a large hall that was filled with people who had come to hear the speakers and to contribute to the building of the campaign. HOS invited a number of people from the Somali community to speak on the panel, including Deeq and criminal lawyer Elmi, about the racism and criminalisation faced by Somali youth in Britain; the looting and hidden wars conducted in Somalia by external forces and the resulting displacement of huge numbers of Somalis; the fact that the imperialists are orchestrating and benefitting from the chaos in Somalia.
Awoowe Hamza, radical poet, spoke on the panel and pointed out that although Somalia is no longer officially colonised, it is being politically colonised, using both direct and indirect means. He also made the connection between Britain’s oppression of Ireland and its current agenda in Somalia (for more information about Britain’s interests in Somalia see: (London Conference on Somalia cover for oil grab /FRFI 226 Apr/May 2012 ).
Ithisham ul-Huq, who spoke on the panel for FRFI, gave a long list of Britain’s interventions in the African continent, showing that Britain only interferes in foreign countries to divide and rule; suppressing any uprising or national liberation struggle in order to plunder and extract wealth.
After the panel spoke, the floor was opened for discussion, and HOS invited contributions from John Rees on behalf of the Stop the War Coalition, others from the Somali community, Ali from the Revolutionary Communist Group to talk about Turkey’s role as a false friend to the Middle East and African countries, and Lorenzo from HOS to talk about DR Congo. People gave messages of solidarity to the campaign and pointed out how important it is not to be seduced by illusions that any imperialist politician, be it from the Tories, Labour or the Liberal Democrats, can do anything to support HOS; that such involvement would lead the campaign down the road of impotence.
The meeting closed with two radical poems, one from Awoowe Hamza and another extremely powerful one written and performed by HOS supporter Farah Gabdon.
The overwhelming message was clear from all contributors: British intervention in Somalia must be opposed, because Britain will never play any progressive role in Somalia or any other country, and in order to oppose it, we must be united, strong and principled. Now the campaign moves forward, and we urge everyone to get involved; get in touch, come along to the organising meetings and help us build for the next action. You can find contact details on the HOS blog: handsoffsomalia.co.uk.