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Egal & ‘Greater Somalia’‎

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Tensions In Baidowa After Clashes Between ‎Local Militia And Majerteen Troops

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Mogadishu’s Islamic Courts: A Pyrrhic Victory?‎

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From correspondents in Mogadishu

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International News

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Their Own Agenda For Long-Term Development‎‎



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Food for thought


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Egal & ‘Greater Somalia’‎‎‎‎‎

On Somaliland's 15th Anniversary

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Taliban-style takeover power in Mogadishu. What is next?‎

Mr. President: Thanks, But No Thanks‎‎

Building Integrity To Fight Corruption:‎‎

By Ahmed M.I. Egal

One of the indignities that the reputations of great men have to endure is their usurpation by charlatans, liars and other political ‘has-beens’ or ‘never-will-bes’ hoping to cloak their self-seeking mendacity with the nobility, wisdom and charisma of the great man they have chosen to misrepresent. Of course, these upstarts wait until the great man is dead in order to try to usurp his prestige for their own ends, since they could no more face him with their lies than a mouse face a lion. Recently, the Prime Minister of the erstwhile TNG concocted in Djibouti and headed by Abdul Salat Qasim, a certain Ali Khalif Galayd, engaged in this time-honored practise of mendacity masquerading as insight by opining that the late President Egal of Somaliland didn’t believe in the independence of his country, but was merely awaiting the emergence of a government in Somalia to which he would deliver his nation.

Somaliland’s Minister of Information, Abdillahi Mohammed Duale, who served in President Egal’s government and was party to many of the meetings President Egal had with foreign and local leaders, has responded robustly and irrefutably to Galayd’s lie, thus, I will not dignify Galayd’s fiction with further refutation. The truth of my father’s commitment to the independence and sovereignty of Somaliland is a matter of public record and Somaliland history, well known to its people, as attested to by Mr. Duale. Indeed, we (his children) used to tease him that he loved Somaliland more than he loved us, to which he always responded that he never regretted the choices he made in his life and that if he had to do it over again, he would make the same choices. He was a man secure in his beliefs (political, religious and personal) and this is a mark of his greatness both as a man and as a leader.

What I choose to address is the thinking underlying Galayd’s usurpation of President Egal’s name and legacy in the cause of ‘Greater Somalia’. This is not the first time that the proponents of this lost and discredited cause have sought to enlist the Egal name in its support in a vain attempt to imbue this corpse of a bygone era with a new life. Unfortunately, these proponents of ‘Greater Somalia’ are to be found not only among the ranks of successive so-called governments of Somalia, but also among Somalilanders who should know better. Thus, it is necessary to nail this lie and its underlying rationale once and for all. As Mr. Duale succinctly and clearly put it, the allegation that President Egal was a closet ‘Greater Somalia’ advocate is “…a slander against the late President and an insult to the people of Somaliland.”

However, as a Somalilander as well as one of his sons, I will go further. Even if Mohammed Ibrahim Egal supported ‘Greater Somalia’, it is still a bankrupt construct and Somaliland and its people will never again subordinate their sovereignty and independence to it. Even if Egal was the most rabidly pro-Mogadishu proponent, the people of Somaliland, much as they love him for his part in the independence struggle, would not have followed him to Mogadishu, and he would never have been President. The proponents of this deservedly dead concept of Somali nationalism simply refuse to accept that their dream is not only dead and gone, but that it was never realized and that they can falsely enlist all of Somaliland’s heroes in their cause to absolutely no purpose. Saying that Egal was a supporter of ‘Greater Somalia’ does not make ‘Greater Somalia’ more palatable, it merely exposes them for the liars that they are. The delicious irony is that, way back in the mid-1960s, Mohammed Ibrahim Egal was among the first of Somaliland’s senior politicians to accept that the irredentist dream of the independence era was dead, and that a new basis for Somali nationalism had to be formulated. From this realization was born his détente policy with Ethiopia and Kenya.

What gives a political concept or philosophy currency and traction among people is the extent to which it gives voice to their dreams and aspirations. The dream of ‘Greater Somalia’ rallied all Somali people during the independence era with its promise of Somali fraternity in the face of colonial division. Imbued with the fervor of Somali fraternity and freedom from the colonial yoke, the people of Somaliland delivered their newly won nationhood to Mogadishu in 1960 without any conditions or reservations, against the advice of Mohammed Ibrahim Egal – their independence leader and first Prime Minister. The thirty one years of that union which resulted from their naïve, open-hearted and idealistic embrace of ‘Greater Somalia’ have taught the people of Somaliland the value of the freedom they so easily and willingly surrendered in 1960.

In conclusion, people believe in political ideas and philosophies because they define their dreams and their ethos, not because X or Y espouses them. Equally, people admire, support and follow leaders because they share their dreams and philosophies, and not because they are X or Y. Thus, the people of Somaliland admired, supported and followed Egal not because he was Egal, but because of what he believed in and what he stood for. The supporters of ‘Greater Somalia’ should elicit support for their political philosophy in the marketplace of ideas openly and honestly, instead of seeking spurious credibility by mendaciously suborning the support of dead heroes. Somaliland is today a vibrant democracy where everyone can advocate their political views and beliefs. Let them openly and honestly present their ideas and proposals to the people so that they can support or reject them at the ballot box. The simple fact that they have neither the courage nor the vision to do so demonstrates both their cowardice and their understanding that the people of Somaliland will give them short shrift indeed.

03 June 2006

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