Me against My Brother: At War in Somalia, Sudan, and Rwanda: A Journalist Reports from the Battlefields of Africa

By Scott Peterson | Go to book overview

TWO

“CITY OF THE INSANE”

Death has become too commonplace to matter. The two greatest products in Mogadishu these days are shooting and rumors: from morning to night they manufacture rumors, from night to morning they manufacture shootings.

-Mohamoud Afrah,

Mogadishu: A Hell on Earth

In biblical times, the three wise men came from the land of Punt with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Such luxuries still grace Somalia's markets, but since the fall of Siad Barre weapons had been in much greater demand than perfume. Gold, such as that plucked from the bishop's teeth, was of value only for the protection it could buy.

Mogadishu's arms markets had grown unchecked since the eve of the dictator's collapse, when merchants quietly took clients aside to inspect their clandestine weapons stocks. Now the market teemed with criminals and self-appointed defenders and excited boys, the whole scene smelling of gun oil and testimony to an all-pervasive gun culture fed for decades by Italian, Soviet, and American “friends.” Here in microcosm was the true wealth of the Barre regime.

This part of Mogadishu had been virtually off-limits to foreigners for well over a year, so I was apprehensive on my first visit in September 1991. My handful of gunmen-freelancers hired by people I trusted-said they could protect me. Strings of bullets of every caliber dangled from the thin frames of shop stalls like chunks of fresh camel meat or vegetables. They shared space with detergent and medicinal roots. I ducked from one display to the next in the narrow alley.

-19-

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Me against My Brother: At War in Somalia, Sudan, and Rwanda: A Journalist Reports from the Battlefields of Africa
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Somalia 1a
  • Sudan 1g
  • Rwanda 1k
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Maps xxiii
  • Part I - Somalia 1
  • One - Laws of War 3
  • Two - "City of the Insane" 19
  • Three - A Land Forgotten by God 37
  • Four - “club Skinny-Dancers Wanted” 51
  • Five - “camp of the Murderers” 71
  • Six - The Fugitive 93
  • Seven - Bloody Monday 117
  • Eight - Mission Impossible 137
  • Nine - Back to Zero 157
  • Part II - Sudan 171
  • Ten - Divided by God 173
  • Eleven - War of the Cross 197
  • Twelve - The False Messiah 217
  • Thirteen - Darwin Deceived 229
  • Part III - Rwanda 245
  • Fourteen - A Holocaust 247
  • Fifteen - “dreadful Note of Preparation” 267
  • Sixteen - Genocide Denied 289
  • Seventeen - In Perpetuum 303
  • Epilogue 323
  • Notes 329
  • Index 351
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