By Mohamed Ibrahim
In the course of the last seven years, I have observed and wrote a lot about the subject of Somalia and Somaliland much to the like and dislike of both camps. It is been an interesting journey because as I sit ringside of both sentiments. I saw some get excited once I endorse their views and vice versa. I learned here that there is less space for tolerance and each side wants to live in their own echo chambers. I can sense the challenge before you all.
In this historic opportunity for dialogue between Somalia and Somaliland, the time has come to reach an amicable settlement that will settle this thirty years old dilemma. You are all governing societies and political classes plighted by mistrust and poverty who exhibit post-conflict traumas, quick to judge with understandable emotions. It may feel like a mountain but leaders of unwavering courage and vision can help the shift the shape of such a mountain towards a better future.
It has been thirty years and the Somali people across the world are tired of this on-going saga. Our people are desperate for solutions that will better their lives and aspirations. They live ina resourceful country with untapped riches but are yet languishing at the bottom of each league table on health, employment, security, and education. It does not have to be this way.
The US, EU, and other Somalia’s partners in Djibouti who have spearheaded these discussions are driven by core national and economic interests. Somalia is one of the last untapped resources available to the world, hence the diplomatic head-banging. While I respect their commendable leadership on this matter, I must remind you all that it is not done out of love for Somalia. Somalia is out of the containment and isolation policy that plighted its future for many decades and Turkey must be congratulated for shifting global policy attitudes towards our resources and our joint future. We have entered the world of realism and there is no going back.
As leaders who have unique history and identities along this tumultuous period in our history, you both have huge political capital. If you cannot sale Somali unity to our people far and wide, it is my considered view; nobody is well placed and can fulfil these aspirations to our wary Somali societies across the world. It is therefore an opportunity of historic proportions. To borrow Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s words slightly, it is the right time to Get Unity Done. He picked a difficult divisive subject, sold it to the people of the United Kingdom because he had the courage, charisma, and leadership to bulldoze his country’s way out of the European Union.
The mountain that faces Somalia and Somaliland can be moved. It requires honesty around difficult issues and courageous leadership and vision that can see through the walls of pessimism, rhetoric, and history. We are all encouraged by this on-going dialogue- it must be beyond partisan and one term politics. It must respond to the aspirations of all. In every society, leaders set the temperature of the debate and direction of travel. Seize this opportunity for us all – a future beyond conflict and poverty, one of peace and prosperity.
It must be beyond (Walaalnimo) brotherhood sentiments – because Djibouti is also our brothers/sisters but remain a different country. It must be anchored by pragmatism and practical policy measures. It is time for statesmanship and statecraft.
Below are my recent relevant pieces on HOL on the subject of Somalia and Somaliland.
- President. Farmaajo’s Somaliland’s Policy is Clueless – Reactionary at Best
- Somaliland: Exhausted Consensus? North/South Divide? Opportunity for Meaningful Dialogue
- Kulmiye Party, a Continuation of Chaos and Stagnation in Somaliland?
- Somalia and Somaliland, Trafficked Reconciliation is a Political Delusion
Mohamed Ibrahim BA/MSc, London School of Economics and Political Science, is a London based, UK, Social Activist – He can be reached via @Mi_shiine Email: email@example.com