|Home | Contact us | Links | Archives | Search|
Interview with Mrs. Maryan Ibrahim Abdi, chair of Somaliland Heritage
“Somalilanders Are Confident That, It Is Just A Matter Of Time And The Country Will Gain International Recognition” chair of Somaliland Heritage
Elie B. Smith
Pari, France, June 08, 2007 – Somaliland Heritage is a non profiting making organization created under the 1901 French law on associations. The headquarters of the organization is based in Paris, France, but she has offices in London, UK and in Hargeisa in Somaliland. Before the Press conference organization organized by the Paris based organization, I spoke with the pioneer chair of Somaliland Heritage, Mrs. Maryan Ibrahim Abdi.
What is the Somaliland Heritage?
Mrs. Maryan Ibrahim Abdi: the primary objectives of the Somaliland Heritage ( SH) is to help in the promotion of Somaliland cultures and also help in the protection and conservation of the material and immaterial heritage of Somaliland. As you know, Somaliland is a de facto sovereign nation that is ironically not recognized by the international community.
How can you then pretend to realize such a project for a country that is not recognized?
Mrs. Maryan Ibrahim Abdi: it is certainly not going to be easy. But at the same time, the fact that Somaliland is not yet recognized by the international community, does not mean they hate us. They know what they are doing and also know what Somaliland has done and are still doing. However, I suspect that, the international community is overwhelmed with the situation in our neighbor to the south. I am talking about Somalia. Whenever the international community would have found out a solution in Somalia, they will then turn their attention to Somaliland. After all, we are much more democratic and at peace with ourselves than most of our neighbors.
In other words, Somalilanders are happy with their state of non recognition?
Mrs. Maryan Ibrahim Abdi: Please don’t misinterpret me. Somaliland has well defined borders that were inherited from colonialism; they have their national currency ( Somaliland shilling), national language and a clearly distinct history. Somaliland is stable and democratic with all the attributes of a sovereign state. But short of international recognition, what else does the international community want?
You sound a little exasperated.
Mrs. Maryan Ibrahim Abdi: why should I be? I will like to inform you that, Somaliland is a contradiction, a positive contradiction. This is perhaps the only country in the horn of Africa or even east Africa that has succeeded to blend local African tradition based on clan elders with western democratic values and it has been working well. The proof is that, for 16 years, we have not only regained all our borders, as they were when we got our independence from Britain, we are at peace and proudly democratic. Our elections were not only supervised by the European Union and the African Union, they were financed by the European Union. I brought in this to inform and also show you and others that, Somaliland is not at odd with the international community and in particular, the African Union.
You seem confident, but also some how philosophical. Is there not some crisis somewhere?
Mrs. Maryan Ibrahim Abdi: What crisis. Somalilanders are confident that, it is just a matter of time and the country will gain international recognition. Even though the international community has spent $ 4 billion in various peace talks in Somalia of which we have never been associated, is that an indication of our international acceptability? Somaliland is fine and strong. If not, Somaliland Heritage won’t launch what we are doing. Somaliland is solid and democratic and she is above all a sort of laboratory for Africa and the world.
What do you make of those who say the African Union, instigated by some African nations do not want Somaliland to be recognized?
Mrs. Maryan Ibrahim Abdi: Mr. Smith, you are focusing on politics and you have ignored what brought you here, which is about culture. But, I will want to repeat that, Somaliland is enemy to nobody, countries or organizations. The EU has financed our elections; the African Union has send observers to monitor our elections. Does that sound as though things at that terrible as you seem to see them? Yes, we are aware that, African countries such as Egypt, Libya and recently Sudan are alleged to be the ring leaders against Somaliland’s recognition within the AU. But some of those countries did recognize Somaliland’s independence on the 26th June 1960 and this for six days. I see the process that Somaliland is in as a gradual process and there is no going back about it. The Somaliland Heritage will like Somaliland to be seen in a different light from the chaos of our neighbor to the south: Somalia. We need tourists to visit and discover Somaliland and Somaliland Heritage will be glad to help any tourist or group of tourists who want to visit.
Elie B. Smith: thank you very much.
Mrs. Maryan Ibrahim Abdi: it was a pleasure and I will like you to visit Somaliland and see things for yourself.
Web site of Somaliland: www.somalilandheritage.org
Source: African Path