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Paul Coletti | 17:45 UK time, Friday, 27 April 2007

tonight we discussed the violence in Somalia and the strange case of the statue in Estonia which has ignited deep-seated resentment between Estonians and ethnic Russians.


In this war-torn country 365,000 people have been displaced since February and the fighting between the UIC, TGF and the Ethiopian government is intensifying.


Martin Fletcher is a journalist with the Time. he's giving us the lowdown on what life is like in 'The Mog': "Hospitals filled to overflowing, people lying under trees with the most horrendous injuries and dyssentry and possibly cholera."

Federica Giovanni is with the UN and is painting a bleak picture: "The UN has been trying to provide assiatance to those who have fled. They have no access to basics: water and sanitation. Unfortunately over the past week this has been difficult because of restrictions which we've hopefully resolved."

A text is in from one of our regulars

Lubna, Iraq.
Hi folks, I believe that the Somalis shouldn't count on the international aids,they should help theirselves by themselves,they should learn from iraqi experiment,four years ago,all the world was ready to help us,but now,the world got sick from us and turned its attention to somalia!

Martin: "We interviewed Mr Gedi and he said aid organisationas were corrupt. We found an 40-day old baby lying on the operating table with its stomach slit open."

Abdiqani has phoned in from Switzerland: "I've got my mother in Somalia and my sisters and brothers. They're telling me they're looting in Mogadishu and they're targetting all the men."

Martin: "We took backroads wherever possible. We had to bribe our way. We went fast. Sometimes roads were shut by the Ethiopians. Tye're ex militiamen which are often high on Khat which has now been legalised."

Khadra Mohammed is in Nairobi: "I moved from Mogadishu on the 2nd April. My kids were screaming. Some of my kids are still in Mandera."

An e-Mail is in from Steve:

"How else are you supposed to fight against Islamists? They attack from civilian areas. During the Israel-Hezbollah war last summer, Israel was criticized for attacking civilian areas despite Hezbollah having launched rockets at israeli civilian areas for those very spots. What did you expect israel to do back then? If the islamists wouldn't be so cowardly, and would fight on the battlefield, rather than in civilian areas, these things wouldn't happen."

A question has arrived via text on: +44 77 86 20 60 80
"My name is Devoie from Cleveland. I wanna know what money does somalia have coming in? How does it support its infrastructer?"

Martin: "There's no interest in reconiliation. There are two clans the Hawiya and the Derods."


Tricia in the USA prompted us with an e-Mail on this story:

I'd like to hear World Have Your Say discuss the removal of the Bronze Soldier in Estonia. While this is an emotional issue for many Estonians -- the foreign press repeatedly notes that it is seen as a symbol of fifty years of occupation -- Estonian public opinion is hardly monolithic. Many see this as a unilateral move on the part of Prime Minister Ansip. MP Evelyn Sepp, of the Center Party, has called this "his own private war." Andres Kasekamp, of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute, has noted that this can damage Estonia's foreign relations (though not permanently. And it is clear to everyone that this is a dangerous flash point in relations with Russia.

When I started researching this today I was surprised by the strength of some of the comments on the BBC Have Your Say debate. It seems tensions have been simmering away since the time of the Soviet occupation.


Mihkel is in Tallin: "It's been going on forever. The conflict here is of more a semantic nature. The statue symbolises 50 years of Soviet occupation. Russians see it as a statue of people who freed Europe from fascism. during the past couple of days it's turned into a larger problem."

James is in the UK: "I can understand why the Estonians did not have a good time under Stalin. I don't understand why the British and US governments aren't making a bigger thing about this."

Tatjana Danoka is a Latvian MP who campaigns for Russian-speaking peoples in the baltic states: "I am completely shocked by this decision. We have to influence the decision. This is one sign of an attempt to rewrite the history."

We're back from the news.

Another e-Mail from Steve:

"That's kind of scary that Russia is this upset about the events taking place in another country. There's a HUGE soviet memorial in Eastern Berlin, called Treptower Park. Would Russia threaten Germany economically if the Germans decided to remove this memorial placed there by a no longer existing country? See http://www.lilano.de/catalog/images/Treptower-Park-Berlin_200505DSC1472.jpg"

An anonymous text has come in:
"The have all the right in world to remove the so call liberation monument,they were and still are the new oppressors of mankind."

Tricia has e-Mailed in again:

"Tatiana called the removal of the monument a "glorification of Hitler." People will believe and say things like that because Russia has successfully branded Estonians as fascists and Nazi sympathizers.

Estonia was invaded three times during WWII as the Germans and the Soviets fought back and forth across the country. Estonians fought for their own freedom -- yes, sometimes in German uniforms, but more often in the woods. They were a tiny country that got caught on the wrong side of a battle that guaranteed their destruction by one of the two powers, not members of the Axis.

That said, the Estonian government has done a rotten job over the past decade and a half of allowing those many, many Russian-speakers who want to integrate into Estonian society to do so. And, as riots now continue for a second night, that failure is biting back -- hard. "

An e-Mail is in from WN in the USA:

"I am glad that you are having this discussion casting some much needed light on this deteriorating situation.

I believe that the UN Security Council should act immediately and demand that Ethiopia "cease and desist" and withdraw. This dastardly act by Ethiopia has been with the implicit backing of the USA, both militarily and politically (in the UN). Unfortunately, Kenya and Uganda are complicit too but to a minor degree. This comports with American plans to, one, secure the choke points of world shipping lanes and, two, gain a foothold in petroleum-rich areas (a la Iraq). In the end, I believe that we will see a redux of 'Blackhawk Downed.'"

Martin: "I think the UN wil be reluctant to go in although it may come to that if the TFG collapses."

