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Did The Somali Canadian Alliance Start Off On The Wrong Foot?
When I came across your name—Somali Canadian Alliance SCA—on Somali websites, my reaction was: “Thank God, it is about time!” In other words, I was delighted to see fellow Somali-Canadians (Somali-Canucks) meeting and posing in the same photo opt with the Canadian Prime Minster, Mr. Stephen Harper, and informing him of the sad plight of the Somali people in Mogadishu and elsewhere. ( http://tinyurl.com/2zkwy4) Furthermore, I was thrilled to see that, finally, someone in our community bravely took the initiative to establish the long-waited Somali-Canadian umbrella that would lobby for the betterment of the Somali people here in Canada, and campaign against the presence of the oppressive enemy troops—the Ethiopians—in Somali soil.
Additionally, I envisioned that the thousands of Somalis here in Canada would rally behind the SCA, and the same way that the powerful Jewish lobby group APIAC has tremendous influence in the U.S. foreign policy, in the near future, we too could play an important role both in U.S. and in Canada’s foreign policies in the East Africa. And when the Canadian elections come, we would be a power to reckon with, hence; undoubtedly, we would be the community that political candidates compete for its votes during election period. But all these hopes and excitements have been dashed to the ground—shattered like a broken glass. What went wrong?
First, like many other Somali-Canadians, I bitterly protested against the occupation of Somalia by foreign enemies, namely the Ethiopians all alone here in my apartment in Ottawa, Canada by publishing dozens of articles that spoke out against the heinous crimes committed against the Somalia people, the deceptive strategy of U.S.—Ethiopia unholy coalition, and how Somalis have been used as a bulwark against one another for 123 years. (Please see some of my articles: http://tinyurl.com/26onf7 , http://tinyurl.com/2fc6hp , http://tinyurl.com/3cnw9j and http://tinyurl.com/3x8l76)
Second, I assumed naively that the priority of the Somali people was to expel the enemy troops from Somali soil. But I found out otherwise!
To my great surprise and disappointment, I learned that we Somalis, not just the Ethiopians, have been our own worst enemy. And so deceptively, we often camouflage ourselves in the name of Somali unity while we tirelessly work to undermine one another. How naïve was I on a scale of one to ten, you may ask?
So to make a long story short, although your name stands for the Somali-Canucks here in Canada, your objective seems to unify the African nomads (the Somali-Canadians), not the ones back home, and to build a strong community that demands its share of the pie here in North America, I was dumbfounded to find out that in fact the policy/strategy of your organization would further divide the Somali-Canadian community rather than unify it—and would create yet another setback to build a strong Somali Canadian community. How?
After reading an “article” entitled, “The Africa Command Prospect and the Partition of Somalia” written by Abukar Arman who happens to speak on behalf of the Somali Canadian Alliance SCA and the so-called Somali Cause group, one wonders whether the new SCA is intended to further disintegrate the Somali-Canadian community into smaller and powerless chunks, not unify it. Or is the SCA simply misguided and started off on the wrong foot? Or maybe Mr. Arman does not speak on its behalf as he pretends. These are the questions and doubts that only the SCA can answer and clarify them. Mr. Arman’s article which was clearly intended to put a wedge between the Somali communities: Somaliland and Somalia by trying to uproot everything that Somaliland stands for while he spoke on behalf of the SCA and other Somali Canadian organizations would definitely be a setback for SCA’s initiatives. What is the main objective of this Somali Canadian Alliance, I ask you? (See Mr. Arman’s article, which, by the way, was a poorly-written piece by any standards, nonetheless; it was stamped on the SCA’s name. Way to go! No one could have done worse damages to the SCA’s nascent reputation than Mr. Arman could! http://tinyurl.com/2x9h98)
And now some sources indicate some of these groups—under the guise of preserving Somali unity—are mobilizing demonstration against the upcoming arrival of Somaliland president, Mr. Daahir Riyaale Kaahin to the U.S. ( http://tinyurl.com/2prvdr)
Yet few months ago some of these groups welcomed Mr. Geed, the disgraced former Somali Prime Minster, and the Ethiopian ambassador to the U.S. in a meeting hall in Minnesota. Worse still, the Ethiopian ambassador had the audacity to preach them how Ethiopia was going to rescue the Somalis from hell—in other words, how the Ethiopian junta regime planned to slaughter them by the thousands. And you should have heard the applauses from the Somalis for the ambassador.
But now the same people would welcome Mr. Kaahin, who not only opposed the presence of foreign troops in Somalia but also has never showed any hostility towards Somalia, with daggers and they would spit out a bucked of nails towards him. How sick are these people? If anything, these people have destroyed any hope of Somali unity.
