|Home | Contact us | Links | Archives|
Thanks For UK MP Kerry McCarthy
On last Monday MP Allun Michael hosted a function held in one of the select committees rooms of the House of Commons for the launching of a final report on Somaliland ’s last September Parliamentary elections. The report contained the findings of a team of international observers coordinated by Progressio (formerly CIIR) who monitored the elections.
In last November a group of British MPs led by Julie Morgan sponsored an early day motion congratulating Somaliland on the successful conduction of the Parliamentary poll.
While Somaliland has been officially commended for its democratic achievements by governments such as the UK’s and the US, the EU which actually funded the parliamentary elections failed to agree, at its ministerial level, whether Muslim Somaliland deserved to be congratulated for successfully conducting its first parliamentary poll in 35 years.
A group of EC advisors in Nairobi with vested interests in the promotion of the so-called Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, have been responsible for misleading EU policy makers. These advisors have been propagating that any European debate on the issue of Somaliland’s independence would hamper international efforts to restore peace to the former Italian colony of Somalia . This baseless assertion seems to have been one of the major reasons behind the EU’s recent shift from its policy of positive engagement with Somaliland to passive disengagement.
Having succeeded in convincing the EU to throw its weight behind the Jowhar faction of the TFG, these advisors now aim at bringing the EC’s aid assistance for Somaliland under the TFG control as evidenced by the EU supported “joint needs assessment” project launched recently by the TFG premier Ali Geedi.
Needless to say that the people and government of Somaliland will never accept any attempts at linking dispensation of aid to their acceptance of the TFG jurisdiction over Somaliland. That is why the efforts exerted by the Bristolian MP Kerry McCarthy and her colleagues in the UK parliament to raise the profile of Somaliland within the EU itself couldn’t have been more timely.
British citizens of Somaliland decent who live in Bristol and Cardiff have shown a remarkable dedication to the cause of independence for their original home land. Their efforts to bring the wider British public aware of the legitimate aspiration of the Somaliland people is followed with keen interest and much appreciation here. Let us hope that other Somaliland communities in the diasporra will emulate the actions of our sons and daughters living in Bristol and Cardiff .
Finally, our thanks go to MP Kerry McCarthy and other UK Parliamentarians for their courageous support for the cause of Somaliland ’s independence.
The Latest Hajj Tragedy
Over 350 Hajj pilgrims were stampeded to death and several hundreds were wounded on Thursday during stoning ritual at Mena, a narrow valley near the holy city of Mecca which has been the scene of several previous incidents in the past.
Only several days before the Hajj, 76 people most of them pilgrims were also killed in Mecca when a hotel in which they were staying collapsed. It wasn’t the first time that Muslim pilgrims were either crushed to death while performing the stoning ritual in Mena or got killed as a result of other Hajj related accidents.
Similar tragic incidents have occurred in almost every Hajj Year in the last two decades. In each case, the Saudi authorities blamed the pilgrims themselves for not following advice on staggering the Hajj events so that people avoid becoming bottlenecked at such places as the Jamarat bridge to Mena. But Saudi officials have never admitted the fact that their continuously poor performance in organizing the whole Hajj exercise was largely to blame.
The main reason why the Saudis never accepted their part of the responsibility for the frequent Hajj disasters has been due to the reluctance of government leaders and Muslim clerics in Islamic countries to speak out against the Saudi incompetence to create the necessary environment for enabling pilgrims carryout their Hajj duties safely. While the Saudis should be commended for their new plan to replace the current Jamarat bridge with a more expansive one, however it is critical for the future safety of pilgrims that the Kingdom seeks to substantially improve its capacity to organize the Hajj events in an orderly manner.
Saudi security personnel should be given a better training in controlling huge crowds of pilgrims and employment of nationals of Muslim countries to help in language communication and other organization tasks must be considered.
Though the Saudis have introduced a quota system for the number of pilgrims to be accepted from each Muslim country, however hundreds of thousands of other people sneak every year into the sacred areas. Though a Muslim is required to make the Hajj pilgrimage if only he/she can afford and only once in a lifetime, however it is not infrequent to find among every year’s pilgrims, a significant number of people who had made the journey to Mecca before.
Other Muslim countries cannot be sparred their share of responsibility in educating their citizens on the proper rules and practices of the Hajj as well as raising safety awareness.
It is also a high time that Muslim Ullemma come up with solution for the problem of stampeding which intensifies when huge crowds of pilgrims try to stone. They have to publicly clarify whether staggering the event throughout the day instead of afternoon prayers, is permissible.