Hiiraan online - News and information about Somalia
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink



A new SYL might be taking shape beyond Somali shores

Somali Flag

Somali National Flag

By Ali H. Abdulla

There is no doubt that 26th June and 1st July were celebrated in many parts of the world to commemorate the independence of the Northern and Southern parts of Somalia and their subsequent union. The term union is misleading since Somalis were united long before the colonialists interfered in their affairs and divided their country into areas of influence against their wishes.

I have been fortunate enough to attend one of these celebrations in Dubai, the commercial capital of the UAE. The celebrations brought together hundreds of Somali residents of the UAE who flocked to Dubai from all parts of the seven emirates.  The National theatre in Dubai that seats around 700 people was filled to capacity. Many Somali dignitaries including businessmen and politicians attended the celebration. The ambassador of Somalia to the UAE, his Excellency Huseen Bulaale and his Excellency Awad Cashara, a member of the Somali Transitional Federal Parliament, two northern politicians, were the guests of honor.

The unique blue flag and its symbolic five-edged star graced the stage and the celebrations were kicked off with the Somali national anthem that brought the audience to their feet. They joined the lead singer, Salem Ahmed Salem, a fourth generation Somali whose ancestors emigrated from Yemen. It was a moving experience that prompted the Somali Ambassador to thank the singer for his exquisite and moving performance. Normally one listens to the music of the anthem or the first few notes, but this was the complete anthem and it filled the audience with pride and joy.

You may have been wondering which of the two occasions the event celebrated, the 26th of June or the 1st of July. Actually it celebrated both occasions on the 29th of June, 2 days after 26th June and 2 days before 1st July, a brilliant compromise devised by those who organized the event. I wish that Somali politicians were smart enough to learn from the organizers of this event the meaning of the word compromise, a word that seems to be missing from their lexicon.

The celebration was opened with verses from the holy Quran recited by a young Somali who appropriately chose the verses that urge all Muslims to unite and become one, a fact often ignored by proponents of secession and division. His style and recitation reminded me of famous names like Abdul Baset.

The event was packed with patriotic songs; short plays; Somali folk dances; and a Somali fashion show featuring slender and beautiful Somali girls who displayed different Somali dresses and hairstyles. Some of the plays were in Arabic and they addressed the many ills Somalia suffers from, like tribalism, Qaat, brain drain etc. 

Somali Flag

Somali Youth League

The event was organized by a group of young Somalis who are in their early and late twenties. Most of them were born in the UAE and may have never seen their country. The one thing that unites them is their love for their people and their motherland. Their parents come from different parts of Somalia and they have vowed to shun clan and regional affiliations. Their ancestors are from the North and the South and their motto is one people, one country. Their chosen name is Somali Youth Committee, SYC, a name that reminds one of the Somali Youth League, SYL, a movement that symbolized Somali independence and unity.

The SYC is not a political organization and is an unofficial grouping of young, educated and professional Somali Youth who work with all Somali Communities in the UAE that are officially recognized by the UAE government such as the Somali Cultural and Social Center in Abu Dhabi. They support these communities to organize social, educational and cultural events. They have an elected chairman who changes every six months. The current chairman is an energetic and affable young lady. Among the talented professionals in the group is a young Somali dentist who is a gifted composer. She composed a short Arabic play tilted “Good Morning Somalia”, a hilarious portrayal of the current Somali situation.

The group is not a transient phenomena like many Somali efforts in the Diaspora; its members have organized Somali independence and unity parties for the third time in a row and they keep getting better every time. These celebrations are part of the cultural activities that they sponsor throughout the year.

It gives me hope to know that there are young people who believe in the unity of Somalia without being influenced by their parents. Many parents who fled Somalia to the West still suffer from the ugly disease of tribalism that destroyed their country and they inject this disease into their kids. After reading a short article that I wrote about tribalism, a young boy sent me an email in which he told me that he lost some of his friends when they found out that he was from a clan different from theirs. It was a sad email that should remind all Somali parents that they might be poisoning the minds of their kids when they recite the glories of their clans in front of them. By now, we should all have realized that there is no glory in clans and divisions. Glory can only come from unity, patriotism and nationhood. These are the things that are worth fighting and dying for.

My salute and thanks goes to the SYC in the UAE for rekindling my hopes for a united, democratic and prosperous Somalia. Their efforts symbolize the light at the end of the tunnel for Somalia, a light that has eluded it so far.

Ali H. Abdulla

E-mail: [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"

Add Comment-- View Comment 
21 comment(s) with
5 replies.



Hiiraan Online 

Contact:[email protected]
Copyright © 1999-2006 Hiiraan Online