Michael Daniel NYT, 3-22-2007, “15 Die When Somalis Try to Disarm Rebels” 3-23-2007 On Wednesday fighting between

Somalis and Ethiopian troops broke out due to sectarian tensions between clans. The Ethiopian troops were in Mogadishu to disarm gunmen but they were met with armed resistance and were ultimately mutilated and some were burned alive. The Somali combatants chanted, “’We will burn you alive!’” The article states that, “The scene was reminiscent of 1993, when Somalis turned on American peacekeepers.” This shows that the reporter used the metaphor of a historical event in order to understand and describe the event. The fighting was a direct result of identities formed from people’s understanding of history. Ethiopian troops are in Somalia to help to provide security to the new transitional government. With help from the Ethiopian military, the current transitional government recently took over from a radical Islamist government. The Islamist government did provide security to the country when they were in charge but since the takeover violence and assassinations have been on the rise due to violence between Somali clans. This is because the Darod clan has taken over the transitional government and marginalized the Hawiye clan. Membership in a clan means that you are from a certain family. This means that the violence is a direct result of how people view their personal history. Somebody raised in the Darod clan has probably been taught since birth that they should be proud of their Darod history and heritage. They might not have always learned that the Hawiye clan is their rival, but they were certainly taught that they are Darod and not Hawiye. This creates a kind of family identity which functions much like nationalism. In this way,

peoples understanding of their own personal histories are the cause of the violence in Somalia. When the author of the article needed to describe the scene to an American audience she invoked an event from America’s past, namely, the failed attempt to stop the violence in 1993 when American troops were mutilated and dragged through the streets. In this way, the author uses history as metaphor in order to describe the scene. It is effective. Most Americans remember powerful images on CNN back in 1993 when the event happened, which means that most Americans will understand the metaphor. A witness to the mutilations said that, “If these people are trying to say that this was done in the name of Islam, it’s a fallacy.” While the witness might have meant that mutilating people is not allowed in Islam, what she said is not correct. People can do things in the name of anything they want. The theology of the extremists might be flawed but if somebody says that they are doing something for Islam then we should believe them. For example, one can watch the news because they believe that their family dog ordered them to watch the news. We don’t give the dog credit for getting the person to watch the news. We understand that the person’s logic is flawed. This is a similar situation. We should not blame Islam simply because extremists say that they did something in the name of Islam. We should blame the extremists for not having the critical thinking abilities and the simple humanity to understand that mutilating people is unethical.