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The ICG Report Was A True Reflection Of The Facts On The Ground In Somaliland
"You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has freedom" Malcolm X
“The secret of happiness is freedom, the secret of freedom is courage" Thucydides-Greek Historian
I have nothing else but respect for all those expressing their opinions regarding the political storms, tectonic plate movements and the lingering turmoil in the Horn of Africa. But I strongly believe, disagreeing with others is a healthy undertaking in a democratic society. I will also try my best to refrain from ever attacking the messenger. Having an intellectual and a genuine public discourse is of paramount importance. We will learn from each other, if those on the opposite ends of the political spectrum are having open discussions, where each party can project their side of the story, with candor, civility and cool-headedness. I hope, arguments should also be backed by data, documents or other kinds of back ground information.
I would like to commend the ICG, professors Eqbal Jhazbhay, Ali Masuri, Peter Pham, Mr. Matt Bryden and others who at least, won't shrink from reporting the facts on the ground, regarding this best kept secret-Somaliland. I encourage those who stand for this fledgling democracy, in the advent of a relentless onslaught waged on them by an amalgamation of the old guard led by Egypt and Italy and other opportunistic individuals, tribalists, those who hate democratic ideals, and those who are longed for the doomed brutal era of the recent past.
Abdi Ismail and his brother Ahmed wrote a joint rebuttal on July, 2006, in response to the ICG report on Somaliland dated May, 2006. That rebuttal was high on falsehood, one-sidedness, and partisanship, while very short on facts and figures. it was a heavy dose of rehashed narratives recycled many times by the anti-Somaliland crowd. Last, but not the least, it was Filled with hypothetical theories, far fetched scenarios and too much wishful thinking. One wonders, How come those who kept tight lipped from the unparalleled monstrosity, unprecedented cruelty against civilians and wanton destruction of human life, perpetrated by the now doomed warlords and others, are so trigger happy to attack peaceful Somaliland at will.
Lets us call a spade a spade. Using strongly worded lexicons, spinning the facts and tailoring it to one's own agenda, distortion of opponents positions and intentions is not new. Misrepresenting facts on the ground and the policy of minimization, demonization and vilification of opponents is a tactic often used by those who are either running away from the truth, or have no facts at all.
During the Vietnam era, both the United States military and civilian leaders were spinning facts on the grounds. General William Westmoreland, commander of all U.S. forces in S. Vietnam from 1964-1968, used to give a constant optimistic projection of the war, which became his signature. Some Pentagon leaders used to say words, such as we are winning the war, while the real facts of the war indicated otherwise. They used to call their opponents, the Vietcong, communists and terrorists, while in fact they were popular anti-colonial freedom fighters. Clearly and unequivocally their statements were a gross misrepresentation of facts.
During the long reign of the legendary but notorious FBI chief, J. Edgar Hoover from 1924-1972, civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, scientists such as Albert Einstein, anti-Vietnam war college professors, Hollywood stars and other peace activists were called communists and anti-American. The Omnipresent chief of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover used to call these dissenting voices anti- American communists, and used to create FBI files for them, monitoring all their movement, wire tapping their telephones and harassing them. Hoover-the spy master of all times, was the master manipulator of facts, and a sneaky spinner of concrete realities.
During the beginning of the insurgency in Iraq, following the US invasion of that country in 2003, high American officials such vice president Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld-Secretary of defense and other senior military leaders called the rapidly growing insurgency, Saddam loyalists, few dead enders and foreign terrorist elements. Vice president Cheney said one time at the beginning of 2006, that the insurgency is in its last throes and other pejorative terminology, while in reality the insurgency was becoming stronger and bolder. So it is not new for opponents on the opposite spectrum of a conflict to minimize or disparage each other. It is not also uncommon for those harboring diverging views regarding a certain cause to resort to the tactics of underestimating the other side or minimizing the other side. Most of these above-mentioned assertions were far from the truth. They were ranging from spinning of facts, twisting the realities on the ground, and outright distortion of concrete realities.
