User talk:Pieter Felix Smit

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July 2011[edit]

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You said that "Only when WFP refused buying local food (on dubious grounds, partly under perceived pressure from US) , they banned the existing operations. 3. Now that local food production can not cope due to drought, Shabaab lets WFP back in." Do you know of any relevant and reliable source? JimSukwutput 04:21, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

Hello, what about contemporary slavery as often being explained of being part of African cast system?[edit]


The page about African cast system is messed up geographically, and some cases of contemporary slave-ownership is (maybe justifiable because many don't see a fundamental difference)also listed in this page. So I also added the Somali Bantu, often treated as slaves or worse.

In the talk-page I explained the dilemma / dis-ambiguity surrounding caste- system and slavery.

You just tossed out my Bantu-contribution. Do we then also toss out the Bellla and gatherer-hunters in north Kenya? (That is also pure slavery) And do we start with explaining the (Disambiguity between) the two concepts, and where each is treated in Wiki?

If not, I propose we stick to the in Africa often found habit of mopping together contemporary slavery and caste system. And as a consequence reinsert the Somali Bantu's at the bottom (slave) end of the Somali cast system.

You wanna do it?

Also, I find it a bit unsettling to read the use of absolute terms to uncritically describe people's situation in a cast system or a slave-ownership relation. There is nothing absolute about it, it's a human creation that deserves to be explained in a way that people feel it might also be ended or changed for the better.

Could you improve the text with that in mind?

Would we also want a section about the socio-economic impact of African cast-system and slavery? I would need to re-read academic stuff for that, happy to do it, but not if it gets tossed out.

Cheers and thanks for all the work, Pieter.Pieter Felix Smit (talk) 22:12, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

Hello. Bantus are not part of the ethnic Somali caste system. They were part of the local slave system, an altogether separate institution. The Somali caste system is an ancient system of social stratification that long preceded the arrival of most Bantus in Somalia. It also only involves clans within the Somalis' kinship system, which is by definition exclusive to peoples of Cushitic extraction. Besides the noble Somali clans, that includes occupational clans like the Midgan and Yibir. It does not include Bantus, Bajunis, South Asians, Europeans, and other non-Somali and non-Cushitic ethnic minority groups residing in the country. This Somali caste system is but a local version of a larger system of social organization typical of the Afro-Asiatic speaking peoples in Africa; one where the occupational clans (e.g. blacksmiths, shoemakers, barbers) for whatever reason occupy a lower standing in the social order than do the noble pastoralists, and are thus deemed "outcaste" or "low-caste" clans. Such a peculiar caste system is not typical of Bantu peoples, including the ones in Somalia. You are perhaps confusing the caste system with the separate practice of adoption (shegaad), wherein non-ethnically Somali individuals are sometimes nominally assimilated into the Somali clan system, but often on a subordinate basis. The actual "caste groups", however, remain the Cushitic noble/high-caste and occupational/low-caste clans cited earlier, not the ethnic minority groups (c.f. [1], [2]). Best regards, Middayexpress (talk) 16:54, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Hello Midday Express, Thanks for your reaction. One Somali guy I worked with in (Northern) Somalia, three years back, told me a version of the founding myth of the Somali people. It was that when the founding father of the Somali people arrived from the Saudi peninsula with his seven sons (There is still a Mosque near Borsaso, marking the location of this landing) they all married local Bantu-women. One son was already darker skinned, because that son was not from his proper wife, but from one of his female slaves. But in accordance with Mohammed's wishes, he was given full son-status. This last son fathered the Bantu-group, says the myth. Only because the Bantu's have different bodies, and because they can resist the mosquito's, they specialized in agriculture. It was told to me in a crowd of Somali, non of whom objected to any bit of the story. It taught me that: 1. Somali's accept there were already Bantu people when they started arriving, (confirmed by archeology) 2. Bantu's share founding ancestors with 'cast' Somali's, and are hence part of the family. (Confirmed by gene analysis.) 3. Although their low status places them below or at the bottom end the cast-stratification, they ARE part of the system, simply because there is a collective feeling amongst traditional Somali clan leaders, that they have the right to tell them weather or not they are good Muslims, to tell them to do lots of work for no reward at all for them, and that they have the right to tell them which economic and political activities they are allowed to do or not.

Bantu's, in the cast-system, are (at least rurally in the vision of many traditional leaders) 'owned' by cast-Somali's. Including their farm land, their sexuality, even their kids. The problem that Somali's have with this construction, is that many know that Mohammed tried to end or at least phase out slavery. So (like everywhere else in the Sahel-Sahara area) often they deny there is a link between the 'cast-Somali's' and the Bantu's. Or they claim that Bantu's are no Muslims, and therefore not part of the system. Or they claim there is only a commercial protection relation. (Bantu's paying with food products or manual labor for safety, as if they can freely choose by which clan-lord they want to be protected.)

