I have read Mr zakaria Farah’s article on hiiraanonline.com and I can’t help responding to it.
Before I proceed any further, I would like to say that Zakaria is entitled to express his opinion on how Somalia should be and whether it, according to his words, should be further geographically divided or not. One thing he needs to bear in mind, though, is that the people of Somaliland are also equally entitled to have their say as to how their future is shaped.
He puts a lot of emphasis on how the union between the British and Italian Somali territories was achieved and who was behind it. It may well be true that people in the British Somaliland Protectorate as well as those in the South wanted to unite and bring the rest of the Somali speaking people under one Somali state. That may have been a noble idea but the truth of the matter is that that dream never came true and the union achieved between the North and the South has failed miserably and resulted in the suffering of the entire Somali people. The people in Somaliland, in particular, have experienced atrocities and genocide committed by the government that was supposed to protect them. This is how the United Nations described the situation in Somaliland then.
In real life, whether it is personal level or state level, we do not normally repeat mistakes that we have made in the past. My question to Zakaria is why should someone in his own mind repeat an act that he knows will result in tragedy? Why should the people of Somaliland go back to a union that they know will fail and why should they allow history to repeat itself? If anything, we should learn from our mistakes and history and move on.
As for the point of whether the union is revocable or not, I would like to remind Zakaria that Somaliland was once an independent country, albeit for a few days, and that there is no legal impediment to its withdrawal from the union with Italian Somalia.
In his article he argues that the fact that we all speak Somali language and we are all Muslims should be ingredient to unite us. As far as I am concerned that argument is a non-starter. If language and religion were a uniting factor then the entire Arab world should be one country. I am currently based in the Gulf and here you will find that countries that form Gulf Co-operation Council are so close to each other that literally there is no cultural, religious and language difference between, say, Saudi Arabia and the State of Qatar. And yet they are two different countries.
Little does Mr. Farah know that the entire South America continent, apart from Brazil, the Guyanas and Belize, speaks Spanish language and that they are all Christians and yet there are so many countries in that continent each pursuing their own way of developing their country.
This tells you that countries are formed not by languages and religion but destiny and the desire of their people.
In the middle of his article Mr farah trespasses into an unchartered territory and shoots himself in the foot when he suggests that political mistrust and maladies in Somalia predates and postdates Siad Bare. Here the author is making a serious mistake. Throughout our history there have been clashes between clans and sub-clans but never had there been wars of the scale and magnitude of that Siad Bare waged against his own people.
Furthermore, the civilian governments who were in power for the nine years prior to the coup that brought Siad Barre to power never singled out a Somali clan and massacred them as Siad Barre did. So, to say that problems that are facing Somali people today predate Siad Barre, is either a blatant falsification of history or absolute lack of knowledge of Somali history and culture. One also needs to understand that what is happening today in Somalia is the legacy that he [Siad barre] and his regime left behind.
Lastly, Zakaria also talks down the democracy in Somaliland. It is true that the democracy in Somaliland is not yet fully fledged as in the western world but the truth is there peace and there have elections that have described as relatively free and fair by international observers. He mentions that there is no freedom of speech for individuals as well as groups of all different political aspirations. Strictly speaking that is not true either as we all know that there is free press and independent television stations in the country. We also know that there are groups as well as individuals who pose a serious threat on the security of Somaliland and the safety of it citizens.
A very important role of any state is to safeguard the security and safety of its citizens and If certain groups are regularly trying to destabilize the country, like the suicide bombings last year, then the government has every right to stop them doing so. For those of us who live in the west we know that the same principle applies in the western world too. So why should Somaliland be any different.
To conclude, unless he is one of the Somaliweyn supporters who like hiding their heads in the sand, here are some facts that he may consider next time before you embarks on another unsuccessful advocacy of that failed union:
The average age of between 65 – 75% of the population of Somaliland is under 30 years. This huge group of the population lived for the past 18 years in an independent Somaliland. Prior to the independence they were probably either in refugee camps in Ethiopia or they were internally displaced within their own country. It is also important to note that the only remembrance that they have of Somali Republic is the destruction and the harrowing experience of their towns being bombed and their relatives being mass murdered.
Now, assuming that the war in Somalia stops this year, which I doubt, it will take another 20 years for Somalia to get to where Somaliland is today. By that time Somaliland will have enjoyed 38 years of independence and a lot will be accomplished in terms of democracy and development of the country. Also after 38 years of independence almost the entire population of Somaliland will have no recollection of Somalia. All they will know will be the Mig fighter monument in central Hargeisa and the history that is associated with it.
