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|Giving Somaliland International Recognition Will STOP The Refugee Exodus From Somalia To Europe|
By Guleed Ismail
It is an undeniable fact that countries within the European Union are not ready to take in more Somali refugees to their countries. It is also an undeniable fact that Somalia is descending deeper into chaos and warfare. This will undoubtedly mean that more Somali refugees will head for the shores of Europe.
So, what can be done to make sure that people from Somalia do not want to leave their country in the first place? In other words, what can bring stability and peace to Somalia?
Well, let's see what the options are:
A.--Peace conferences for the warlords of Somalia
Unfortunately this will not work and the record proves it. 12 years and 15 peace conferences later the bloodthirsty warlords of Somalia still have not managed to agree on anything. In fact, for each so- called peace conference they hold, the civil war in Somalia tends to escalate. So much for this option!
B.--A foreign military intervention
This option is not possible since no country is willing to risk having its sons flown home dead in body bags. Somalia has an abundance of weapons, and the militias of Somalia are battle-hardened and ruthless. So any foreign intervention there will fail, unless the foreign invader is willing to take heavy losses (far heavier than in Iraq). So that leaves this option out (unless there is a country willing to sacrifice its sons for the sake of Somalia which I doubt there is after the "operation restore hope" debacle!
C-- Recognition of Somaliland by the International community
This is the only option that can bring peace to Somalia. If Somaliland is internationally recognized, it will be able to invite the important sections of the leadership in Somalia to Somaliland and help them agree to a cease-fire and then a peace agreement. This will effectively stop the need for Somalis from Somalia to run off to Europe and in high numbers. Somaliland has the experience of peace- making and the intricate knowledge of Somali political workings that is so vital to any peace-making in Somalia and between the Somalia warlords.
If Europe is tired of seeing refugees from Somalia wash up dead on the shores of Italy, and if the other European countries with large Somali refugee populations think that they can not handle more Somali refugee influxes to their countries, well then they better recognize Somaliland fast, because the year 2004 will be a boom year for refugee smugglers in Somalia. The civil war in Somalia has flared up again and this time it is in combination with a drought that has led to massive poverty and starvation. So the refugees from Somalia will surely flock to the shores of Europe in 2004.
From the city of Bosaaso in the northeast to city Kismaayo in the south there is nothing but devastation and despair in Somalia. It is bleeding to death from authoritarian rule, extreme poverty, warfare and diseases. This is why many experts on Somali politics are saying that 2004 is the year when there will be a massive refugee exodus from Somalia to Europe. Now that all indications are that the so-called peace conference for the warlords of Somalia is about to fail, the likelihood for a massive refugee exodus from Somalia to Europe is all the more likely. More than 400 Roman Legions made up of natives from Somalia will flee to Europe by boat, by crossing the Sahara desert, by being smuggled in, etc. As long as it will take them away from Somalia and to Europe they will do it.
Countries in Europe such as Finland, UK, Denmark, Holland, Sweden, Germany, Belgium and Italy who already have large Somali refugee populations better think long and hard if recognizing Somaliland is not the best thing to do for themselves and for the people of Somalia and Somaliland.
As things stand now, nobody is benefiting. More Somalis are leaving Somalia, which is bad for Somalia, and are flocking to Europe, which is bad for European leaders! Since the people of Europe feel they have enough immigrants there already. At the same time we see an absurd situation in which a stable and progressive democracy such as Somaliland is being hindered from taking its rightful place among the family of sovereign nations while the ruthless warlords from Somalia are being wined and dined in different venues by the European union. This is not the way to stop the refugee exodus to Europe, nor is it the way to help the suffering Somali people. Indeed, if the status quo continues, there will be more anti-immigrant feelings in Europe and there will be no Somalis left to help Somalia recover from over 40 years of warfare and despair.
There is only one thing to do about anything, and that is the right thing. What is the right thing? Giving Somaliland international recognition is the right thing. It is the only thing that will bring peace to Somalia as well as stop the refugee exodus from Somalia to Europe! This is what Somaliland has been saying since 1991 and nobody has listened. But I am afraid the flaring up of the civil war in Somalia will have to make the countries of Europe rethink the logic of letting Somalia slide deeper and deeper into the abyss! Whatever country was standing in the way of Somaliland's international recognition need to make a complete U-turn and do what is right.
Do it Europe. Give Somaliland international recognition, and in so doing, help yourselves and the Somali people.
Guleed Ismail firstname.lastname@example.org