In the same token Abdi Ismail, and others choose to spin and distort the facts on the ground in Somaliland. They call the hard working people of Somaliland secessionists which is a far from the truth lexicon. This loaded term is false, because Somaliland was a country which existed as a separate country for a period of nearly one hundred years. Somaliland has voluntarily joined with its sister state the former Italian Somaliland in 1960. That union between the two independent countries was never ratified by Somaliland. The union which never worked completed failed "1991", when Somaliland declared the reacquisition of its independence and Somalia-the former Italian Somaliland fell into a full fledged civil war, which over the years has taken so many different forms and permutations.
Abdi Ismail, and others should have to help Somalia and mediate between the two major antagonistic actors, the ICC and the Embagathi group, who are on the verge of engaging in an all out war.
He needs to focus on this prevailing bitter reality and should not worry about Somaliland, a peaceful, stable and democratically elected government, and stop the wishful thinking and the erroneous predictions, such as dividing Somalilanders into groups, asserting the support of this group or that group depends on certain Somaliland politicians, circumstances and leaders. That is an erroneous analysis which is far from the feeling of Somalilanders. Somalilanders can care less about arm chair pseudo-politicians, and political analysts who are so out of touch with the prevailing realities in Somaliland. What he is forgetting is, Somaliland is in a transition from a tribal society into democratic, and pluralistic one where people can express their feelings in the ballot box. Somaliland has three political parties, a bicameral house of congress. The country has already conducted two parliamentary elections and one presidential election. The next presidential election will be in 2008, at which time, we expect the full recognition of Somaliland.
I wish Abdi Ismail has to meet some of the Somaliland politicians, parliamentarians and party leaders who visited the United States for the last two years. Had he got that experience, he may have second thoughts about Somaliland. The Somaliland he is talking about these days, is the old Somaliland of the pre-"1991" years, when the country was recovering from the attempted genocide on the people of Somaliland by Siyad Barre's forces. So much has changed in this country since "1991". Everything is coming from a mind of somebody, who is so much out of step with the true picture of events on the ground. I wonder, the validity and the authenticity of assertions coming from a gentleman, who completely distanced himself from anything associated with the name Somaliland. I strongly believe, Mr. Abdi is completely in denial to acknowledge the success stories happening in his native country. He is just like a journalist covering a story, without meeting or talking to the protagonists and the antagonists of the story. His actions and behavior is also like somebody traveling at night without a flash light.
I fail to understand how somebody can predict, how people will vote in the future without conducting reliable opinion polls, which themselves are far from being accurate. I am so puzzled to understand, how come somebody can gauge the feelings of people without conducting referendums or plebiscite? The region or people he was talking about is an integral part of Somaliland. Their future goes as the future of other Somalilanders go. Which means, the future of all Somaliland communities is intertwined. The said communities were also part of the indigenous comprehensive Somaliland reconciliation process that took place in Burao, Borama and Sheik.
Abdi Ismail asserted Some Somalilanders were intimidated in those meetings. In my recent visit to Somaliland, I have spoken to so many people, and nobody is aware of any intimidation against a certain group that has ever happened. This particular community he was referring to, was a part and parcel of Somaliland before Rayaale came into the picture. In the same token, they will remain part and parcel of Somaliland when Rayaale is out of the picture. Of course, like other Somalilanders, the majority are satisfied with the prevailing democratic process in Somaliland. They also know, if they disagree with their leaders, they will deal with them through a democratic process called the ballot box. The people in this country reached a political maturity whereby, they will never heed to shrill voices coming from outsiders, with personal or other agendas.
This is a land where people believe in books not bullets. This is a land where people go to the polls and vote to effect a political change, not resort to thebarrel of the gun.
