Friday, March 2, 2018

Somali Bantu History

The Hidden History of Somalia
Somali Bantu and Somali Cushitic Situation

The Somali community is made up of three ethnic groups: Bantu, Cushitic, and Arab. They are differentiated physically, ethnically, culturally, and socially. The Bantus originated in central Africa, the Cushitic people are in northern Africa, and the Arabs in Yemen. They also differ in their economic activities. The Bantu are farmers, the Cushitic are pastoral nomads, and the Arabs are fishermen. Their differences can be noticed in a foreign observer’s eyes; each group has a unique character, which is undoubtedly derived from their ethnic origins and the relative similarity of the physical, economic, and social means that were formed and evolved. Without denying the internal differences, or the strange features acquired in the process of enculturation to which any culture is subjected, today, one can speak of the problems the Bantus have been facing with the Somali government. Moreover, the Bantus split into several clans in the same way the Cushitic people have. They inhabit in the south, an area that technically extends into central Somalia. Most of them speak Mai-mai which is their mother tongue. When Somalia got its independence from the Italian colonial government, the Cushitic people started occupying the Bantu land in the southern region. When they set their feet down in south Somalia, they saw rich agricultural land owned by the Bantu people everywhere they looked. The land is full of minerals and natural resources. Two rivers are flowing, and fish and gas are abundant. The Cushitic people felt deep jealousy and hatred to see the blessings that the Creator had given the Bantu people, and they could not stand to see their happiness. Thus, they decided to take it. The civil war of the 1990s was used as a pretext to rob the Bantu of their farmland. During the war, the Bantu Somalis didn’t have weapons to defend themselves, and they were victims of some of the most dehumanizing acts that fit the definition of genocide. The Cushitic people took everything from them. Many of the Bantus migrated to Kenya in the refugee camps. They applied for asylum in the United States. They were officially classified as “persecuted.” Then the United States opened its doors in the 2000s for many of the displaced Bantus to immigrate. Therefore, this research article seeks to outline the relationship between the Cushitic and Bantu Somalis in terms of: (1) their differences, (2) their history, (3) the Ethio-Somali war, (4) the civil war of Somalia, (5) Somali Bantu fled genocide from Somalia. (6) Why did the Bantus face the genocide? (7) a reflection on the Somali Bantu and Cushitic situation.

The Somalis Differences

There is a significant difference between the two communities in Somalia. There are significant ways in which the two communities differ, for instance, the aspect of origin, appearance, and economic activities. Somalia, one of the countries in East Africa, contains both the Bantus and Cushitic people. The two groups are different, significant ethnicities that use natural resources in the country. Also, the population of Bantu and Cushitic Somalis has increased rapidly over the years. Still, cultural assimilation between the two groups is prevalent and prompts debates on the differences between them. However, irrespective of the assimilation in culture in the present day, they portray notable historical differences. Further, the two groups differ in their body size, appearance, economic activities, distribution, and social nature. In this section, each of these differences is discussed.

First, the Bantu and Cushitic groups differ in terms of their origin and distribution in Africa. The Bantus are composed of subgroups that originated in the Niger-Congo region and are primarily located in the tropical savanna climate areas. The Bantus mostly inhabit Western, Southern, and Central Africa, as well as Eastern Africa. On the other hand, the Cushitic people are composed of many subgroups, but they all originated in the Afro-Asiatic region. They are primarily located in warm desert climate areas and inhabit Eastern Africa. Also, in Somalia, the Bantus are indigenous in the south while the Cushites are in the north. This reveals apparent differences between the two groups regarding their origin and distribution in Africa.

Second, Somali Bantus and Somali Cushitic can be differentiated based on their bodies' physical structures and appearances.  The Bantus men are known in Somalia as (Jareer), which means manhood masculine.  On the other hand, the Cushitic people, also known as (Jila), represent feminine masculinity.  Somali Bantus also exhibit a shorter and healthy muscular physique, whereas the Cushitic people have taller and unhealthily, non-muscular bodies.  Also, the Cushitic people have weak genetic bones, and most Cushitic people are not found in good health, unlike the Bantus.  The Cushitic people love politics more than they love their spouses.  On the other hand, the Bantus love their spouses more than politics.  On average, the Cushitic people have rotten, deformed teeth and ugly smiles, which make them more hideous than they already are.  On the other hand, the Bantus have nice shiny teeth like stars with their beautiful smiles, which make others happier.

Moreover, Somali Bantus have Afro-textured hair that naturally grows to medium length.  In contrast, the Somali Cushitic people have softer hair that grows to more extended lengths than the Bantus.  Somali Bantus also differ from Cushitic people in the physical makeup of their noses.  Somali Bantus have a broader nose structure, whereas Cushitic people have a thinner, sharper nose appearance.  They also differ in the languages they speak.  The Bantus speak Mai-Mai, which is their native language.  On the other hand, the Cushitic people speak Maha-Tire.  Therefore, foreigners in Somalia can use identifiable differences in physical body structure to differentiate between the Bantus and Cushitic Somalis.