Undoubtedly, Somalilanders resolutely oppose the occupation of Somalia by Ethiopia and have participated in every demonstration held in Canada against the invaders in Mogadishu. Now, imagine when these Somalilanders find out that the same Somalis they [Somalilanders] marched together through the streets of Canada have been tirelessly campaigning against the recognition of Somaliland. That would be a BIG slap on the Somaliland community’s face.
In a nutshell, how is the new Somali Canadian Alliance different from the groups like the NSPU which sheds crocodile tears for Somali unity while it [NSPU] serves the interest of Ethiopia? (See this article entitled, “Debunking the Mystery Surrounding the NSPU” http://tinyurl.com/2zxg32)
Surely, the leaders of the SCA are far more experienced in establishing a powerful community than a layman like me, but, If I may share my two cents' worth with you, it would be VERY unwise, if not suicidal, if the SCA attempts to campaign against the independence of Somaliland, instead of focusing how to evict the enemy troops from Somali soil and how to unify the Somali-Canadians.
Additionally, the SCA would also be powerless if the Somalilanders don't join it. And as long as you have members like Mr. Arman who has more energy to undermine Somaliland’s quest for independence than to speak out the occupation of Somalia by the brutal Ethiopian army, then I assure you that the SCA is just entertaining itself—and this Somali Canadian Alliance initiative is doomed to fail, from the get go.
Having that in mind, I suggest that the SCA’s focus should be:
• Unifying the Somali-Canadians. How is that possible? After all, the problem—tribalism—that we left back home decades ago, or at least we thought so, is still haunting and stocking us right here in Canada. Well, to heal the wounded pride of this Somali nomad community, the SCA should represent all the Somali speaking community, not just Somalis from Somalia (Southern Somalia). That is, the SCA should also include the people that it represents: Somalilanders, Djiboutians and Somalis in the Somali regions of Ethiopia and Kenya as well. (It is easier said than done, isn’t it?) No nomad should be left out, in this cold and harsh Canadian winter. The SCA must respect every community’s wishes and determinations to achieve whatever it wants. It must welcome all the existing Somali flags: Somali flag, Somaliland flag, Djibouti flag, Ogadenia flag, and NFD flag. In other words, no one should be marginalized, intentionally or ignorantly. We must embrace one another, not alienate. In addition, people must be convinced without deceiving them that this SCA’s purpose is to help the Somali community in Diaspora to stand strong among the various North American communities.
• The SCA must not get involved in Somali politics back home at this time; in the future, when the SCA stands on its feet, surely enough anything will be possible.
• The SCA should focus how to expel the Ethiopians from Somalia, how to unify the southern Somalis so as to establish a working system just like the one in Somaliland and in Puntland, and how to assist the devastated Somali people in southern Somalia, not how to campaign against the Somaliland recognition.
To sum up, failure to unify the Somali-Canadians and to tiptoe around the sensitive issues the concern the Somali community such as, the Somaliland independence would further divide the community. And for every action that the SCA takes against or paper it writes about why Somaliland should not be recognized, there would be a similar reaction in response—that is, tit for tat. And in essence, this means the SCA would spend more time on defending its credibility than achieving anything meaningful.
On a positive note, many Somali-Canadians are desperate to have an organization like the SCA. However, I warn the SCA not to serve the interest of one tribe, one faction, one region, or campaign against the independence of Somaliland—otherwise the SCA would end up like the NSPU. The SCA’s primary goal should be unifying the Somali-Canadians. And clearly beyond a shadow of a doubt, one way to succeed is to NOT follow the footsteps of the other Somali-Canadian groups before the SCA. They have achieved nothing!
And it is neither a secret nor a rumor that we are all divided politically and regionally back home—needless to say that we brought our division with us to Canada. And if we mix our old political affiliations as well as our clan ideologies and combine them with our new quest to build a better Somali-Canadian community while we manipulatively and deceptively impose our wishes on one another—then that is the only thing that guarantees failure, not success.
So since we can’t agree on anything back home with the exception of expelling foreign troops from Somali soil, why don’t we just concentrate on our problems here in Canada?
By building strong Somali-Canadian community would compel many Canadian politicians to listen to our problems here and back home. So can we have ONE Somali speaking community which its board members include Somalis, Somalilanders, Djiboutians, Somalis from Ogaden and NFD regions? It’s been ONLY 20 years that we have been without community here in Canada!
Also, since Somalis back home don’t run our affairs here in Canada, by the same token, we cannot decide for their future while we are in North America—living good lives, attending good schools and having good jobs. And if one wants to get involved in the ever complex and convoluted Somali politics back home, one should catch the next flight to Somalia.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org