Many of us live and have raised families outside Somaliland for various reasons but especially since the civil war. A consequence of the war and of people fleeing the country is the difficulty in proving legal title to land and property ownership. Court cases over property disputes are I’m told now prevalent.
It seems that it is not only the peace and prosperity of Somaliland that has attracted the return of diaspora. They return to claim their land and inheritance especially at the prospect of riches from the increased value of that land. That piece of land or derelict building ignored for decades has now become a goldmine.
Greed takes over! The Somali tradition of pride, honour and justice amongst families gives way to dishonour, theft and lies. In the last year alone I have heard so many stories of families unable to move forward morally or financially because of disputes over money, land and property and now sadly I am experiencing the same amongst my siblings.
Another Somali tradition is one of ‘keeping the family secrets’. I believe that it is this mafia family style of ‘keeping family secrets’ that serves to perpetuate and feed the poison running through the heart of so many families. Should we not acknowledge our faults, stop living in the past and expose those in our family that wish to use ‘Somali honour’ as a shield to hide their dishonour and humiliation?
What mediation service is available for those Somalilanders who have limited knowledge of the old Somali traditions or where family elders with the old respected honourable traditions have since passed away?
My father was an honourable highly respected member of the community in Hargeisa and in the UK. Through hard work and integrity he raised the standard of living for members of his family in Somaliland including those who were nomads. With the support of ‘family’ (in the days when ‘family’ meant something), he built a life for his family in Somaliland and in the UK. He was passionate and extremely proud of his country and of his people. For him ‘family’ meant so much, Somaliland meant so much. Unfortunately he died young. He left a legacy and name to be proud of. His sons and daughters have now grown old having failed to uphold that legacy… Because of our stupid infighting, especially amongst his sons, we have failed him and ourselves…. Shame on all of us including the society that allows us to continue to use his name as a badge of honour when we deserve none.
Many of you are probably wondering why the narrator would chose to expose and bring shame on her family. I am weary of the bitterness and the suffering. I’m told it is a shame to talk about ones’ own family ‘Ceeb’ ? Is the shame in exposure or the deed itself?
We are a nation of proud people but when it comes to dealing with family stuff, inheritance, land grabbing etc. do we really have so much to be proud of? Isn’t that pride and misplaced honour preventing us from dealing with the ugly truth?
I hope this post will encourage a healthy debate on the subject to make way for changes in the way such issues are dealt with the focus being put on dignity rather than arrogant pride.