Next, Somali Bantus and Cushitic people differ in the types of economic activities practiced as well as their settlement regions. Though both groups reside in the same country, they utilize the country’s economic and natural resources differently. Somali Bantus are highly concentrated in the country’s southern region, particularly around the Juba and Shabelle rivers, characterized by cool and wet climatic conditions. Somali Bantus’ main economic activity is crop farming associated with minimal livestock keeping. Thus, the Somali Bantus are exclusively vegetarians. They rely heavily on the southern region’s conventional rainfall and water from the Juba and Shabelle rivers for farming activities.

On the other hand, the Somali Cushitic people reside in the Northern Somali region. The northern part is a semi-desert with hot and dry climatic conditions. The Cushitic people keep livestock on a large scale since it is their main economic activity. They are known for being nomadic since they move from one place to the next in search of water and pasture. The Cushitic people rely on products from livestock such as goats, sheep, cows, and camels. Thus, most of their food comprises animal products, particularly livestock meat. The difference in food types consumed by the Bantu and Cushitic peoples, therefore, explains the underlying differences between the physiques of the members of these two ethnic groups.

It should also be noted that the Bantus and the Cushites differ in their social nature. The Cushites are inherently radical, while the Bantus are docile and peaceful individuals. Looking at the terms ``radical” and “docile,” let’s see the differences between the two groups regarding social composition. Radicalism pertains to people who overexpress their feelings and appear violent at times, which goes against human norms. On the other hand, docile people are moral and rational, and they take time to express their feelings. In terms of brain functioning, the Cushitic people are quick to act and are fast in decision-making with minimal thinking about the consequences of their decisions. Due to the irrational manner in which the Cushitic people deal with issues, they are more likely to engage in violence. In Somalia, ethnic attacks have become a norm among the Cushitic communities. Clashes are seen as part of life, though they cause suffering and pain. Cushitic people attack and harass other ethnic groups without viable reasons, especially when they see their weakness. The only reason they do that is to satisfy their heartless nature.

On the contrary, Somali Bantus take time to make their decisions. They are more analytical than their Cushitic counterparts. Due to their logical way of thinking, they hardly engage in violent behaviors. While they may not be as fast as the Cushitic group in their thinking patterns, they quickly develop trust in other individuals. At times, the Cushitic people take advantage of their logical thinking. Moreover, the Bantus are rigid in their way of life. Hardly do they accept change in their social behaviors. In general, the Bantus are peaceful in their way of life; thus, they may appear naïve to the outgoing Cushitic group.

Thus, Somali Bantus and Cushitic peoples differ in physical body structure, economic activities, and social nature. Cushitic people have a weaker body physique than the Bantus due to the different work performed and the different types of food consumed by the two groups. Somali Bantus practice crop farming as their main economic activity, while the Cushitic people are nomadic pastoralists. Bantus are peaceful and analytical in decision-making, while the Cushitic people are quick to make decisions and willful.

The History of Somalia

Every country has its unique historical background that holds its culture and social-economic life. Somalia was among the top and best traders during ancient times. Also, Somalia gained independence from 1940 to 1941 from British and Italian colonialism. The leading British aim was to establish a place to carry on trade, and they were not interested in resources. However, each group shared their own culture, their own language, but a similar Islamic religion brought Somali interests and goals together, for example, living harmoniously together. Despite the Cushites repaying good with good, the Cushites went ahead and denied the Bantus children the right to education in collaboration with the government. This article intensively discusses Somalia’s resettlement and transition from informal to formal education, colonization, its impact on the Somali community, discrimination, and introduction to education.

Meanwhile, before the British colonization in Somalia, people shared a complex and comprehensive educational background where the eldest used to educate young children through storytelling, guidance, and counseling. Scientific research shows that at around 700 A.D, the Arabs had intermingled with the Somali people, causing a significant influence in religion, which caused almost all the Somali people to be converted to the Muslim faith. Afterward, the Islamic religion had a considerable effect and managed to open Qurʾānic schools with the standard of colonial power, which was the only formal education in Somalia. Many citizens joined the school with the aim of learning and becoming converts to Islam. The Cushite and the Bantu lived in peace before colonization, respected each other, and protected one another. After the Italian colonization, things changed drastically since the Italians were not after their resources but their workforce labor as slaves.

First, the Bantus and the Cushitic People in Somalia lived separately before the colonial era. Furthermore, there is an exciting history of the Bantus and the Cushitic people. For centuries, the Somali Bantus and the Somali Cushites lived in Somaliland harmoniously. At that time, they lived in different regions. The Somali Bantus’ later migration from their original homeland in Cameroon in West Africa dates back to 3,000 years ago. The continued expansion of the tribe’s search for water for their crops was the main reason for their migration. From West Africa, the Bantu community migrated eastward, with some staying in Central and East Africa, while some traveled as far as Southern Africa. Of the two groups in the country, the Bantu arrived there first. When they arrived in the area, they just settled down in the south side, an area that technically extends into central Somalia especially around and between the Juba and Shabelle rivers. However, they did not move to the Northern side because it consisted of drylands. The drought was the leading cause of the Bantus and Cushite migration, hence their parting of ways.