While the inequality between the different Somali 'castes' is getting less absolute, the biggest heritage of the Somali caste system, is that it DEFINES what Bantu's are, and therefore which rights they have and not. Your reaction to my previous suggestion is a perfect example of that. (See here.)

By denying that Bantu's deserve at least being mentioned and explained in the 'caste system' in Somalia, you miss a change to explain a very intense, dominant and often murderous social relation that is in almost all aspects linked to, and justified from within the cast system in the narrow sense.

Do you still think there is no ground for mentioning them? Pieter Felix Smit (talk) 10:40, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Hi. While your post is interesting, I'm afraid there are a lot of basic inaccuracies with it.
First, Somalis have no relations with any "Sahel-Sahara" groups, so no point in using them as a model on Somali relations.
Second, Somalis as a whole do not claim descent from the Saudi area. Only the Sheekhaal and related Harari people do, as they trace descent from one Sheikh Abadir Umar Ar-Rida, who written records confirm emigrated from the Saudi region in the 13th century to eastern Ethiopia. His tomb in the region is still a popular place of pilgrimage.
Third, there is no single founding father of the Somali people and he most certainly does not have a tomb in the Bosaso area. There's a bipartite cleavage between the noble northern clans and the southern Sab or Rahanweyn, both of whom nominally assert paternal descent from noble Arabian families (c.f. [3]). Despite this, few Somalis actually consider themselves Arab; please see here for an explanation of this apparent contradiction.
Fourth, no ethnic Somalis traditionally acknowledge common descent with Bantu peoples. Bantu women and men do not figure at all in any Somali genealogies (see, for example, this website exclusively devoted to Somali abtirsi or genealogy). In fact, for better or worse, Somalis and other Cushitic and Semitic speaking people in the Horn traditionally regard Bantus and Nilotes as belonging to a different race. Thus, Somalis refer to Bantus and Black Africans collectively as jareer, which in common usage is basically equivalent to "Negroid". Somalis contrast themselves as jileec or bilis.
Fifth, Bantus do not share founding ancestors with Somalis (both high and low caste), nor has this been confirmed by genetic analysis. In fact, the opposite has been demonstrated [4]:

"The time of the eastbound Bantu expansion was estimated to be 3400plusminus1100 years ago.24 Bantu populations have high frequencies of E3a haplogroups.4 We have observed only a few individuals with the E3a haplogroup in our Somali population, thus, supporting the view that the Bantu migration did not reach Somalia.42 It has been suggested that a barrier against gene flow exist in the region.43 The barrier seems to be the Cushitic languages and cultures to which Somalis belongs. The Cushitic languages belong to the Afro-Asiatic languages that are spoken in Northern and Eastern Africa. The Cushitic languages and cultures are mainly found in the Somalis and the Oromos, one of the two main groups inhabiting Ethiopia.44, 45, 46. The Somali and Oromo languages have a high degree of similarity and the two populations share many cultural characteristics. The Somali and Oromo people live in clans with special patterns of marriage and the Somali and Oromo people have complex, interwoven pedigrees."

Sixth, archaeology has likewise not confirmed an ancestral Bantu presence in Somalia. Old records and oral tradition have, by contrast, pointed to a Bushman presence, who are a different people from Bantus (physically, linguistically and culturally). Modern descendants of these early Bushmanoid inhabitants that still reside in the Somalia region include peoples like the Eile, the Wa-Ribi and Wa-Boni, all of whom are traditionally hunter-gatherers, not farmers like Bantus. Somalis regard these hunter-gatherer groups as jareer as well and many of the latter have assimilated into Bantu communities, but that doesn't make them of Bantu origin.
Seventh, Bantus are not a part of the ethnic Somali caste system any more than are the other ethnic minority groups in the country. This is because a) they're not ethnic Somali or regarded as such, b) they're not Cushitic either or regarded as such, and c) the caste system was already in place centuries before Somalis first made contact with Bantus. Bantus were part of the recent slave trade in Somalia, which is a separate institution. That's why they're discussed on the relevant African slave trade article [5]. Many Bantus have also retained their southeast African matrilineal tribal structures specifically because they've been excluded from Somali society. That's their main and original form of social organization, not the patrilineal Somali/Cushitic clan system.
Please refer to the following resources for a more complete discussion of the Somali vs. Bantu dynamic: [6] and [7]. They should help toward correcting some of the other misconceptions that you may have. Best regards, Middayexpress (talk) 18:32, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Al Qaeda and Shabaab split up, with Al Qaeda leaving Somalia?[edit]

Hello Middayexpress,

I hear since about halve a year that Al Shabaab's international leaders and brigades are increasingly alienating themselves from national brigades and their leaders. And that that leads to mistrust, with since a few weeks international fighters leaving majority national brigades, with boatloads of them leaving the country altogether for Yemen. I didn't put it in because no external sources, until I saw confirming messages: (About one Shabaab-commander thrown out, taking a thousand soldiers with him.)

