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Memorable Impressions

Front Page

Rayale Urged To Increase Women Representation In Government

Somaliland Seeks Us Help In Battle For Recognition

Somali Students Get US$200,000 Worth Of Books From Australia

Somali Islamists, Foreign Trainers Open Militia Camp

Mogadishu Port Reopened

Somali Taliban-Style Rebels Settle In

TFG To Work With Eritrean Rebel Group

Somali Info Considered For TV Bulletin Boards

Regional Affairs

Eritrea 'Ships Arms To Islamists'

Somalia: Islamic Courts Threaten Puntland

24th MEU Arrives In Africa For Training

African-American Senator Meets Kenya President On Visit To Father's Homeland

Somalis Now Seek Power Sharing Deal

Special Report

International News

Israel/Lebanon: Evidence Indicates Deliberate Destruction Of Civilian Infrastructure

A Year Later, Family Still Searching For Justice

Norway: May Reconsider Return Of Somali Refugees

New Commission Ignores Inequality And Racism

Astronomers Say Pluto Is Not A Planet


China Goes On Safari


The Unspoken Half Of Black Hawk Down

South Africa's Asylum System Is At Breaking Point

Osama Would Vote Republican

Beware, From Mogadishu To Miami Al-Qaeda Now Wears A Black Face

And You Thought It Was Hard Starting A Business In Your Country…

Americans' Ignorance Of Foreign News Appalling

Food for thought


Aids Became A Controversial Article

The Enemy Of The State Is Within

Why We Should Refuse Rayale’s Tour Of Deception

Open Letter to: Speaker of Somaliland House of Representatives

Non-Recognition Of Somaliland A Threat To Core U.S Interest

The House of Representatives: Don’t Just Talk the Talk; Walk the Walk to Save Somaliland

The Guurti Must Reform Gradually

Part I

By Jamal Gabobe

When I was first approached about attending last year’s SOPRI convention I was initially reluctant to go because I thought the program gave too much attention to the internal political situation in Somaliland and not enough emphasis to promoting Somaliland’s cause in the United States, an area in which Somalilanders in the United States are sorely lagging and that they can actually do something about. But upon further discussion with the organizers of the conference, I was persuaded that I should go, and that we would continue the dialogue over there. So I went.

I flew to Los Angeles on a gorgeous summer day. Although I have lived for almost three decades in the West Coast, and have been many times to Northern California, this was my first visit to Los Angeles. I stayed at the Hilton hotel where the conference took place.

Before the conference started I kept running into some old friends. I also saw Sillanyo, Edna and many others of Somaliland’s illustrious sons and daughters. At times it seemed as if Somaliland’s elite was temporarily transplanted to Southern California.

  • The conference was organized in panels, and because of the large number of panels, some sessions were scheduled for the same slot of time. So I had to decide which sessions I should go to and which ones to skip. One session that I had already decided, even before I left for Los Angeles, that I must attend, was Dr. Mohamoud Tani’s presentation on the “The Street-Smart Politician versus the Book-Smart Politician”.

Tani lives in Canada and through the years we have talked a couple of times on the phone, but we have never met prior to this conference. Although he spent many years in jail for his political beliefs, he still keeps a vivacious spirit. I asked him how he came up with this intriguing title. He said: “I knew these two guys in the UK, neither of whom had much of a formal education. They had a friend with university education. One time, while I was visiting them, one of them asked me if I knew the meaning of the word institution. I told him yes, but why do you ask. He told me there is this educated fellow who, once in a while, comes to chew qat with them and that he keeps mentioning this word “institution” and they didn’t know what it means. Not long after this conversation, one of the two uneducated guys became a minister in Somaliland. I began to wonder what do these uneducated people know that makes them succeed in Somaliland’s politics while some of my highly educated friends have failed to secure positions in the government.”

“And did you find the answer?” I inquired.

“Yes,” Tani replied, “These uneducated, barely literate guys, know the society. They can level down with the people. They also work together and have their own networks, which they jealously protect, and won’t let people like you and me into.”

“Since we know where a political system run by ignorant people is going to lead, what’s the solution?” I asked

“The solution is that there should be a certain quota for the educated, a sort of affirmative action, so that they can be part of the system,” Tani said, but before he finished he started laughing, perhaps realizing the absurdity of the idea.

I laughed too. It was indeed an absurd idea, but a situation in which the illiterate are winning the competition against the educated is also absurd, and can’t be lightly dismissed. It must be dealt with, and that was what Dr Tani was doing, dealing with it as a serious problem that needs a solution.

Source: Somaliland Times

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