Furthermore, many years later, the Cushitic Somalis migrated from their original homeland in Northern Africa, known as Sudan’s modern-day area. Specifically, they had traveled from North Africa to search for green pastures for their cattle. However, when the Cushitic Somalis arrived in Somalia, they found out that the Bantus had already inhabited the southern area. They had no other choice but to stay on the Northern side since nobody was living there. Generally, the land was peaceful as no group interfered with the affairs of the other. Still, each group defended its territory. In their subgroups, they governed themselves for many generations. It is now clear that the Bantus and Cushites co-existed in the country, searching for food, water, and land to cultivate.

Italy colonized part of Somaliland in the early 1900s. They took control of the Bantu and the Cushitic groups’ two regions, and they combined the two areas as one country. Some Cushitic from the Northern side started moving slowly to the Bantus area in the southern region in search of food. They looked weak, thin, starved, and tired as they had walked for a long distance without food. They used to show up at the Bantu house as a beggar. Due to their state at the time, the Bantus did not realize that the Cushitic group could be dangerous. Thus after the Cushitic members had expressed their needs, the Bantu, out of their generosity, decided to offer help. They gave them food and shelter as they sympathized with the sickly state of their visitors. The Cushitic gladly received a warm welcome. Nonetheless, the Bantu only adhered to their moral practice of welcoming those who needed their help and forgot to be cautious as they were dealing with strangers whom they did not fully understand. Henceforth, the Bantus and the Cushitic started living together. The Bantus shared their resources with the Cushitic and made sure that they were well fed. As a result, the Cushitic were established in the Bantu region.

Many years later, the colonizers decided to give independence. However, the Somali people didn’t know how to govern, so they asked the colonizer to provide them with ten years of training to govern themselves. The colonizers accepted the offer and started building schools in the Bantu and Cushite areas. The Cushites who were living with the Bantus used to warn them not to go to school as if they cared for them, while the Cushite children themselves were going to school. When the Bantus asked why? One of the justifications the Cushites gave was that the schools taught the Christian faith and would lead their children away from Islam. The Cushitic people acted as if they cared for the Bantus while lying to them and deceiving them. Their situation was just like the prophet Adam and the Devil’s story. The Devil told Adam to eat from the tree that would make him immortal, acting as if he cared about him. This same misconception misled many Bantus. As a result, many of the Bantus never acquired formal learning. They remained illiterate while the Cushites educated their children. Later, as the colonizer finished the training, they decided to transfer the government to Somalis. However, the chosen leader came from the Cushitic group because the Cushites collaborated with the colonizer and were educated, unlike the Bantus.

Thus, the government belonged to the Cushite people after the colonizers left the colony. Subsequently, the Cushite-led government wanted nothing to do with the Bantus since the government was in the Cushites’ hands. Thus, constant conflicts emerged between the two groups as the Cushites often acted against the Bantus. Still, the Bantus let the Cushitic group lead the country, due to their desire for peace to prevail in the region, and they started sending their children to government schools. However, this did not improve the situation. The government continuously discriminated against and deceived the Bantus. For instance, when the Bantu children graduated from high school, the government gave their diplomas to the Cushites who had not graduated and then transferred them to other countries. Consequently, many Bantu children finished high school but have no diplomas. The government did so to kill the Bantus’ hope in the country. This way, the Bantu people will never have opportunities to join the government.

In conclusion, the historical record shows that before the Italians invaded Somalia during the colonial era, Somalia’s territory was separated into two geographical regions, each occupied by Bantus and Cushitic communities, respectively. During this period, the Somali Bantus enjoyed control over Somalia’s southern part, and the area flourished in peace. Following the emergence of Italian colonial control over Somalia, they combined the two locations. Some of the Cushitic people from Northern Somalia began moving in the Bantu southern region slowly, and the Bantus welcomed them with open arms and without any caution. When Somalia got its independence, the colonizer let the Cushitic people control both regions. That produced catastrophic consequences as the Cushitic-led government instituted oppression, discrimination, and corrupt governance. Therefore, the harsh and unfriendly treatment of the Somali Bantus stems from a mistake made by their ancestors in the colonial era.

The Ethio-Somali War

In 1977–1978, there was a war between Somalia and Ethiopia. This war was called the Ogaden war or the Ethio-Somali war. This war was a result of Ethiopia and Somalia fighting for a region that was between them. The area was known as the Ogaden Region. Upon Siyad Barre becoming the president of Somalia, the war started between Somalia and Ethiopia. The cause of this war was to protect the sub-clans where Siyad Barre originated. During the war, there were so many Somali Bantus that died in the war. The reason is that the government was sending them to the front lines, while their clan was at the back. Below is an explanation of how the whole war was and the result of the war.

To understand more about the Ogaden war, we need to understand what led to the Ogaden war. First, the Cushitic Somalis are split into several clans, the same as the Bantus. For instance, we have the Darood clan, which also forms subclans. The Darood clan was one of the largest sub-clan among the Cushitic ethnic group, and still, it was divided into three groups; the Darood of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. In 1977, Ethiopia and Somalia were absorbed in a colony dispute over the Ogaden region. The region was located between Ethiopia and Somalia, and so the two nations claimed the area to be theirs. The difficulty in the war was that big powers supported both of the states, which could bring the Cold War to Africa. This notion of the Cold War in Africa was very sound because the Soviet Union financed Ethiopia, while the United States financed Somalia. To conclude, this war was very tricky, and if care was not taken, it could extend to the other parts of Africa. If this war continued, then the notion of the Ogaden war bringing the Cold War to Africa would be proved right.

