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The Miracles At Hargeysa And Mogadishu. What Lessons Can Be Learned And What Is The Path To The Future?
Elusive peace is finally at hand in both Hargeysa and Mogadishu, two cities that are home to a quarter of all ethnic Somalis. Euphoria about the upcoming good future has replaced recent despair.
Instead of 20 petty warlords, there are now two real authorities in old Somalia – Somaliland with 3.5 million people and the ICU with 4.3 million people out the 10 million estimated Somali population.
The stuff-suits in Baidoa are pretenders and frauds with no meaningful real support and we better ignore them and allow them to decay in the trenches and bomb shelters Ethiopian forces dug for them in Baidoa. A government that needs protection from the people it claims to represent is an absurdity.
The achievement of this peace can be considered a modern day miracle as it fits all the definitions and standards of a miracle. It is a miracle because it was achieved against staggering odds and because, contrary to the political philosophy of cynics, good ideas and good leadership prevailed over brute force.
The Hargeysa Miracle started when the SNM, an unarmed citizen militia of freedom fighters, headed by a capable leader, Ahmed Mohamoud Sillanyo, trounced a well armed military force of draftees and mercenaries in Hargeysa and Buroa, and successfully brought a long and arduous struggle for freedom to fruition, and proclaimed a republic.
The next phase of the Hargeysa miracle transpired when, in a stroke of luck, perhaps a providential interference, or a miracle, the right leader, the last elected prime minister of former Somalia, Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, may god bless his soul, who spent 10 years in a prison dungeon, thankfully re-emerged into the political science, took over the wheels of the teetering republic and steered it to a promised land of a bonafide, albeit unrecognized, republic. The indomitable, Mohamed Ibrahim, returned to his homeland, Somaliland, without wealth and without shoes and transformed a freedom fighting organization to a well functioning modern state, disarmed 30,000 young freedom fighters, set up a revenue system, a budget, a currency, a military, a government, resolved tribal conflicts, overcame the tribal prejudice of former adversaries by practicing compromise and cool headedness. All these he achieved without recognition, UN hostility, and Arab league subversion.
The lesson from this miracle is that competent leadership outclasses foreign aid, foreign forces and domestic ignorance.
The Mogadishu Miracle is more recent. It took 16 years of simmering violence and confusion but the citizens of Mogadishu finally had had enough of the bullies and divisiveness. Koran teachers, not interested in glamour, took over the reigns of leadership and successfully pacified, Mogadishu, a city of 2 million people, without firing a shot. These Koran teachers succeeded where 20,000 US troops, in operation restore hope, two billion US dollars spent by Boutros Ghali’s United Nations, and countless Arab league petroleum dollars, have so miserably failed. The sheiks, who tamed Mogadishu, have achieved, by peaceful means, what they, earlier, have failed to accomplish by force of arms. True believers are now saying that any who does not see the hand of god in this achievement is truly blind.
The world community, Somaliland and the ICU can learn profound lessons from this episode of Somali history.
The lessons for the world community are: Brute force and diplomatic intrigue are not effective tools of rebuilding failed nations. We Somalis are not a race of insane, self destructing homohabilis savages incapable of doing the right thing. We just do not like being patronized and condescended. You can not bring Somalis to their senses by corralling them, like wild animals, under an overseer-tyrant, armed with a whip and sack of cash, but if you listen closely and attentively, to the expressed wishes of the public you might be more helpful.
Revisit your assumptions. Do not get stuck in metaphors of “sovereign Somalia and territorial integrity.” Marriage in upheaval requires a separation period of contemplation and reflection, and that it is counterproductive and dangerous to force angry marriage partners to share a bed.
If the Somalis are rubbed the right way and allowed to choose their own leadership with out interference, without bias and without coercion, they, like all other homosapiens, will build a good nation. Indeed, they are sensible people who can discern their true interests.
Blind support to a grotesque congregation of greedy opportunists, buffoons, criminals, charlatans, con artists, frauds, semi-educated fakes, imposters and other unsavory characters does not lead to a civilized society. It simply forces the public to resist harder and longer.
If force of arms and might can pacify a nation, Iraq would be an exemplary society by now.
The lesson for the ICU is that coalition building, good deeds and patience are more effective revolutionary tools than unbridled violence. These virtues are the tools that enabled religious men of antiquity to overcome the mighty Roman legions. Love and liberty are more potent tools than brute force.
Mogadishu residents have deliberately or inadvertently rediscovered a golden maxim which says that compromise and evolution are superior to muscle and canon. The ICU now has in its ranks shrewd businessmen, astute politicians, genuine patriots, good shopkeepers, pious people, subtle-minded lawyers and grieving mothers, all sharing a common cause. The real test for the ICU leadership is whether they recognize the secrets of their success. Soon, they will have to reckon with subversives, intrigue specialists, slanderers, and many implacable legions of Satan who are dedicated to do their utmost to saw discord in its coalition.. The ICU has painlessly achieved the trust of the masses in the south. Their sincerity will now be subjected to proof.
