Somalis enjoys Beijing Olympics despite continues conflict

  2008-08-25 01:40:19 GMT    2008-08-25 09:40:19 (Beijing Time)    Xinhua

  By Abdurrahman Warsameh

  MOGADISHU, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- "They have been terrific Olympic Games and it ended as spectacular as it started," said Qali Gure, a Mogadishu resident and one of the few lucky ones who were able to watch the Games live in her home. "I really enjoyed every bit of it."

  Somalia sent two athletes to the Beijing Summer Olympic Games despite near two decades of violence and lawlessness that destroyed much of the country's infrastructures including most of the sports facilities which has turned into ruins.

  Although the Somali athletes did not receive any medals but the mere fact of Somalia being represented at the Games was a source of pride for many here so the Games were doggedly followed, albeit mostly by radio, from the Opening to the Closing ceremonies and all in-between.

  Local radio stations have been airing programs about the games since they started and have been reporting all the sports events at the games.

  "I and many others who do not have a TV set or electricity in my neighborhood but I watched both the opening and the closing ceremonies with my neighbor," Abdullahi Nor, a sports enthusiast in Mogadishu told Xinhua. "The Games were really well organized, the ceremonies were fantastic and entertaining."

  Isse Wayel, one of the fortunate Mogadishu residents, was glued to his TV set for the duration of the Games and was following them tenaciously as new legends were made at the Games which he describes as "the best " he had ever seen.

  "These were amazing events where old records were broken and new ones set, Games where everything was perfectly choreographed and precisely planned," Wayel told Xinhua. "The Games were the best I have ever watched and left me with a beautiful lasting impression about China and its people."

  Most of the people in the capital, though, were busy in their everyday worries of surviving perhaps in one of the most dangerous cities in the world where insecurity and deadly violence has been the order of the day for most part of the past two decades.

  However, many say that the now concluded Olympic Games could teach lessons for Somali people as thousands of people from almost every nation on the planet gathered in Beijing to celebrate humanity in peace, harmony and respect.

  "The motto of the Beijing Olympics, One world, One Dream, summarizes all that the Games meant for peoples of the world. We can learn a lot that from the Games because different nationalities can cooperate. We, as Somalis, can then live together in peace and work for the pacification and development of our country," said Yusuf Ahmed, a teacher in Mogadishu.

  Despite their difficult circumstances, Somalis have not been left out in the coming together of the international community of nations in friendship and accord and there were a lot of lessons to be learnt, he said.