It is good to understand whether, before the war started, there were disputes between Ethiopia and Somalia in the past. According to research, it is clear that before the Ethio-Somali war started, there were disputes about the Ogaden region. Due to the Second World War, when Ethiopia had lined up with the Allies in opposition to the Axis powers, Great Britain renounced its claims on the Ogaden region as a fragment of British Somali land. Besides, once the British Somali area became a fragment of Somalia’s new independent state in 1960, the government had no option but to control the region. Afterward, there was intensified monitoring of the area when a military coup in Somalia led to the killing of the Somali president Abdirashid Ali Shermarke. Then, in 1969, the military under Siyad Barre seized control of the state of Somalia. Uh-oh! One could tell that things were not getting any better.

To better understand the situation, it is also good to know what was happening in Ethiopia when things were not right in Somalia. In this period, the longtime emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, was displaced in September 1974 by the defense force known as the Derg. This led to the disorganization of the Ethiopian nation, leading to the emergence of many separatist movements that were opposed to the Derg due to uncertainties in Ethiopian politics. Surprisingly, one of those groups, called Western Somali, was staying in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. The same group asked for the takeover of the territory they controlled in Somalia. To conclude, it was the beginning of another dispute between the Somali natives in the Ogaden region with the Ethiopian natives.

Before entering the real war, we have to understand what was happening to the Derg. So, in 1977, Haile Miriam had become the Derg leader, who was in the custody of the whole of Ethiopia. Due to these privileges, the Derg suppressed all the Ethiopians and, to be specific, the Western Somalia Liberation Federation (WSLF) and its supporters. Thus, there was more emphasis on the notion that there was a Cold War in Africa. By this particular time, the Derg had made Ethiopia a communist state and allied it with the Soviet Union. Allying it with the Soviet Union meant that now, the Ethiopians had funds to deal with Somalia since the Soviet Union would fund them.

Since the Somali government had obtained large quantities with Soviet help, they provided the Western Somali Liberation Federation with weapons. So, in July 1977, Somalia’s government army took thirty-five thousand armed men commanded by Mohamed Siyad Barre. These Somali militaries were also supported by fifteen thousand military men from the Western Somali Liberation Federation. Together they invaded the Ogaden region, but unfortunately, the Army of Somali was outnumbered by the Ethiopian army. To their advantage, they had superior weapons because of earlier support from Soviet military donations. This was a clear alarm of a cruel war.

Moreover, the Soviets were also providing their newfound Ethiopia with funds and even weapons. After they were unsuccessful in getting a suspension in fighting, they gave all their aid to the Ethiopians by bringing fifteen thousand men from the Army of Cuba. Similarly, there were volunteers from other communist nations, Yemen, and South Korea. On the other hand, the people of Somalia had gotten aid from the United States. Given that now the two states were aided by supreme powers, the war escalated.

Lastly, there came the war where the fittest would survive since there was aid from supreme powers on both sides. When the war started in 1977, the Ethiopians had control of about ten percent of the Ogaden region. Since the Ethiopians received Soviet aid more often, they were able to overpower the Somali Army and their helpers, the Western Somali Liberation Front allies. In October, the Somali Army tried their best to be hostile to acquire the Harar city of Ethiopia. Unfortunately, they were faced by forty thousand militaries from Ethiopia and eleven thousand armed men from the Cuban Army who aided them. Soviet weapons and air forces also supported these Cuban troops. As stated above, the Ethiopians outnumbered the Somalians, and so they were able to push the Somalians out of the Ogaden garden without force. By March 1978, the Ethiopians had taken almost the whole Ogaden region. Now, the Somalians had been defeated, leading them to surrender their fight for the area. This is how the Ethiopians ended up having the Ogaden region in their name.

It should also be noted that the Ethio-Somali war initiated the Somali Bantu genocide. During the war, the Somali government was forcing the Bantus boys aged fifteen years and above to join the war for free to save their clan in Ethiopia. At this particular time, the Somali government had not given the Bantus good training, the only thing they taught them was shooting. They then sent the poorly trained Bantus to the war. In the war, the government put the Bantu people in the front line as a shield, and then their fellow Cushites were at the back. This is a clear indication that the probability of the Bantus dying was very high. The government’s primary intention was to have the Bantus swept during the war and have more Cushites surviving. When the Bantus saw how their community was dying, they started running away. On the other hand, other than receiving support from the Cushites, the Cushites took advantage and shot them as a way of preventing them from retracting from war. The Cushites were telling them not to run away but fight for their country. However, it is beyond a reasonable doubt; the primary intention of the Cushites was to have more Bantus killed on the battlefield so that they could take their farmland with ease.

