On one of his recent radio shows, a popular Somali comedian ridiculed commanders of a ruthless Islamist insurgent group that is notorious for forcibly recruiting boys into its ranks and making them fight.
“Hey young boys, you can’t move back from the enemy shelling ... instead just stay there and fight,” the comedian said, taking the role of an al-Shabab commander speaking by phone to his youthful troops from an oceanside spot, far from the front lines
Such ribbing may have cost comedian Abdi Jeylani Malaq his life. On Tuesday, the 43-year-old Malaq was shot dead near his home in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, by two young men suspected of belonging to al-Shabab, a group that pledges fealty to al-Qaida.
The targeted killing sparked calls for investigations into his death.
Many in Somalia will miss Malaq’s ability to make them laugh as they try to overcome some 20 years of conflict.
The reason why the Left has so many (maybe too many) great comedians (Jon Stewart and so on) and the Right has so few (if none at all—think of Red Eye), is because comedy in its essence is subversive. Power hates those who have access to the disruptive/destructive energies of laughter.