by Hodan Mohamed
I believe the underlying cause of our decades of unrest had to do with scarcd resources and lack of leadership fueled by merciless foreign forces. Poverty is a threat to peace and in the absence of a welfare system that threat is deep and it takes very little to blow it up. Like much of Africa where poverty is epidemic and armed conflict is a way of life, Somalia’s never ending conflict is symptomatic of the status quo in this forgotten continent.
Nevertheless, the struggle in the homeland manifests itself as a tribal one to the average Somali, we’ve old grievances to prove this is the case and call for different remedies but none work. In the case of the North, the solution lies in secession from other tribes, to the Islamic Courts Sharia Law is the answer and lastly, the Transitional Federal Government claims the 4.5 formula as the only panacea. To properly treat an ailment, the correct diagnosis is needed; today we neither have the problem understood nor do we have the right solutions. The problems mentioned above are still with us (scarce resources, lack of leadership and the meddling of foreign forces), paradigm shift is required where the goal is development of the resources in the country from all aspects of life, the right leadership to bring about that goal and the expulsion of meddlers. What is Ethiopia doing in our country when it does not have the affairs of its nation in order? It’s encouraging to see Somalis across the world protesting the Ethiopian presence in our country, we need to speak up, read, discuss, analyze, sort the facts, and become critical thinkers instead of being influenced into groupthink or word of mouth (waxaa la yiri saan iyo sidaas ma ogtihiin) at this critical time on the affairs of their homeland. We are too divided and have fallen too many times. Are we ever going to learn from our mistakes? We are all the stakeholders in this conflict, themes of activism, peace and development should dominate our talk, we need to move from the status quo to one of… as the late John F. Kennedy put it “Ask not what your country can do for you but ask what can you do for your country”? Enough is enough let us forgive and forget the past and plan for the future.
It’s important to ask ourselves: If the TFG is a reality then what is our plan? We have only ourselves to blame for not providing an alternative to the TFG. Although many capable Somali leaders are out there they just don’t seem to mobilize, in fact, they’re busy at pointing the finger at either what isn’t working or discrediting each other. Mahatma Gandhi said ““You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Somalis including those in the North need to rally for the common-good, and demand the TFG from better governance. Governments are not the be all and end all of nations, the people are, we elect governments to work for the people and if they fail to work for us then we withdraw our support and vote them out of office. The best we can expect from TFG is restoration of security, basic services and an environment where fair elections can take place in 2009. Somalis with leadership skills and a vision for the country can assemble and form sincere parties to take part in the elections.
The so called “Somalilanders” need to give up their unrealistic dreams for legitimate fiefdoms and join their brothers and sisters in building this potential prosperous nation. All Somalis are grieving from some form of injustice or another and only God can heal that and remember the silent majority wants unity and peace. D. Riyale Kahin can ask to serve as the Governor until the election, we all know Somalis don’t need another flag or a leader as long as they’re penniless, as a matter of fact too many men are unemployed than working in the North just like their counterparts in the rest of country. Unemployed men are a ticking bomb and we need to think of this element. Somalis wherever you are say NO MORE to tribal fiefdoms, warlordism, male egotism, corruption, spoilers, political sabotages, khat, senseless deaths and killings.
The future is not hopeless…we have rich marine life, fertile lands, livestock, potential oil industry, wonderful climate and the best hospitable people in the world. However, the country is bleeding for reconstruction in all aspects of life from running water to electricity; roads to sewer systems; shields from river floods to hospitals and schools. If we all take part in the rebuilding process, we can all benefit as long as we conduct ourselves humanely in the process. We must move beyond our immediate need for gratification and see this as a long-term endeavour that our children and grandchildren could inherit so it’s imperative that we plant good seeds so they bear good fruits.
The list that needs doing is enormous and I challenge all of you to organize and raise funds to build your towns and cities respectively. If you’re the one of those people who delegates their money to their “Garaad, Suldaan or Ugaas” make sure you hold them accountable and demand to see the fruits of your labor so it’s never misappropriated for unintended causes that could harm our goals for peace and development. If you’re a dreamer but all you do is “fadhi ku dirir”, I suggest you turn that into mapping out business ventures such as investments in the tourism industry in our thousand plus kilometer beaches, how about resorts and theme parks? Why not real estate ventures or the first ever rail road system? The sky is the limit if you have a discipline and drive, imagine the employment opportunities these can yield and the tax revenues the government can generate to hopefully invest in building the infrastructure and social programs.
I hope Somalis will realize their power and create an environment where Somali men can hold a decent paycheck instead of an AK 47; women will never sell Khat or other drugs so they can feed their offspring; children will carry books to school and go on for field trips to historic places like Biyo- kuleel, Buurhakaba, Naasahablood or Merca…. Likewise, we will stop labeling the uneducated “badow, dhoore, reer baadiye, galow and so forth” and instead think of what you can do to help them get education. If we work together we can reverse if not make history our current frightening rates of Malaria, Tuberculosis, Infant Mortality and our short life expectancy of middle forties.
Our answers lie in a healthy economy where all can participate, the rest will take care of itself. May God bless this nation and its people.