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Somaliland’s kowtowing to Ethiopia breaks all codes of decency

Editorial: Awdal News Network
Monday, December 17, 2007

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It is baffling to see a nation that marshals self-pride, human dignity and sovereignty as the main causes for its decision to walk away from the Somali union, dehumanizing itself to the point of servility to the Ethiopian regime.

Somaliland’s pomposity and roaring voice towards Somalia and on rare occasions to its sisterly and neighborly Djibouti, turns into a slavish whimper when it faces Ethiopia. Understandably Somaliland is quick to lash out at Somalia for anything that Somaliland considers that jeopardizes its claim for sovereignty. In the same vein Somaliland doesn’t hesitate to risk severing ties with Djibouti, another country that not only shares race, language and culture with the people but also acts as a lifeline to Somaliland’s trade and travel to the outside world. The latest spectacle was Somaliland’s banning of livestock from Somaliland to be shipped through Djibouti port. But Somaliland government’s wild claim of such a step being detrimental to the commercial prowess of its only functioning port in Berbera and depriving it of its main source of revenue, miraculously becomes a commendable flourishing trade when Somaliland traders route their livestock through Ethiopia and to Djibouti. Besides, Somaliland gives a blind eye to the multimillion Kat trades that fills the Ethiopian government’s coffers but empties Somaliland of hard currency, converts Somaliland workforce into lethargic unworthy drug addicts and deprives children of healthy growing and valuable education

Anther example of Somaliland’s supine behavior towards Ethiopia is the unwarranted deportation of fellow Ethiopian-Somalis who were evicted from their homes and businesses with direct orders from the Ethiopian regime.

The latest episode of Somaliland’s self deprecating drama, is the Somaliland government’s expulsion order to Somali journalists who fled from Mogadishu and sought a shelter in Hargeisa. These journalists sneaked out of Mogadishu after eight of their colleagues were killed and the profession of journalism has become synonymous with terrorism in the eyes of the Ethiopian forces and their servile Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) military. As expected these journalists received due welcome from their fellow Somaliland journalists.

One may therefore ask why Somaliland emerges with a lion’s power when facing its Somali compatriots but simply plods away with tail between legs when Ethiopia sneers at it. Where do all the courage and huffishness it shows to its Somali compatriots go when Somaliland has an issue with Ethiopia? Why should Ethiopian laborers, businessmen and politicians have free access to Somaliland while Somalis from Somalia, Ethiopia and elsewhere have to be scrutinized at Ethiopian behest?

Although observant analysts may have to give allowances to Somaliland for its genuflection to Ethiopia due to the international community’s apathy to its sovereignty, unique democracy and miraculous survival as an oasis of peace and stability in a turbulent region, its expulsion order to the Somali journalists shows how Somaliland’s kowtowing to Ethiopia breaks all codes of decency and self-respect. It reflects beyond any doubt that Somaliland is nothing more than an Ethiopian vassal state and that its conspicuous hostility to Somalia’s TFG government is nothing but a deceptive veneer of the bonds that link Rayale and Abdillahi Yusf through Meles Zenawi’s malevolent patronage.

It also raises the question whether Somaliland can ever enjoy a genuine sovereignty or whether it will forever remain as a toy in the hands of its powerful neighbor and how long it will take the people of Somaliland to realize that they have not sacrificed their union with Somalia to become hostages to an erstwhile enemy?

Finally, we demand that Somaliland government drops the deportation order against the Somali journalists and permit them to stay and resume their work from their vintage place in Hargeisa. Allowing the journalists to stay would not only prove that Somaliland can make a sovereign decision but it will also boost Somaliland’s image and reputation as a country that adheres to international norms and values. The embracing of the journalists would be an act of atonement on the part of Somaliland for previously allowing warlords, who committed crimes against humanity to live and do business in Hargeisa.

Awdal News Network

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