In conclusion, my opinion is that the Ogaden War was a big war, but there had to be a winner, just like any other war. In the Ogaden War, it is clear that the Ethiopians had it right and thus could gain the Ogaden region to their name. Moreover, the Ethiopians proved to be more prepared for this war than the Somalians. Lastly, another opinion is that this war brought the Cold War to Africa, which is true. This is because there was an intervention of supreme powers that tried to intimidate each other with their abilities. The Bantus proved to have a lot of influence in the Ethiopia–Somalia war, more so than the Somali Cushites. If anyone should have been greatly rewarded, it was the Somali Bantus. Unfortunately, the government was against them and thus used their authority to suppress them to the weakest point possible. This is an act that everybody in the world should condemn, and unity should be preached instead of disunity.

The Civil War of Somalia

Somalia has undergone various civil wars in its history. Most civil wars have political underpinnings, as politicians usually spread hatred and animosity among the citizens to the point that a simple issue could result in a big fight. A good example is the American Civil War of 1861–1865, which arose due to the difference in opinions regarding slavery. Another case was in Kenya (2007–2008) when the citizens differed on the outcome of the 2007 election. Somalia’s case was not any different; the war began as resistance against President Mohamed Siyad Barre. With time, it grew more prominent and, thus, affected many people within the country. The war was supposed to be between two Cushitic subclans, Darood and Hawiye, but it ended up affecting the Bantus the most.

It is noteworthy that tribal underpinnings often influence African countries’ politics. For example, Mohamed Siyad Barre, President of the Somali Democratic Republic between 1969 and 1991, fell into a similar trap. He was a member of the Cushitic group and belonged to the clan of Darood and the sub-clan from Marehan. President Barre could be said to be among the worst dictators the world has seen. He massacred many people in the name of tribal affiliations. His general, Farrah Hassan Aidid, was also a Cushite just like him, but from the clan of Hawiye and the sub-clan from Habar Gidir. The Darood and Hawiye clans are the two main powerful sub-clans in Somalia. Thus, President Barre’s ascension to power was based on his tribal affiliation and not on his ability to lead the Somali people.

After their defeat in the Ogaden War, the Somali people became very disciplined.  The reason was that the economy crashed, and there was fatigue throughout the country.  In response, Siad Barre selected and moved some people of his clan from northern Somalia to the southern side to live better lives.  The other clans on the north-side lost confidence since the president only favored his clan.  Consequently, all of them suddenly started a movement of tribe groups in some regions of Somalia with the same goal of overthrowing the Siad Barre regime.  One of those clans was the Isaaq, and Barre massacred them mercilessly from 1975 to 1979 in Somaliland.  Another reason Barre resettled his clan from north to south was to seize the Bantus' farmland for them.  Before Siad Barre, all other former presidents of Somalia were against the Somali Bantus, but they never tried to take over their land.  Siad Barre was the first president who started invading Bantu land for his tribe, and all other presidents after him have followed in his footsteps.  First, Siad Barre divided the Somali Bantus and created disunity among them.  After dividing the Bantus, he resettled his sub-clans to the southern side without consulting the indigenous Bantus and gave them full control of the Bantu land.

The Somali Bantus controlled nothing in the country, even in their own regions; everything was given over to the management of the Cushitic people, especially those from the presidential sub-clan. The Southern region belonged to the Bantus, but Siyad Barre wanted to acquire it for his people because the land was very fertile. His general, Farrah Aidid, who was of the same Cushitic ethnicity but of the Hawiye clan, began to notice the president’s plans and wanted a share for his own sub-clan, but Siyad Barre refused to share the land. When the general realized that the president didn’t want to share with him in the deal, he started thinking about how he could take Siyad Barre’s position. This was how the division of Somalia started.

Most politicians cling to power even when people do not like them. For example, President Barre began to make plans to retain power while he was still the president. He intended to turn Somalia into a monarchy, where a member of his sub-clan could inherit power after his death. His general requested that he replace him, but President Barre refused. Instead, he embarked on resettling his people among the Somali Bantus as a strategy to secure the Bantus’ fertile land for them. Meanwhile, General Aidid secretly trained the military to fight against President Barre. The president got to know about the ongoing training when it was too late to counter it. Therefore, he fled out of the country, telling his people to prepare for a civil war. Barre attempted to cling to power, although he lacked the support and goodwill of the Somalis.

Initially, the war seemed to be between two clans. The president’s clan members fled from their homes and hid in the Bantus’ area because they were not prepared for war. The Hawiye clan was ready, and it started pursuing the Darood clan. Eventually, it was discovered that the members of the Darood clan were hiding in the Bantus’ area. The Hawiye clan went to the Southern region and massacred the members of the Darood clan. It also committed other atrocities. For instance, the Hawiye clan members repeatedly assaulted the Darood women. The Darood clan members fled, but they had nowhere to hide from their rivals. The Somali Bantus did not engage in the war at the time, and the Darood clan collected all their guns. However, they forgot to retain some of the guns for their defense against attacks. Thus, it seemed like a war between the Darood and the Hawiye.

