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Open letter to OIC Secretary-General on Somalia
Your Majestic Eminence,
It is more than a decade since I met you in the Yıdız Palace at the IRCICA office in Istanbul, when Dr. Halit Eren introduced me to you.
The Ethiopian presence in Somalia has led to heavy fighting between insurgents and Ethiopian troops backing Somalia’s shaky government, while civilians continue to suffer under the Ethiopian intervention.
I am currently writing to you with burning concern for the multi-divided Muslim nation of the Somalis, who are currently finding themselves at the most critical crossroads of their four-millennium-long history that started with Middle Egyptian hieroglyphic references to the Land of Punt, also known as Ta Netser -- "the Land of Gods" -- already, prior to the great Expedition to Punt by Pharaoh Hatshepsut (ca. 1480 B.C.) that has been grandly described on the Western Wall of the Second Colonnade of Queen Hatshepsut's Mortuary Temple at Deir el Bahari, Thebes West, Luxor.
As a historian with specialization in the role of the Horn of Africa in the development of east-west trade relations and the ensuing cultural exchanges, and as a political scientist concerned with the extraordinary practice of human rights violations in the area, I call on your attention and understanding, dedication and initiative.
Somalia is one of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) founding members, and with the exception of the Banaadiris of Yemenite origin, it comprises a single nation sharing the same language, religion and culture.
The immense desolation of the Somalis: Before further expanding, I would also like to convey to your Majestic Eminence the extreme desolation and despair of the Somalis, who -- right or wrong -- feel completely abandoned by all, Africans, Arabic-speaking countries, Europeans, Indians and Americans.
Nothing from Africa: Yet the Somalis, sharing the same skin color, ethnic origin, continent, great past and (more recently) dramatic colonial experience with almost all other African nations, would rightfully expect at least lip service from some of them. However, quite disappointingly, nothing came from this direction.
Nothing from Arabic-speaking countries: Yet the Somalis, sharing the same religion and religious tongue with the Arabic-speaking countries -- some of which live on the same continent and were exposed to a similar traumatic colonial experience -- would reasonably wait for some support from several Arabic-speaking countries. However, quite frustratingly, nothing came from this direction.
Nothing from Europe: Yet the Somalis, sharing a great deal of historical interaction with many European nations, in either pre-Islamic or modern times, would plausibly assume that the European nations, having methodically formed an economically and politically considerable European Union, would have made amendment of earlier, colonial times' misperceptions and injustices, and would come to the help of an illustrious historical nation in disarray. However, quite exasperatingly, nothing came from this direction.
Nothing from America: Yet the Somalis, sharing the same anti-colonial ideals, concepts and principles as the world's sole superpower, the United States of America, would understandably presume the manifestation of solidarity from the political leadership of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson's country. However, quite sadly, nothing came from this direction.
OIC: sole hope for Somalis: The Somalis can expect -- I believe -- help only from you and the OIC. They have noticed everything; your personal involvement in the Jeddah peace agreement last September, your subsequent call "on all OIC member states to actively contribute to the peace building in Somalia," and the latest appeal to "the combatants, especially the foreign troops, to exercise their utmost restraint to save innocent lives" in the latest round of violence.
Contextualizing the Somalia drama: United still in 1990, Somalia fell into internal division and strife that was mostly instigated by a rancorous and malignant neighbor in disarray (during the last days of the pro-Soviet Mengistu, Amhara tribal regime). As the post-Communist (incumbent) regime of Abyssinia -- accepting the fallacious name " Ethiopia" signifies direct contribution to genocide -- pursued the same policy towards Somalia, one should wonder whether this is a traditional practice of the Amhara and Tigray-led Abyssinia.
The beginning of Somalia's division: Somalia's division starts -- for many -- with the declaration of independence by the political elite of Somaliland (May 18, 1991), which occurred precisely at the time of rise of the incumbent regime in Finfinne -- accepting the fallacious name " Addis Ababa" signifies direct contribution to genocide. However, this view is, to say the least, historically myopic.
Somalia's division, which goes back to the colonial era, became modern political reality with the transfer of British authority over Ogaden to the Amhara tribal leader Haile Selassie, who successfully portrayed himself as "emperor of Ethiopia," due to his allegiance with the British and his (mostly verbal, if we take into account historical sources) resistance to the Italian occupation of Abyssinia. This colonial deal materialized gradually between 1948 and 1954.
The Abyssinian occupation of the Somali province of Ogaden signals the real beginning of Somalia's division. As Somalia's division consists -- in real terms -- in Abyssinian occupation of foreign land, Somalia's current situation can be best seen in the light of Somalia's implacable and perverse archenemy's appalling historical record.
A colossal colonial empire: The incredible Abyssinian expansionism was absolutely unacceptable by the totality of the aforementioned African nations none of which was affiliated to Monophysitism (heretic Christianity), being either Muslim or followers of many, different religions. Quite interestingly, some of these African religions -- disreputably labeled "pagan" by the colonial academia and missionaries -- were absolutely monotheistic and aniconic of character.
Policies of the world's most inhuman and most reticent outcast, ' Ethiopia': The prolonged stay of the Abyssinian armies in Somalia involved but was not limited to the following attempts and practices implemented over more than 100 years in foreign lands still occupied by the Abyssinians:
* Biased, brutal, and undisputed (in courts of justice) expropriation of vast lands (belonging to subjugated nations) that are given free to Amhara and Tigray settlers.
* Creation of massive movement of refugees and internally displaced people, in order to alter demographic data.
* Institutionalization of the treacherous and misrepresentative, local bogus-elites through cooperation with the settlers against the collective interests of the respective subjugated nations at all levels, involving social practices and traditional organization, education, economy, religion, art, language, culture and political life
* Provocation of enormous, and chronic brain drain of professionals, intellectuals and political dissidents among the subjugated nations; deliberate -- if not meticulously planned -- emigration of the middle classes of the non-Abyssinian subjugated nations (practically speaking all, except the Amharas and the Tigrays).
* Prohibition of educational institutions, schools, colleges, universities, academies and research centers -- even if financed by the private sector -- that would use subjugated nations' languages.
* Proscription of the free practice of the indigenous language, literature, art, culture and religion throughout a region or province/fatherland for a subjugated ethnic group or nation and prohibition of their study.
* Severe religious discrimination and attempts to uproot existing faiths, religious systems, rituals, cults and practices of numerous subjugated ethnic groups or nations, involving performance of religious rites and erection of religious buildings on occupied territories despite the total rejection of the rites and the buildings -- as utterly unholy -- by the indigenous populations.
Conclusion: As we can easily surmise from the aforementioned, the incited secessionist feelings among the leadership of Somaliland (Hargeysa) is not a new Abyssinian practice; in fact it comprises a replay of earlier practices, namely the selection of few indigenous individuals, in order to form local bogus-elites among the subjugated peoples. It has to be noted that the majority of the Somalis included in the bellicose enclave Somaliland totally reject and angrily repudiate “President” Rayaale's servitude towards the Tigray tyrant Zenawi.
At a moment when Ogaden and Somalia are -- practically speaking -- living under conditions of systematic genocide at the hands of the racist Abyssinian dictator's soldiers and tribal thugs, the international community has nothing to say.
Will the OIC also keep silent?
*Professor Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis is a historian and political scientist