In a few more days, we shall bid goodbye to 2010 and with it the first decade of the 21st century. 1st of January will also mark the completion of 2 decades of turmoil in Somalia. It has been twenty years, my brothers, twenty good years. It is so easy to say, yet so hard to imagine. Twenty years ago USSR was still a country, South Africa was still not free and technology, well, let’s just say the telegraph was popular. Children born then have their own kids today. It has been two decades of no country, no home and no flag for the formerly proud Somali people. A generation has grown up ashamed of their own identity. It is time my brothers, to reclaim the motherland.
Somalis have survived, even thrived for centuries in one of the harshest arid climates of Africa. Do in part to these amazing success; we as a people have acquired many traits. We are self-confident, proud, outgoing. We adapt to difficult situations, overcome obstacles and always try to maintain some form of dignity, even nobility. We are industrious in many ways and our famed self esteem is second to none. But we have two glaring weaknesses. First, we have no real attachment to land, location and place. Generations have settled and moved without regard to ownership of territory. We are as much at home in the hawd and the guban as we are in the metropolises of Africa, Europe and North America. This lack of attachment to territory means it is easy and quite understandable for the elite to attempt to control the agenda of the country or clan from the coffee shops of London or the hotels of Nairobi. The only time members of this elite are willing to do something is when there is a direct personal benefit attached. “Come back, we will make you an MP!” and ahaa, Ohio is not so nice after all. “You see the prime minister’s position is vacant” and suddenly Toronto becomes too cold. Anytime there is a vacancy there they are ready to go back to Xamar and live, for a few minutes at least in the open prison that is Moqdisho, under the “protection” of their co-conspirators.
A second and fundamental weakness is we like others to do our heavy lifting. In our villages and towns, we let others build our houses, make our utensils, mend our shoes, mill our maize and sorghum and look after our children. We know how to trade – buy from Dubai, sell in Addis, but we do not know how to manufacture. Now, on the most important issue facing our generation, we expect others to do the dirty work for us. From our cosy armchairs, we are hoping for a miracle to save Somalia. We are hoping, magical spirits will do the fighting and rescue the motherland. We are hoping that we can talk sense to lunatics who have no agenda for the country. One of these mad men just ordered President Obama to convert or as he said “they will launch attacks on the US”. It is time to step up and rescue the nation from almost certain irrelevance. We have talked the talk it is to time through blood and sweat, we walked the walk.
A few, relatively stable clan and national enclaves think it is mission accomplished for them, not knowing that for centuries the fate of all Somalis has been as intertwined as a Persian carpet. I am talking here not just of “Somaliland”, “Puntland”, Galmudug and all the self-styled regional governments that are forming by the day. This also includes the myopic leadership of the Somali community in Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. It is in everyone interest to have a stable, peaceful and prosperous Somalia. Such a Somali mother country is the only guarantee of stability in the wider region. It is only if Somalia is a functioning state that there can be meaningful development in Wardheer and Wajeer. Therefore, it is in no one’s interest to point fingers at anyone. It is in our collective interest in fact, to put our money where our mouths are and work towards the same goal. While our homeland bleeds, its best minds can not blubber from the towns and cities of Europe and North America. They need to pack their bags and move closer home and fight the good fight. Somalia more than ever, needs her people now.
Samatar Yuusuf Ugaas
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