The Matrix equiv. of Aidid's militi
14 Oct 1993 17:33:42

A. Lin Neumann

Here's something you can count on: When an American
official says it's time to help the downtrodden, the
downtrodden better run for cover.
Take Somalia. First, we partly finance a brutal civil
war as a weird proxy fight with the former Soviet Union.
Then, everybody starts to starve. Then,
the news cameras show up. And then, finally, it's
time to send in the troops and the United States to spoon
a little well-publicized gruel into some tin cups all
in the name of humanity.
Terrific. Big PR coup. Except for the civil war part.
Clan leaders and warlords are everywhere and M.F. Aidid
appears and takes his place in the hall of shame, the latest
focus of righteous American wrath, successor to Saddam,
Noriega, the Grenadan socialist, Qaddafi, ad sbsurdum.
Which leads me to the point: first we feed them, then we
bomb them, and then we feed them. In one adventure after
another, America's motives remain pure. We are
only there to help, but when the people we are helping don't
appreciate it, we have to slap them around a little.
So beginning a few months ago, we began to hear about the mayor's "plan" to
settle this thing once and for all. The Transbay Terminal
would be cleared, downtown streets would be swept clean, the
homeless would be "helped". If they didn't want the help
we offered, they could be arrested for sleeping in the park
or pissing in public. Hundreds of arrests were made and
citations issued. The Matrix equivalent of Aidid's clan
militia, Food Not Bombs, was also taught a lesson: Serve food
to the homeless without a permit and you too will be hauled
off to the lockup.



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