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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Somalis Risk not Watching the World Cup

Where will you be when the world football gala migrates to South Africa this June? With just under 40 days remaining before the FIFA 2010 World Cup kicks off under the picturesque African blue sky in South Africa, adrenaline is already running high, tension building, and fans becoming extra ecstatic. Over a billion people are expected to follow the beautiful game as it unfurls its wings to present its undisputed festive nature to the aficionados. 

Tens of thousands will be in the stadiums, hundred millions will be watching from the comfort of their living room, others will follow live commentaries on radio and football sites, while many others will rely on getting the latest updates on Twitter and other networking sites.

However, this is a luxury that you should not expect if you happen to come from a fight-crazy eastern nation found at the tip of the Horn of Africa. SOMALIA. 

So why would one miss this history-making event in Africa? 

Simple. 

The militants in Somalia have banned the watching of films and football!

You read it right.

And that's not all. The Islamist insurgent group, Hisbul Islam, also imposed bans on radio stations instructing them not to air music and songs terming such act as un-Islamic. Fearing attacks from the hardline Islamists, radio stations in Mogadishu relented to this pressure and implemented the Islam command after a ten-day ultimatum. 

Following the threat, programme signature tunes were replaced with random sounds of gunfire, explosions, animal and vehicle sounds. Somalia has a tradition of music and most residents greeted the ban with dismay, saying such a move has not only denied them the comfort amidst such fracas in the capital, Mogadishu, but has denied them their voice. In the past, militants in some areas have banned bras, musical ringtones, watching films and football and forced men to grow beards. 

Recently, al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab, the country's most powerful Islamist insurgent group outlawed the use of bells in schools to signal the start or end of lessons in class because they sounded too much like Christian church bells. The order to stop the music echoes the Taliban's strict social rules imposed on Afghans beginning in the late 1990s. 

Somalia has over the years proved to be a risky reporting ground for journalists. In 2009, nine journalists were killed, while a total of 22 have died since 2005. 

Broadcasters and journalists in the Horn of Africa nation continue to operate in an increasingly hostile environment where they are muzzled and denied any form of free expression by regimes or individuals that want them silenced. 

Somalia has been without a central government since 1991 when Mogadishu warlords toppled the regime of former President Mohammed Siad Barre.

So while fans are fervently flexing their muscles as they prepare to either be part of the ecstasy experienced by the victorious or agony that grips the losers, Somalis are asking the gods, or allahs, what is it they did wrong to deserve such inhumane treatment.  

But who's to blame?

And That's thesteifmastertake!!