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What is The Role of the Somali Diaspora?

By Zamira Hassan

"Where is the United Nations High Commission for Refugees? Where is the Muslim community? Where are the government and the ministry of safety and security? Who are going to protect us? This city [Cape Town] is supposed to be a home for all. If this country can't protect its refugees, how will it protect the millions who will visit the city in 2010?" …asked Khalif.

Despite their deficiency, the politicians and the traditional leaders in our country endeavor, however, to salvage our people from the excruciating hardships they endured. Those politicians are more well-versed the problems in our worsening country comparing to us—Diaspora community. Their task, however, is to put in our country in order. In the same token, the Diaspora intellectuals should have been more informed with and responsive to the needs of the Diaspora communities per se, not the people back home. Put it differently, each group is responsible its home; politicians back home should put in our country in order and the Diaspora intellectuals should organize its community. Hence, separation of responsibility.

This short article is not intended to shield those politicians back home. Rather, it’s to examine and analyze whether the constant criticism of the Diaspora intellectuals towards politicians back home is legitimate, which, however, raises the question: Do the Diaspora intellectuals manage to organize its community before they censure politicians back home? Let us scrutinize, shall we?

Somali Diaspora Intellectuals’ Litmus Test

The abovementioned quotation depicts the harsh reality of the Somalis Diaspora universally. When Mr. Khalif penned these words, he identified a deep agony at the heart of every Somali. Truth be told, our Diaspora communities’ state—in North America as well as every part in Europe—is deteriorating due to the lack of cohesive and harmonious collaboration among the community. Painstakingly, Diaspora communities are divided into tribal-lines which are entirely repugnant and diminish its productivity. As anticipated, observing the well-governed structure of the western institutions, they should have matured from the tribal philosophy. Unfortunately, they are worst than they were prior of coming to the western countries. Contrary to the popular trend, most, if not all, of Somali communities in the western countries have little, if nothing, knowledge about the system structure of their country of domicile, which, as a result, leads to its depressed, confused and vulnerable condition. As a result, they endure immeasurable hardships which include, but not limited to;

Estimated 70 % of their children are either school dropouts or are forced to enroll especial schools;

Most people are dependent with transfer payments—namely, welfare and unemployment compensations;

Divorce is epidemic;

In Minnesota, alone, there are countless young men in prisons;

Lack of partaking with the political arenas of their country of domicile…etc.

Behold, their predicament is compounded. One may, therefore, ask; where are those intellectuals who should rescue this community?

Pseudo-Intellectuals’ Futility

Whilst their communities are undergoing aforementioned scenarios, the educated segment of the Somalis Diaspora are, enormously, preoccupied to unravel our country’s tribulations through publishing inefficient articles in Somali websites while disregarding their internal problems, that is to say; if they are sincerely devoted to assist their less-fortunate, why don’t they start within their worsening Diaspora communities? The So-called "intellectuals" fail, miserably, to organize their deprived community to elect a body of leaders who would legislate on its behalf—as the other minority communities. Each one of them wears a blindfold with respect to the needs and wants of their community. Even those less-educated individuals are inspired to join the "intellectual elite" to the extent numerous individuals were compelled to publish fabricated/plagiarized articles. They waste their precious time to criticize, debate, demonize and disparage one another.

Façade of Legitimacy

In the light of this litmus test, they should have been ashamed. Their mindset is equivalent, if not worst, to the mentality of front-runners. In other words, they are not sincere of assisting their people but, rather, they strive to score points. Therefore, one may ask; what is their objective? As egocentric as it may sound, they are, indeed, attempting to participate with the political parties back-home. Their objective, as it manifest itself, is to impress the ordinary men and, at the same time, to attract the political elite back-home in order to become "ministers." In a nutshell, it’s a façade of legitimacy.


In order for us to facilitate the state of our worsening country, we should, first and foremost, start within ourselves. If, and only if, we manage to improve our community’s condition, we can assist those back home as well. We should, collectively, come into terms to elect leaders who legislate on our behalf, organize our people to stand for their rights, educate the community the system structure, save our children…etc. Once we achieve this objective, then we could send respected envoy to our back home to voice our concern. Furthermore, it would be expedient for those Diaspora front-runners to attain a respected position since they proved to be civil servants. Hence, a win-win situation.

Zamira Hassan, can be reached at: [email protected]


The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "Hiiraan Online"

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