And the repeated the claim by the Somali Ambassador in Yemen, that 500 Shabaab-guys had entered the country. [1]

I hear from people in Afgoye and Nairobi, (and it's highly logic) that most of the fighters leaving for Yemen are internationalistas. Shabaab is not temporarily helping out their neighboring terrorists; they know that it's unlikely they a few months from now they will have any bit of Somalia to return to.

Shebaab is falling apart into a shrinking and cornered international brigade around Kismayo, largely evacuating Somalia, and a coalition of national brigades, who apparently refused to accept even the renaming of Shabaab into Al Qaida in East Africa. These Shebaab-proper groups want (from all I heard about them during the past half year, confirmed by comments From Cheick Aways a few months ago, and congruent with older first hand reports through my network) to focus exclusively on national issues, mainly focusing on what they consider un-Islamic abuse of power by everyone else in their country. So the whole picture now shifts dramatically: Al Qaeda largely leaves Somalia, Shebaab remains as a force that poses little or no international threat. (Apart for the African soldiers in and around the capital.)

Can you process the info from the two links better then I did? And shall we put a few lines about Shebaab splitting up with the wildest bunch in the process of leaving the country?

There might be one pull-factor from Yemen: AQAP, according to one friend of me in Nairobi, is fearing the transit of power in Yemen, because Saleh was secretly allowing them to operate there, while his successor might discontinue this policy. Therefore, AQAP is fearing to be ousted from the birth-country of most of its top leaders, the only country where they could walk around freely. That's maybe why they called in the Somali internationalistas, through first formally integrating Shabaab into Al_Qaeda. But anyway, this consolidates Al Shabaab-Qaeda's loss of territory in Somalia, with Al Shabaab-national not likely inclined to allow most of the wild bunch back in. But all that is pure speculation, for now.

Cheers, Pieter Felix Smit (talk) 22:10, 20 February 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pieter Felix Smit (talkcontribs)

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Hello. It is doubtful that Sheikh Aweys would renounce Islamism in any serious way since he was one of the first to introduce that ideology to Somalia. Long before the ICU or its splinter groups were formed, he led Al-Itihad Al-Islamiya in the early 1990s. At any rate, neither the Longwarjournal link nor the other Mareeg link [8] indicate that the group's operatives that relocated to Yemen are internationalistas. They just indicate that 500 Al-Shabaab militants fled to Yemen, so that's what we state per the original research policy. It also isn't necessarily obvious that those operatives would a priori be foreigners since Somali mujahideen served as foreign operatives a few years back during the Lebanon conflict; so there is a precedent in that regard. Al-Shabaab does seem to be falling apart, though. Best regards, Middayexpress (talk) 17:39, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Direct Exchange in Europe[edit]

Hello Pieter: can you provide references to DX geothermal being banned in some Euro countries? I have often heard this claim in France and, here, it is false. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wrgj (talkcontribs) 15:11, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Cheick Aways renouncing islamism?[edit]

You'r right on no reliable source about which type of Shababs going to Yemen.

Anyway, appearantly still many dozens, possibly hundreds of internationalistas remained, their autonomous movements and actions (and drone landings) reported several times.

What I heard is that Aways (supported by Robow and some of the commanders of Shabaab national militias) took the lead in trying to convince Shabaab that they should not launch attacks in other countries from Somalia. So yes, he will remain a national Islamist in the sense that he wants to replace the Somali clan-system, the warlords, the Somali government and their foreign supporters with some from of Sharia.

But he is scared for drones, and he calculated that bombs in Kampala and Nairobi brought more foreign troops.

Aways was shaped by Siad Barre's special barrets mass killing half of the sub clans in central Somalia in the 1980's. He barely survived, and ever since, his focus has always been and still is on fixing Somalia.

His problem is, that he needs a number of non-Somali Islamists in his movement to prevent that Shabaab will be torn apart in clan factions, as happened in Al Itihad-time and in the beginning of the Islamic Court Union. But many of those internationalistas are wild boys, who often care not much about Somali lives, and want to pick fights with 'Christian' countries all over the world.

So his quite cunning calculation is, that if he can convince the whole of Shabaab that Somalia should not be an internationalist terrorist launchpad, then he hopes that the wildest internationalistas would get bored and go. Which would solve two problems: getting drones out the sky and getting Shabaab to focus on fixing Somalia.Pieter Felix Smit (talk) 18:44, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Needless to say, there are a lot of inaccuracies in your post. At any rate, the Shabaab militants who fled/moved to Yemen were apparently from different backgrounds, like the group itself; they also included Somalis (c.f. [9]). Regards, Middayexpress (talk) 02:19, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

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