The Acts of the Democracies




USA and Somalia

After entering Somalia for "humanitarian reasons", USA helicopters fire on a crowd including women and children killing over 200 people. According to a CIA estimate, in the entire operation (called "Operation Restore Hope") at least 7,000 people are killed by USA forces.

A newspaper in the USA, the Sunday New York Times has a headline declaring: "Colonialism's back -- and not a moment too soon." (18 April).

The article, written by Paul Johnson, charges that "some countries are just not fit to govern themselves," and argues that the poorest nations of the southern hemisphere should be forced to submit to formal "recolonisation" for a period of about 50 to 100 years. Johnson, who refers to developing countries as the "third world" and to industrialised nations as "the civilised powers," is writing about the USA military presence in Somalia - something which numerous other writers have compared to a return of formal colonisation.

Alex de Wall and Rakiya Omaar of African Rights in London (UK), are among them: "'Operation Restore Hope' represents an important strategic precedent for the way in which the USA, and to a lesser extent the European countries, use the United Nations to have their way with the world," the two human rights activists write the Spring 1993 edition of Covert Action Information Bulletin, a publication by opponents of underhanded actions against people in the Southern Hemisphere. They continue:

"Limits placed on Western access are warded off with charges of narcotics trade, international terrorism, and nuclear and chemical weapon proliferation. The potential disruption posed by unstable nations with no powerful central government is more problematic. In this context, philanthropic imperialism, spearheaded by ostensibly independent human aid agencies, can play an important strategic role. It can legitimise intervention taken for wholly different motives, for example, to win human rights credentials back home for electoral purposes, to safeguard military budgets, or to act against a perceived threat of Islamic fundamentalism. All these motives figures in the case of 'Operation Restore Hope.' Above all, Somalia was an easy and timely test for this new weapon in the arsenal of international control."

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