One of Somalia‘s most popular comedians, known for his parodies of Islamist militants, has been shot dead in the capital, Mogadishu.
Abdi Jeylani Marshale was reportedly killed shortly after leaving a local radio station where he worked as a drama producer and performer.
It is not known who carried out the murder but last year Marshale was threatened by the extremist group al-Shabaab, prompting him to go into hiding in neighbouring Somaliland for several days.
Witnesses told the BBC that Marshale was shot several times in the head and chest by two men armed with pistols. The gunmen have not been caught.
Of all people to use regularly as comedic material, you are running the serious risk of grim and violent retribution by targeting people who react to the slightest perceived disrespect to their religion by going completely batshit insane. I also don’t mean to imply that I’m victim blaming; the fault lies solely on militants and people like them who are so hopelessly indoctrinated in their beliefs that the only reaction they know involves suffering a mass psychotic break every time the civilized world doesn’t bow to their every whim.
If you want a good example of the harm that religion can have on human psychology, here it is. I strongly suspect that this level of fanaticism and blind devotion was drilled into their heads on a daily basis at the expense of actual, practical education for decades. This only supports the idea that the kind of mockery to which Marshale subjected them should be done on a much more regular basis – and the message to the militants who get their panties in a knot should be: get over it. Until you find a better way of dealing with others, your beliefs are worthy of nothing more than disgust and revulsion.
Meanwhile, not too far away, in the secular world …
On Wednesday Somali security forces shot dead a would-be suicide bomber who tried to attack the venue of a national conference on a draft constitution, while a second attacker blew himself up, injuring six officers, police said. […]
The gathering overwhelmingly backed a new constitution, paving the way for a new government to be elected this month under a UN-backed plan.
Of the 645 members of the constituent assembly present, 621 backed the document, 13 voted against and 11 abstained.
The constitutional affairs minister, Abdirahman Hosh Jabril, said: “This is an historic day – today we have witnessed the completion of a task that has been worked on for the last eight years.”
Given that Somalia has been without a working government since something like 1991, this is a tremendous step in the right direction. Granted, the constitution still states that Islam is the national religion and that legislation is going to be based on Sharia law … but the intent is still to create a representative form of government. In addition, greater liberties shall be given to children – especially in the context of child labor – and to women, for whom abortions will now be allowed to save the life of the mother (and potentially for other reasons). Atrocities like female genital mutilation are now banned under the new constitution.
Obviously when compared to a country in Western Europe or here, there’s still a long way to go … but it is a clear step in the right direction. It’s no surprise to see groups like al-Shabaaaaab getting increasingly violent over the last couple of years in response to seeing their way of life disappear on every front … but from the perspective of anyone who isn’t in charge of one of those roving gangs of rapacious, murdering religious fanatics, that is a very good thing.