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Somalia: Solutions at the End of the Tunnel
by Ahmed Said
Somalia has fallen into a hole of uncertainty after the collapse of the military government in 1991. The conflagration civil war has taken many colors and forms with devastation to the nation, but surprisingly, in 1991, nobody could predict that Somalia’s chronic political stalemate, bloodshed and strife was going to be endless with everlasting nuances.
In reality, in Somalia, for the layman and the ordinary person in the street, the prolonged civil war has never been and will never be beneficial for them but instead, it is a cause of death to every pillar and national characteristic holding the country together. Indeed, the longer the duration of the civil war, the longer it erodes the basic and paramount structure of the society. The Somali warfare claimed countless numbers of lives and inflicted a material loss of huge proportions. However, nobody can bring back the past to offset the loss of lives and material wreckage but the future is worth thinking about in order to find an answer for what went wrong in Somalia in the first place that until today sow the seeds of destruction in Somalia. Having said that, it is not a good thing to be preoccupied continuously with the past because the only time Somalia can find itself in is the present moment geared up towards the future: in order to solve the problem, you don’t have to think about the problem: instead of asking “what is the problem?”, it is worth asking “what is the solution?”
There is a Somali saying that goes, “Somalis don’t say a false proverb”, which means the Somali culture is rich with sayings of wisdom that cannot be proven wrong: there is another saying that goes, “Wisdom does not come overnight”: it is very clear and without doubt that Somalia needs sound solutions but it is not easy to discover those solutions overnight: potential solutions to the mess should be extricated from the brilliant minds of the millions of Somalis worldwide: and this time, politicians must cease to have the monopoly of the ideas, but every Somali no matter what level they are at in the nation should be given equal voice: maybe how to quell the fire of anarchy in Somalia is not that complicated but it needs a spark at the right time and in the right place by Somalis with nationalism and country love, free from tribalism and bias: we live in the 21-first century and the world is undergoing swift changes in terms of human capital and human thinking: and Somalis are part of the global changes.
It is the human nature to give up in the face of endless adversaries. Somalia suffered so badly. Its people suffered so badly too. It has been drifting towards 30 years since the civil war in Somalia begun. People are tired, displaced and hungry. They need a change, not every change but a change of peace. A change of hope. A change of prosperity. A change of a new Somalia. But it seems many Somalis especially those in the country have not seen a break in the mayhem for a long time. Their faces are full of sorrow and dejection. Their tongues regularly taste iron flavors of death. If you look at them from another angle, from an angle of hope, they are still alive despite the everyday hell they live in. Their stomach is empty and burning, but their bellies are full of pessimism: they feel forgotten by the world. But optimism can crop up if their fellow Somalis with the means to do it come up with strategies to save the country from its fail state sobriquet.
The Somali Diaspora is not free from entanglement with the affairs in Somalia both in the positive form and the negative form. I do not want to focus on the negative form of their involvements but I have the urge to look at the positive side which I think outweighs the negative components of the whole thing: the Somali Diaspora has grown into a very powerful throng in terms of demography. It is a force to be reckoned with. They are scattered in vast territories of the world: United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, just to name a few countries in the Western world. It is quite hard to pinpoint the exact number of the Somali Diaspora in the world: but the unofficial statistics indicate that about 3 million Somalis fled Somalia since 1991 due to the civil war and they are now living outside the country. So, in this context, the Somali Diaspora in the West, the most important one outside Somalia, can be estimated as nearly as one million. This one million Somali Diaspora in the Western world can make a huge positive contribution to their motherland. They can take part in the process. They can create the kind of ownership expected from great people with endeavors to save their country. In a nutshell, the Somali Diaspora living in other countries other than in the West are also a significant part with a paramount role to play.
Once and for all, politicians immersed in the politics of Somalia consist of too many groups, too many individuals with different backgrounds and strategies. However, the Somali politicians are not blameless when you examine more than two decades of ravaging wars and shattering fights. They are still blamed for their chronic habits of selfishness and self-interest. They are like heavy smokers that find it hard to quit smoking. They behave like a bunch of hungry lions always ready to molest the skinny flesh of the country, a country already lost most of its fats of being a country during years of inanition.
The Somali politicians need to change course. They have to look at their dead plans again. They have to set aside their personal whims. They need to drive back to the empathy they overlooked. They have to see the pain of the ordinary Somalis with caring eyes. They have to solve the problem rather than dancing around it.
The Somali women are the backbone of the nation. They are the mothers, the farms from which every baby grows. The Somali women cannot be blamed for decades of violent pandemonium. All this can be blamed on the Somali men and the Somali men should confess their evil misbehaviors that engulfed the country like tsunami.
In order to solve the problem of Somalia, the Somali men should involve the Somali women. If they participate in the political landscape, the women can make a difference, politically and economically. Men need women. It is not optional. It is compulsory. The Somali women should engage in the political future of their country: they should not be guests but stakeholders.
The president, the prime minister and the parliament are the three branches of the Somali government. If I put here a bit of analogy, those branches are like sadex dhardhaar (three cooking stones) that hold up the Somali traditional cooking pot. So that it is very important for the three branches of the government to work together with checks and balances, without one of the branches overshadowing the others. The rule of law must be respected. And it is good news that the Somali parliament approved the new Prime Minister, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed. I’m very hopeful that Somalia will rebound again with integrity and respect in the eyes of the world.
Ahmed Said (Abwaan kuluc) is a Somali American writer based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, United States.