As the civil war between the Hawiye and the Darood clans escalated, the Bantus were accused by the Hawiye of being accomplices of the Darood. Thus, they mercilessly massacred them. They assaulted the Bantu women just as they had done with the Darood women. While the Hawiye Clan were busy with the Bantus, the Darood clan regrouped themselves and returned for their revenge. The Darood clan started attacking the Hawiye Clan until they fled back to Mogadishu. After the Hawiye retreated to the capital, the Darood clan members continued fighting the Bantus, who were defenseless at the time. They accused them of failing to assist in fighting against the Hawiye clan. As the war continued, many Somali Bantus lost their lives since they were on the receiving end in the long run.

Thus, the Somali Civil War was supposed to be a war between the Hawiye and the Darood clans. Still, the Somali Bantus ended up suffering the most compared to Somali Cushitic ethnic groups. The aftermath of the conflict was extremely brutal. Through the war, the Bantus underwent severe suffering, a violation and abuse of human rights at the hands of the Hawiye and Darood clans. The genesis of the war was the power struggle between President Mohamed Siyad Barre and General Farrah Aidid. The general wanted to dislodge the president from power, but the latter refused to leave the office. Therefore, their respective sub-clans turned against each other. Somali Bantus only got involved due to their perceived association with both clans, each accusing them of being an accomplice to the other.

Somali Bantu Fled Genocide From Somalia

Developing countries are facing many challenges that evolved from the civil war that took place many years back. Somalia, a famous country in east Africa, has been associated with the civil war. Civil War conflicts in Somalia have profoundly affected the development of the country’s economy. As a result of the war, the country struggles with political instability, misuse of power, and a broken governing system from 1991. This war started after Sad Barre, dictator leader, was overthrown, followed by a declaration of independence by both the Italians and British colonialists. Up to date, Somalia has lacked an excellent governing system and suffers from both economic and social instability. However, another civil war emerged in 2009 that led the Somali people to migrate from their country to seek refuge. Furthermore, over 15 peace conferences have been held to restore peace in Somalia but dissolved without achieving consensus. International bodies have also tried to dissolve the Somali civil war and bring peace, but unfortunately, they lose their army and troops. A good example is the UN mission for peace-keeping, which tried to maintain peace and distribute food. Through civil war, the Somali have gained a bad reputation as a country. For example, Somalia is known as the worst country to survive as a woman or a child. This article discusses further the effect of the Somali civil war, which has led to, first, gender discrimination and biasedness. Second, Rampant cases of theft and sexual assault on women resulted from the civil war in Somalia. Third, religious disputes between the migrated Somali and the citizens of other countries who offer refuge. Much social retardation, poor economic growth, and low rates of growth and development are the results of the civil war in Somalia. Civil war has resulted in thousands of Somali citizens migrating to Kenya as refugees.

Somalia, a famous country in the African continent, was full of mysteries. Two such significant groups living there are the Somali Bantus and Somali Cushites. The Bantus are the ethnic group living in Somalia who have been deprived of their fundamental rights. They suffered racial discrimination from their Cushitics counterparts since Somalia got its independence from the Italian colonial control, and also they faced many physical attacks while in the country. They were harassed in various ways such as killings, sexual assaults (especially on women), and looting of their properties. As the situation worsened, the Somali Bantus were exposed to severe suffering. The only way out for them was to vacate their premises and look for other places to shelter their families. Thus, many Somali Bantus left their homes in Somalia and headed for the Kenyan border. The journey was long and took two to four weeks. Many of them died on the way due to hunger, and wild animals killed some. The only food available to them on the way was tree leaves. They relied on rain to provide water for cooking and drinking. However, the water they used was muddy and harbored diseases. They overcame numerous disorders, like malaria and others, which spread all over Somalia. There was a quota for Bantus in the Kenyan healing centers. Many Somali Bantus succeeded in reaching Kenya, but they faced many hardships during this journey.

In the United Nations camps, the Somali Bantus were treated with disdain. In 1991, a significant portion of the Somali Bantus and other Somali Cushitic peoples gathered in the UNHCR refugee camps called Dadaab. The UN divided them into three distinct camps, known as Ifo, Dagahaley, and Hagadera. The reason was that there were too many to fit into one place. The Somali Bantus settled down and expected to find peace in the United Nations camps. However, after a few years in the camps, similar issues to those they had faced in Somalia emerged. There were rampant cases of theft and sexual assault on women. These crimes usually happened at night and also when the Bantu women went into the woods to gather firewood. The Somali Cushitic clans perpetuated the animosities in the camp against the Somali Bantus. It reveals that the Cushitic people held a deep hatred for the Bantus to the extent that they continued attacking the latter in the camps. Thus, the Somali Bantus faced many security issues in the United Nations camps.

Indeed, the physical attacks on the Somali Bantus did not stop when they left Somalia. When the sexual assault and harassment kept on expanding in the refugee camps, the camps’ chieftains decided to solicit aid from the UNHCR. The leaders of the camps, who presented the Bantus’ grievances, wanted the Commission to provide them with security by relocating them to a safer place. The Commission’s authorities in the camps, to the surprise of the Bantus, dismissed their relocation request. The dismissal of their petition prompted the leaders to go the extra mile and contact the Australian authorities through a memo, which failed. The Bantus then reached out to the US authorities. In 1998, the Bantus’ hopes were restored, and the US government addressed their grievances. The government reached an agreement, helping to resettle around 12,000 families of the Bantus refugees. The United States of America made history since it had never before resettled such a vast number of refugees from Africa. The US identified the Bantus in Somalia as a continually suffering community prone to physical abuse and racial discrimination.