Lessons for Somaliland. You have tamed the second revolution. You have wisely resisted the sin of vengeances for virgins violated. You have demonstrated to all Somalis and Africans that peaceful acrobatics in debate and ideas is superior to a prowess in rocket propelled hand grenades. You are rewarded in your perseverance. You have matured enough to accept criticism, and even yellow journalism, from free newspapers and did not succumb to censorship. You have mended broken trust within your nation. Stay the course.
What is the current of state of affairs?
All is quiet in southern Somalia. Except for minor skirmishes, the saber rattling has only resulted in a phony war. Ethiopia and the ICU have finally discovered that neither can militarily vanquish the other without themselves becoming consumed in a conflagration. The ICU and Ethiopians are now engaged in a psychological battle of nerves each hoping that threats and pressure will cause the other to capitulate.
Ethiopian generals clad in colorful military uniforms and shining stars on their shoulders face the press and release bellicose statements in the media that: war is imminent; It is an outrage; unbearable; we will crush the ICU. All these are gigantic bluffs designed to scare the ICU into surrendering.
The TFG has become more of liability than an asset to the Ethiopians. Slick warlords who duped the Ethiopian intelligence into this colossal debacle now realize the game is up and are feverishly fighting over the Yuan and dollars the chief war lord recently collected from china.
Shall we expect the Ethiopians to come to Mogadishu and “crush” the ICU in a lightening blow? Never.
Shall we expect the ICU to unleash a blitzkrieg against the Ethiopian army and install an Islamic court in Addis Ababa? Not likely.
Shall we expect Somaliland to give up its hard earned sovereignty and capitulate without a fight? Never
We are in a blissful stalemate and it is better to keep it that way for the present.
So let us use our god-like reason to solve this problem:
1) Ethiopia and US Special Forces currently assembling in D-Djibouti must abandon the silly idea of violently overthrowing the ICU by using Somaliland as a “northern alliance” to be utilized to dethrone the ICU leadership and enthrone a vassal figure head tyrant ala Hamid-Karzi. Somaliland public has already barred their leaders from accepting such an infamy. Somaliland had gone through a grievous civil war to accept a newly minted tyrant.
2) Ethiopia must understand that long term peace between itself and Somalia can only be achieved if republican governments accountable to the people are formed in Somalia. It is unlikely that Somali governments accountable to the people will engage in a pointless war. Of course that requires a visionary leader from Ethiopia and not a master of tactics.
3) Ethiopia must realize that the ICU is not a monolithic radical group but a coalition of groups with varied interests. If Ethiopia desists from interference in Somali affairs, events will take their natural course in southern Somalia and lead to a truly representative government of the people.
4) A common wealth of Somaliland ( former British Somalia), D-Djibouti ( Former French Somalia); and Somalia ( former Italian Somaliland) should be declared and accepted as legitimate co-equals states by the world community for a period of 15 years pending elections of legitimate representatives in the south and the consolidation of peace in the south.
5) A commission of honorable and legitimate representatives, unencumbered by pressure and oblivious to the parochial interests of tribes, is formed to study our recent failures and potential basis for new union. The recommendations of the commissions are subjected to a plebiscite in each of the three nations in 15 years.
This sequential, step-wise, process of reconciliation and reformation is reminiscent of the process utilized to build the EU of nations. It is based on common sense and a sober assessment of realities on the ground, not on theories or unbending dogmas of the past.
This path consolidates the progress achieved to date. It gives time for wounds to heal and communities to overcome their prejudices, suspicions and fears inflamed by evil men. It allows Somalis everywhere to contemplate their shared destiny peacefully, without suspicion, without coercion and with a clear mind. It can only lead to a manifest shared destiny.
Somalia ’s present needs can be met by following this recipe. Security can be guaranteed, health care can be improved, progress in education can be made, and good governances can be developed in a natural way.
If we get stuck in formalities, theories, protocols, semantics, we hall we shall lose.
If we spent our time engaged in tactics of who can influence an Arab sheiks better the other, then we shall fall prey to stuffed suits that are currently managing our affairs. If we think strategically and avoid hastily concocting false, unsustainable expediencies such as we did in 1960, we shall fail again.
The issue of who goes to New York City to participate in a United Nations cocktail party and engage in petty intrigue with other bureaucrats should not be a burning issue and a bone of contention for Somalis. We are nation of 13 million people and have no desire for world hegemony and thus ambassadors are useless. Foreign policy for Somalia is intricately intertwined with the rest of Africa. If an AU with a teeth and a common foreign policy can be built, all Africans can reach the promised land of dignity and respect. Anything less is merely an exercise in petty intrigue.
History and realities are inexorably leading all Africans to a common cause. Future African generations will succeed where the present generation has failed. At this point, all we can do is to secure peace, give the future generation of Africans a leg up in this endeavor, and fade away into oblivion. Any one who does not notice this fact is a homohabilis and should dwell in a cave some where in Africa.
Abdulakdir J. Dualeh