Without being disrespectful, my advice to people like Zakaria is get your priorities right and put your efforts where it matters most – stopping the suffering of the people of Somalia – and stop being obsessed with Somaliland.
Guul iyo gobannimo!
Views expressed in the opinion articles are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the editorial
Err… if Somaliland was viable entity, the world would have accepted it long time ago. Stop dreaming and come to daddy.
How pathetic. Kosovo wasnt recognised for a long period of time until recently. Its the same with East Timor. The World is waiting for Zoomalia to stabilise so there could be an official referendum on this issue which Somaliland has already rejected. What you people dont see is that the more Zoomalia sinks deeper into total chaos, the stronger our case becomes.
Oh my god! You have ten fingers so you can say whatever you want! What a 'bad man!'. I suggest you stop hating on Somaliland and go find out who your daddy is. Clown. Though you sound more like a goof I think clown suits you better.
A strong article. Well argued and well presented. I concur with Ahmed Yusuf's main points, in particular, regarding the new generation that have grown up in Somaliland, who have no ties to the dissolved union with Somalia. This generation will not accept their future being held hostage to a "mirage".
To qoute, Mr. Yusuf " Without being disrespectful, my advice to people who are obsessed with Somaliland , get your priorities right and put your efforts where it matters most – stopping the suffering of the people of Somalia".
Rest assured as two sovereign states, there will always be close cultural, social and economic ties between Somaliland and Somalia, but as for a political union, Dream On!
Well written article, late me add one more , whether Somaliland is recognized or not, Somaliland and it's people will never look backward but forward.
Somaliland has existed for 18 years without recognition, it will continue to exist for ever , for those who are shouting or writing nonsense about Somaliand, please, try to unite among yourselves in Southern Somalia, you guys have become a laughing stock in the eyes of the world. Shame on these guys for try to bring Somaliland into their own disaster.
Long live Somaliland and its people.
Good article. These points that you have put forward are exactly ones that I always had in my my mind but never put in writing. If only those ignorant people from Somalia & Puntland in particular would understand that Greater Somalia is dead and its time to move on in separate directions. Somaliland recognition is inevitable. If, when they stabilise and see sense, we can either end up like Ghana & Nigeria and be at peace and trade with one another or we can be like Ethiopia & Eritrea and be in a constant state of meaningless war with another.
Who ever created this website, Kudos to you. I found this article in Google news because I usually do not like to go to Hiiraanonline because of their anti-Somaliland view. It is a pleasure to see in Google News positive Somaliland articles/news. Lets hope that more of our people will take the time to put their view in writing so that we can enlighten the world about Somaliland. Once again thanks to the webmaster and team of Somalilandpress.
I'm happy to see that Somaliland has and can count on you. In the last few years some of our people have become a menace to our existence. We need more of you to give our young ones a good example and future prospects. The somalis in somalia will always be in limbo because of their dishonesty!!! They are doomed to stay that way as long as they claim SL which is gone forever. We really don't need western democracy. We have to go on with our own democracy. The Somaliland way is the only way to the future of our country and its young population. A Luta Continue. Viva SOMALILAND!
Good article and argument, all in all it made sense to me, as for the issue of Somalia and Somaliland, I personally think we should not compare our selves to others whether its the Balkans or EU from the union argument, because all those nations have longer history than us and have evolved over many centuries. I think its not the right time to call for union among Somalis, we have to take step by step and today we should be concern about living as good neighbours and getting our people educated and with education hopefully many sterotypes and suspecious will disappear for good, then it will open the gate for proper union.
Too early to be united. Lets begin things from grass-roots.
Pretty interesting article. I certainly agree that everyone in Somalia has the right to govern themselves, if Somaliland has found a way that works well for them I think that's great.
I've been reading through the website and I'm trying to figure out what part Xeer plays in the Somaliland democracy. How are the Guurtis from the different clans represented in the government? How does a democratic legislature incorporate Xeer? If you have any links with further explanations I'll be very grateful.
A report done a few years back discusses how the Ethiopian government is trying to integrate the different Somali clans located in their Somali Region into their goverment.
It seems there the different clans are still rather sceptical of a central government.
Good luck with your democracy! And don't worry too much about being recognized by foreign states. If Somiland remains safe and the government respects private property rights and can enforce contracts foreigners will gladly come and trade with the peoples of Somaliland and invest in the economy.
hope somaliland gets recognized soon and down with somalia