The US government agreed to give shelter to many Bantu, a move that was unexpected by the Cushitic Somali community. When the Cushitic people heard the news, they were shocked at first, and then they tried to convince the Bantu not to go to America. When the Bantu asked why, the Cushitic people replied that it’s a Christian country, and it would lead their children away from the Islamic faith. The Bantu didn’t agree with them the second time because they didn’t want to end up again in the same hole they trapped them before. When the Cushitic people realized their trick was not working, they started making a truce with the Bantus. They implored the Bantu to intermarry with them to have the opportunity to leave for the United States. However, the Bantu, who were determined to take advantage of the opportunity to get away from the Cushitic chaos and start a new life, rejected the offer. The rejection of the proposal prompted the Cushitic people to plant bombs in the streets, protesting the United States’ decision to allow the emigration of the Bantu. The International Organization for Immigration (IOM) had to step in to control the violence. That culminated in the settlement of the Bantu into another Kenyan camp. In 2000, one major camp created for this relocation was called Kakuma. The Bantu were to stay in the camp for three years before their departure from the US. This move by the IOM was inconvenient for the Somali government because the government could not explain the departure of the Bantus. In particular, the government of Somalia was locked out of the planned departure of the Bantus to the US.

In conclusion, civil war conflicts in Somalia made many Somali Bantus migrate to Kenya. The civil war in Somalia in the 1990s played a significant role in shaping the lives of Somalia’s following generations; it affected the future population of the Bantu people the most. The poor conditions the Somali Bantus faced after the war culminated in their quest for liberation. The Bantus were physically discriminated against due to their differences. Their appearance marked them as enemies of their counterparts. Through their leaders, the Bantus sought help from various European authorities, to no avail. After contacting the US authorities, they finally got help. Though the aid came at a cost, the Bantus settled in Kenya at the Kakuma camp, where they waited for their departure to the United States. The hardship the Bantus faced gave them the strength to pursue their freedom.

Why did the Bantus Face the Genocide?

In most cases, acts of massacre are executed by agents of the state. For instance, they can be executed by militaries or by guerrillas. However, when committed by militias, they are, in most cases, supported by people holding state power. Somalia is an uncommon case in which militias executed acts of genocide in the complete absence of the state governing structure. While Siyad Barre, Somalia’s dictator, arranged his political rivals’ exterminations during his last year in power, local warlords in charge of the private militia went on with strategizing following Barre’s fall from authority and the flop of a governing structure. The genocide was defined by clan-aligned militias fighting each other for dominance in local and regional areas. These were the Somali Cushitic people and Bantus. The Somali genocide against the Bantu is based on numerous myths to justify their claim over the territory, which should not be the case. The genocide resulted from Somalia’s farmland grabbed by Cushites from the original settlers who were the Bantus.

It is worth noting that the Cushites living with the Bantus in Southern Somalia originated from Northern Somalia and Ethiopia, the Ogaden region. The original settlers of Somali land are the Bantus. When the Somali Bantus welcomed them, the Cushites felt entitled to own the country. They took advantage of the Bantus and treated their kindness as a weakness. Since then, they perpetuate several myths to hold on to what does not belong to them, a good example being land. First, they propagate the myth that the Somali government used to deny the Bantus' existence in the country before the civil war broke out. If people read about Somalia, they will only find what has been written by the Cushitic group. Their society, contrary to what they say, is neither homogeneous nor egalitarian. Further, it is a myth that Somali people have one language, one culture, one tradition, and one ethnicity, as is propagated by the Cushites. The Somalis live in diverse communities, just like people in other African countries. There are different groups, languages, and societies. But still, the Cushitic people didn’t want the Bantu people to be known or appear outside of Somalia because they’ve been doing silent genocide since 1977. Moreover, they have never wanted the world to realize their criminal activities and thus masquerade as a good and friendly group. Therefore, there are several myths used by the Cushitic group for justification of why they should own land in a nation owned by the Bantus.

The Ethio-Somali war initiated the Somali Bantu genocide. This is because the government was forcing the Bantus boys aged fifteen years and above to join the war for free to save his clan in Ethiopia. At this particular time, the Somali government had not taught the Bantus how to fight. The only thing they taught them was shooting. They then sent the poorly trained Bantus to war. In the war, the government put the Bantus on the front line, and then their fellow Cushites were at the back. This is a clear indication that the probability of the Bantus dying was very high. The government's primary intention was to have the Bantus swept during the war and have more Cushites surviving. When the Bantus saw how their community was dying, they started running away. On the other hand, other than receiving support from the Cushites, the Cushites took advantage and shot them as a way of preventing them from retracting from war. The Cushites were telling them not to run away but fight for their country. However, it is beyond a reasonable doubt; the primary intention of the Cushites was to have more Bantus killed on the battlefield so that they could take their land with ease.

