(Somalilandpress) — For the opponents of Somaliland’s independence, Kenya’s deputy speaker’s visit to Somaliland, specially, the provincial capital of Sool, LasAnnod, is worse than daggers jammed into their hearts. However, for Somaliland proponents, the visit is like removing a blood-sucking leach from their bodies because it debunks countless barefaced lies against Somaliland. As for the deputy, Farah Ma’alim himself, the visit marks nothing more than a fact finding mission; that is, he neither supports Somaliland’s quest for independence nor opposes its presence in one of its provinces: Sool.
Throughout history, a propaganda war caused far more damages than war itself. No war is fought without massive lies, deceptions, and disinformation. From century to century, we reshaped our deceptions, fabricated sophisticated propagandas, and regurgitated the same stale, palpable lies. Hence, for the opponents of Somaliland, recycling old lies and carrying the propaganda torch from where their predecessors abandoned it not only sooths their pain but also keeps them entertained. For them, whether their stories are conceivable is irrelevant; spitting out lies, fabricating stories, and spurring a tribal war in Somaliland remains their main objective.
Take as an example, ever since Somaliland troops dislodged Puntland militias from the provincial capital of Sool region, which Col. Abudllahi Yussuf—the former Puntland warmonger, a.k.a: the butcher of Mogadishu—invaded and occupied from 2003 to 2007, Puntland and its self-nominated representatives from Sool province scream about: countless rapes, executions, lootings, kidnappings, and displacing against the residents of the city, which hypothetically Somaliland troops committed. Yet not a shred of evidence accompanies their lies.
But the recent visit of the Kenya’s deputy speaker to LasAnnod was a rude awakening for pro-Puntland groups from Sool region. Before he left Kenya, the deputy met many of the participants of the recently held meeting by pro-Puntland groups in Nairobi, Kenya. He was inundated with reports of insecurity, brutality, tribal cleansing, and destruction which Somaliland supposedly committed against Sool populace.
He was also told that the 20, 000 civilians from Sool region in the Kenyan refugee camps fled Sool province when Somaliland troops evicted Puntland militias from LasAnnod in 2007.
But what they didn’t tell him was: that no way on earth would the 20, 000 people risk their life and trek thousands kilometres to reach Kenya—don’t forget they would have to go through hell on earth: Southern Somalia—when they could simply join their relatives in Puntland, Somaliland, and in the Somali region of Ethiopia. So where did these people come from? Almost all of them fled Mogadishu in the 90s when the Somali regime collapsed. Half of the 20,000 people were in fact born in Kenya and have never seen Somaliland/Somalia—never mind fleeing Sool province.
Now, taking advantage of an invitation that Mr. Ma’alim received from the Somaliland Parliament Speaker Abdirahman Mohamed Abdillahi (Irro), the Kenya’s deputy speaker decided to visit LasAnnod to see the truth for himself: the fact finding mission. Mr. Ma’alim could not believe his eyes.
The provincial capital, LasAnnod which supposed to be deserted turned out to be a booming city with a huge population. The schools that supposed to be abandoned remained overcrowded with students committed to learn; the prisons that supposed to be jammed with women and children were empty; the lawlessness that allegedly Somaliland created, turned out that in fact Somaliland secured the city for the first time in 20 years where all the security agencies operate as the Mr. Ma’alim himself stated in the following audio clip. http://tinyurl.com/yfdr6zq
He also met hundreds of city residents, high ranking officials, tribal chiefs, civil society, human rights, religious scholars, and women organizations from Sool region. He was impressed with the city and its peace and tranquility—contrary to the disinformation that he has been fed in Kenya. The city which supposed to be destroyed also showed hardly any scars of war. What the hell! Now what?
It is a human nature when the facts overwhelm and refute your claims, there are two options: flee or fight. Now if you flee you accept your humiliation and swallow your pride where you would curl up under your blanket and hide from the public for a day or two; however, if you decide to fight back, you must produce concrete facts which support your claims.
Knowing that Mr. Ma’alim’s is not the typical guy to manipulate and their own lies finally caught up with them, pro-Puntland groups neither fled nor fought back. Instead, they used the classic exit strategy: if you cannot attack the message (the evidence) attack the messenger.