The people of this said land and all Somalilanders for that matter are better off today as a separate state, than the thirty long years they were under a brutal dictatorship and a flawed union. Somaliland democratic process has created a favorable environment, for people to peacefully sent their kids to school, move around freely, without the fear of being killed, kidnapped or arbitrarily arrested. An environment for people to do what they want to do has been created. It is that environment, the great grassroots institutions of higher learning such as Amoud, Hargeysa, Burao universities, Berbera marine college, and all other institutions have sprung up. Nobody would have dreamed of creating such institutions, under the flawed union and the brutal military dictatorship of Siyad Barre. Those groups who are fighting very hard to revive that doomed autocracy will fail.
The peaceful coexistence between all Somalilanders is a sign of satisfaction with the Somaliland democratic system . Mr. Abdi Ismail, and others would have to come up with some suggestions, as to how to bring the long feuding brotherly people of Somalia together in a true reconciliation process.
What they are doing is nothing more than a remote control, arm chair analysis, wishful thinking, which is far from the prevailing conditions in Somaliland. Is there corruption in Somaliland? Yes, corruption is not unique to Somaliland, a fledgling young democracy which is surviving, developing and prospering, despite an unannounced economic embargo and political blackmail imposed upon them by some Arab countries.
Abdi Ismail has participated in all Somali reconciliation conferences, supposedly held to reconcile the warring clan factions in Somalia. He took part in both the failed Arta faction and the now collapsing Embagathi group conferences. We now know that, these meetings were held by Somalia's neighbors to mediate between the warlords and other personalities with shoddy resumes. Most of those conferences were not true reconciliation efforts for the long suffering people of Somalia. Currently, Mr. Abdi has embraced the Mogadishu Islamists and emerging lately as their spokes person and publicist. As charity begins at home, Mr. Abdi, your native community of Gabiley needs your contribution and ideas also.
His constant criticism against Somaliland is selective, one sided, pointed, hypocritical and baseless. In his rebuttal at one point, he said, 1960 act of the union made the Independence of Somaliland null and void. This is a baseless assertion which is far from the truth. 1960 act of union was not a Koranic or biblical document that can not be subject to an amendment or outright abrogation. We know in the first place, the majority of the Somalilanders have rejected the 1961 referendum of the flawed and failed union. In another referendum recently conducted in Somaliland, over 90% of Somalilanders have voted for the reacquisition of the independence of their country. Meanwhile, on top of all the other hardships the people of Somaliland have suffered under the doomed union, the targeted and deliberate carpet bombing and the total destruction of most Somaliland urban centers, by the forces of the former fascist dictator have completely forfeited the tenets of that so called union.
Some facts of the failed union
From 1960-1991, the people of Somaliland have been subjected to discrimination, oppression, favoritism and all forms of abuse. The economic base of Somaliland has been destroyed. All the brightest of their bright went to Mogadishu. The country fall into disrepair and rot. All power was centralized and concentrated in and around Mogadishu. The only University the so-called unified countries have was in Mogadishu. The people of Somaliland completely lost their independence as early 1960.That was the fact of the failed union between two supposedly equal countries of Somaliland and Somalia. Few focal voices with personal agendas or outside interest can not extinguish the will of the people of Somaliland
At the end of the day, the will of the people of this land will prevail over everything else. Freedom is what the people of this country have struggled for so long and paid a heavy price. They will be ready again to defend that hard won freedom and protect it at any cost.
Amicably dissolved unions
1. Czech Republic and Slovakia
2. The former Soviet Union was split into 15 Republics.
3. Egypt and Syria
4. Senegal and Gambia
5. Norway and Denmark
Violently dissolved unions
1. Panama and Columbia
2. Yugoslavia has split into 6 Republics:
3. Eritrea and Ethiopia
4. Somaliland and Somalia
Kosova: The status of Kosova (was not a federal Republic but a former autonomous state of Serbia) a majority Albanian region of Serbia is currently under a United Nations administration. It is final status has not yet resolved.
I would like to sign out with the following quote:
“Be the change you wish to see in the world" Mahatma Gandhi
Msc. Molecular Biology
Msc. Science Education