Ismail Hurra minister of education for Somalia is in Dubai: "The country in general is actually stable and quiet. Definitely the struggle in Mogadishu has inflamed passions. You have to compare this to what has been happening for the past 16 years. There are two views: 1. the conlfict has to be managed 2. the conflict has to be resolved. The government has decided to resolve the conflict and take the bull by the horns."

Naz has called in from London: "I'm from the same reason in Northern Somalia as the minister. He's a renegade. He's a hate figure."

Minister Hurra: "That's a desperate attempt to simply villfy. The important thing is that we have a difficult task to accomplish. The TFG is going to stay the course."

A text from Hisham France:
" What's happening in Somalia amounts to a War Crime. Ethiopia would've never dared invading its neighbour without the active support of the US. They have transformed Somalia into a new Iraq. i'm disgusted by the utter indifference of mainstream western media."

More texts are coming in on Somalia:

"Somaliland has been de facto independent since 1991 and is relatively stable.International recognition would set Somalis a good example."
Rob, Leicester

Somalia is very close to yemen and saudi arabia and also eleteria is there, so is a zone of terorist and any thing is possible.

A tet from Rob in the UK:
"The Red Army memorial in Tallinn was a reminder of Stalinist occupation rather than liberation.Modern Russians need to recognise this."

Martin Fletcher: "The ministers in Mogadishu don't talk to ordinary people, they sit in hotels."

Some texts are in from Africa:

"The war in Somalia is all about helping d US 2 achieve their foreign policy objectives at d expense of d people of Somalia, pls Africans b wise."
Sanna, Brufut The Gambia.

"Somalia's capital has turned to grave yard. UN should intervene."

"The unbearable conflict in Somalia will undermine the effort of humanitarian workers so let both side engage in dialogue to resolve the pathetic conditio@n Somalis are undergoing."
Mohammed, Monrovia, Liberia.

"Why has muslim world given a deaf eye to somalia and Dufur Problem. "
kyomya from k'la.


"That Martinn who is critical of the somalia thinks that war is a game. Ethiopia who had never been colonised has done Africa proud by kicking out the foreign fighters. Please tell Martin to go to Nigeria and report what happened to forein fighter in kann Nigeria 2weeks ago. There will be no resting space for foreign fights in AFRICA. "
A Concerned AFRICAN

"Let us support the Intrim Somali Government to clean up those criminals, barbaric cannibals who were holding Mogadishu for 16yrs."
Ahmed, Lusaka, Zambia

"There is no time 4 dialogue ova d Somali issue. Pipo r dying. Let UN troops b sent 2 work wit AU in Somalia. Lets hv regard 4 humanity! "
Caroline, ZAMBIA.

"I don't think Africans have the political will and capacity to solve the continent's problems, external dependence is what to blame!"
Domician, Dar, Tanzania

"America will not help in Somalia because there is no oil to steal."

"Africa has seen a lot of blood. Can some one stop the US from fighting its battles in Somalia & give dignity 2 human life."


"BBC, Ethiopia is fighting a proxy war in Somalia. But they can't succeed without the consent of Somalis."
Ali, Monrovia, Liberia.

"Oh africa! When at all are we going to learn. Well, as the saying goes EXPERIENCE IS THE BEST TEACHER. WISE UP AFRICA."


"America politically raped Liberia, Iraq and now Somalia. oh America spare us this one. "
ERCHIE, Ghana.

"The US is just all about confusing matters in somalia after its soldiers died there in the 1990s."
ALUMA in Yumbe (Uganda)

"I doubt the crisis in Somalia to finish by now because U.I.C wont stop the insurgency once they're not prioritised." Vamuyan, in Mon.Lib.

"A question for the Ambassador- does the US now accept that efforts should hav been made to absorb the moderate Islamist elements who made up the Islamic Courts?"
Julie, Kenya.

Fauzia: "Why is America involved in this tribal conflict?"

Ambassador Ranneberger: "We're not directly involved. When you look at Somalia - it is a strategically important part of Africa. It's not as if there's some special interest. But having a failed state in the Horn of Africa deosn't just threaten US interests but it threatens all in the region. Al Qaeda were using that failed state to launch attacks - including against Kenya in 2002."

Mohammed is a Somali and he's live on a satphone from The Mog: "The capital seems quiet now. I've seen dead bodies lying in the street. Today was quiet but still the situation is tense. Today the government and the Ethiopians started to search houses to colelct all that they can get. The displaced people are desperate."

Prince Abdi is in the UK has a question : "The US interest is for stabilising Somalia?"

Ambassador Rannebberg is the US man in Kenya: "The TFG was created in Nairobi years ago. They could not exert authority. The UIC filled a vacuum. The UIC did help to establish order for a time but what you had was an increasing presence of extremism inlcuding known Al Qaeda elements. They had support simply by virtue of the fact there was a vacuum."

Achmed is in Chicago, he's of Somali escent: "The Somali problem can only be solved by the Somali people."

Ambassador Samuel Assefa is the Ethiopian ambassador to the UN: "We are supporting the sovereign government."

Fauzia: "Your government sabotaged all the conferences. You created the warlords. You have never allowed the Somalis to do what they wanted to do!"

Ambassador: "Lemme just tell where we stand presently: Our view is the issue should be left to Somalians. It has to be a Somali affair."

Two texts from Liberia and Uganda:

"Somali people please stop killing your brothers and sisters and solve your own problem. Au has become a failue in Africa.Shame on you, Au leaders. "
William, Monrovia, LIBERIA.

"If somalians were christians, they would peaceful today,but since they are muslims who are traditionaly warmongers, they will still slaughter one another as usual."
Jack in kampala.

That's all for tonight folks. good night and sleep tight.


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