That is, a number of “articles” now surface on the internet, in which all of them attack Mr. Ma’alim’s character, not his fact finding mission. Condemnations came from those who misinformed him in Kenya and from Puntland officials. But none have even attempted to challenged his fact finding mission much less refute it. A case in point, Puntland’s Good Governance and State Minister, Mohammed Farah Isse Gashan found comfort through attacking Mr. Ma’alim. http://tinyurl.com/yk3yjm8
Meanwhile, Mr. Ma’alim, a widely respected leader, among the Somalis around the world, for his resolute opposition to Ethiopia’s brutal occupation of Somalia from 2006 to 2008 which by the way pro-Puntland groups supported, also refused to acknowledge two things: the tribal lineage myths which have brought Somalis to their knees and instating a tribal war in Sool province as pro-Puntland group demands.
During his visit in LasAnnod he repeatedly reiterated that the residents of LasAnnod won’t progress without establishing a lasting peace in their region. Contrary to pro-Punltnad group’s strategy: to wage a tribal war in the region as to evict Somaliland troops from Sool.
Additionally, he turned a deaf ear to pro-Puntland groups’ tribal lineage rants. As the head of the so-called Hoggaanka Badbaadada iyo Midaynta ee Sool , or Salvation and Unification Leadership of Sool, a recently established group in Nairobi, addresses Mr. Ma’alim by stating, “Waxaa kaloo loo qabsaday dadka deegaanka degan waa faracii Daraawiishta ee Awoowgaa Sayid Maxamed Cabdulle Xassan hogaaminayay labaatanka iyo kowda sano, oo la dagaalamayey Gumaysigii Ingiriiska iyo kuwii taageersanaa oo ah kuwa imika sheegaanaya Dowlad madax banaan…or the people of the occupied LasAnnod city are the descendants of your great grandfather Sayyid Mohammed Abdulle Hassan who waged 21 years of war against the British colonizers, and their supporters who now claim to have an independent country—Somaliland”.
And the author in question contradicts himself as he states, “Waxaanu aamin sanahay in midnimada Soomaliya ay tahay muqadas iyo lama taabtaan, iyo in dadweynaha Gobolada Sool, Sanaag iyo Cayn ay ka tirsan yihiin maamula Puntland Isir ahaan iyo Maamul ahaan ba…or we believe in Somalia unity—including Somaliland. The regions of Sool, Sanag, and Ayn (an imaginary region created by Col. Yussuf) are part of Puntland because we share tribal lineages with its population.” http://www.lasanod.com/details.php?num=3369
From the preceding statement alone, one could clearly see that the pro-Puntland clique’s mission is far from building a Somali unity. It is about building a tribal enclave disguised as a Somali unity. And because of these kinds of nonsensical and contradictory argument, Mr. Ma’alim refused to buy their deep-rooted tribal doctrine. Read more about their insidious activities against Somaliland: http://www.americanchronicle.com/authors/view/4458
On the other hand, for Somaliland officials, Mr. Ma’alim’s visit to LasAnnod is equivalent to slapping its opponents on the face, and yet again embarrassing them in front of the International community.
As for Mr. Ma’alim himself, he just wanted to find the facts for himself rather than taking misleading reports from individuals who have not been to Somaliland or Sool province for decades. He neither supports Somaliland’s independence nor does he wants to get wrangled up in the convoluted politics of Sool province in which its leaders are torn between Somaliland, Puntland, and Somalia.
To sum up, so far the pro-Puntland group’s tireless efforts to distort the facts on the ground have backfired. Mr. Ma’alim’s visit finally testifies the peacefulness of LasAnnod city is no different from that of other Somaliland cities.
Calling for a destructive war and fabricating misleading rants while living in foreign countries is far from what the people in the region want. Instead, they want schools, jobs, and a health care system. They also want to attract business communities and Aid agencies to their region. Either join the development of the province or support its residents’ efforts to govern their region as they are doing now. But don’t instigate tribal wars and hate.
Remember, opposing Somaliland’s independence is not a crime, nor is advocating for Somali unity a sin, however; spitting out lies, distorting facts, destabilizing Somaliland, and launching a malignant propaganda campaign in order to achieve unity—while unambiguously building a tribal kingdom—is a moral bankruptcy.
By Dalmar Kaahin, 1 January 2010