The Somali civil war was also the genocide of the Somali Bantu people. The historical record shows that the Cushitic-led government had plans to give a share to his clan of the Bantu land because the land is very fertile. Although the plan failed after his General Farrah Aidid created an army against him. This led to the president fleeing from the country. Instead, his clan, the Daroods, who were at the center of the war, gave a lifeline to the Somali Bantus.  President Mohamed Siyad Barre and General Farrah Aidid, the Somali warlord and militia leader of both their clans Darood and Hawiye disregarded the Somali Bantus from the look of things. They did everything within their means to weaken, kill, and reduce the population of the Bantus. The Bantu went through some of the most dehumanizing acts that fit the definition of genocide. When the Bantu saw that their death was very high in the civil war, many fled out of the country. This was when the Cushitic lies and evil plans got exposed because other countries didn’t know that another group called Bantus lived in Somalia. However, the Cushitic people did not give up. They continued to plan against the Bantu people in the nation.

The other myth the Cushitic people have been using against the Somali Bantu is about the East African slave trade. The Cushitic people have written many books and articles on the slave trade and posted them online. The primary intention of writing the books and articles is to demean the Bantus. However, they fail to explain that the Arabs and the Bantus also traded together, just like the Cushites. Further, the writings are not categorical that the Arabs only used to steal children from both the Cushitic and Bantu groups and sell them to the Middle East and India. Neither do the writings state that the Arabs did not steal people from Tanzania or Mozambique and brought them to be enslaved by the Cushitic people. The first question is, if the Bantus were slaves, how can they live separated in two distant regions between them and those who claim to be their masters? If the Bantus were slaves, the second question is, how can they be living in the best part of the country while the Cushitic people lived in the worst part? The third question is why would the Arabs, who were rich, prosperous, and civilized for many centuries, waste time stealing people for the inferior and uncivilized Cushitics when they could sell their slaves to rich people who were civilized? In the writings, the Cushitic people used perpetual deception to subjugate the truth.

The other myth used by the Somali Cushites was slavery to justify their unfair treatment of the Bantus and the giving of wrong statistics. As per the government, the Siyad barre government did a counter to see who the majorities between the Bantus and Cushitic people were. At first, he thought they would be the majority, but when they brought the statistic’s result to him, he was in shock and tore up the paper. They started giving the Bantus false statistics because they wanted to do away with them entirely in the country. Their statistics stated that the Bantus made up approximately 1 percent of the population. However, in a real sense, the Somali Bantus’ population was closer to 50 percent. This clearly shows how deceitful and immoral the Cushites were on a land that did not belong to them. The government and its people are treating the Bantus community harshly as if they do not belong in Somalia. They associate them with other African countries such as Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, or Kenya instead. It is brutal how their land has been taken away from them, their properties looted, and their women being raped and killed by government forces. These are some of the serious issues that have been going on in Somalia since the country achieved its independence. This form of treatment for the Bantus is because the government and its people fear that if the Bantus are given any recognition and power, they will take over the country and overrule them. This is the main reason why the government in Somalia does not support the Bantus community and their rights.

In conclusion, the Somali Civil War’s purpose in Somalia was to grab land owned by the Somali Bantu people. However, the Cushitic intention did not succeed since constant conflicts emerged between the Cushitic groups. The genocide resulted from the ungratefulness and greed of the Cushitic community that was allowed in the country by the Bantus. Somalia’s farmland grabbing from the original settlers is based on numerous myths to justify their claim over the territory. They employed myths, lies, deceitfulness, and even murdering innocent Bantus to justify their claim for farmland in the country. One of the myths is that the Somali government used to deny the existence of the Somali Bantu in the country before the civil war broke out. The other myth is that Somali people have one language, one culture, one tradition, and one ethnicity, the Cushitic group. They also used the myth of the slave trade to demean the Bantus. The Somali Bantus went through humiliation from both the government and rebel groups. They were forced to be in the front line during the war to ensure that most of them died in the war and lowered their population. The Cushites also gave wrong statistics to prove that there were many that the Bantus owned the country. These myths were made to lie to the world and give the Somali Cushitic leeway to justify Somalia’s claim. This was a very negative way of doing things, and no one should emulate the Somali Cushitic.

Reflection on the Somali Bantu and Cushitic situation

The article I have presented highlights various situations of the Somali Bantu and Cushitic communities. Ideally, I have described accurately and detailed exploration of why the Bantu people remain a top secret of the Somali government. I have assessed the poor conditions of the Bantu people after the civil war. Further, I have conducted an in-depth analysis of their efforts for their survival throughout the period. I intended to evaluate their strength; I admire their patience, tranquility, faith, resilience, and courage to face all their hardships. The story of the Bantus informs us that difficulties in life can be overcome. Whenever we see people facing myriad challenges in their life, we should realize that God has the power to turn challenges into an opportunity. We should treat others with respect and dignity. We should not be part and parcel of corrupt dealings or participate in demeaning other human beings’ lives. Most importantly, we should pursue peace and not condone violence. We should emulate the United States government’s actions, which provided a safe and reliable place for the Bantus to live a normal life like other people.

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