By Ali H. Abdulla
Africa, Unite 'Cause we're moving right out of Babylon and we're going to our father's land
How good and how pleasant it would be
Before God and man, yeah
to see the unification of all Africans, yeah
Bob-Marley and the Wailers
The word Wailer means "a mourner who utters long loud high-pitched cries". Today, in Somalia, we should all be wailers; not only the few individuals listed in the article that carries the misleading title "Clannish Wailers".
We should all be Wailers, not the Wailers of Bob-Marley, because:
1. Those of us who write in these forums and talk about the issues of Somalia are refuges in foreign lands. Most of us have not visited our country for the last 17 years. Most of us have no intention of ever going back there. Most of us are on welfare while many of us work in jobs that pay the minimum wage. A large number of our PhD holders drive taxis in dangerous neighborhoods in the West.
2. Our kids speak all the languages of the world but are unable to speak their mother tongue. Many of them languish in jails as a result of broken families supported mostly by single mothers.
3. Most of our folks back home live on meager remittances they receive from overseas supplemented by meager incomes earned by women who toil all day under the burning sun unable to drink water to avoid the call of nature and as a result suffer from all kinds of urinary tract infections.
4. Most of our people are addicts of a drug called Qat that drains our country of millions of dollars needed to rebuild and rehabilitate. These millions pour into the coffers of our enemy,
5. Our passport is a worthless piece of paper that prompts most of us to travel with foreign passports that are met with raised eyebrows at every airport we use.
6. We have become the laughing-stock of the whole world, and those who do not despise us pity us.
7. We watch the news indifferently when it carries the now too-familiar pictures of women and children who drown daily in the high seas fleeing from all parts of Somalia including Somaliland that is painted by some of us as a paradise on earth.
8. We are ruled by an enemy who wants to divide our country into pieces. Some of us welcome him with open arms, open trade offices for him and offer him our ports to import his goods. Some of us die with him in the same trenches killing our own people. Some of us exploit the refugees the enemy displaces and make them pay for the trees under which they seek shelter.
9. We chase away Somali born journalists from our cities, jail freedom fighters from the Ogaden and hand them over to our ruthless enemy.
10. We use colonial tactics to divide and rule each other. We turn brother against brother, father against son and fight each other to reach fictitious borders erected by a departed imperialist with the help of money supplied by oil companies and foreign spy agencies
11. We hate each other, despise each other, wish ill for each other ignoring all the instructions of our Quran and Suna.
The reasons for becoming wailers are endless and cannot be covered in a short article like this one.
Unfortunately, nowadays, unionists who try to defend and lobby for the unity of their people are Wailers while secessionists who are bent on dividing them and erecting barriers among them, with the help of our enemies, are heroes.
The Wailer article fails to appreciate the gravity of the situation in Northern Somalia by downplaying the resolutions of the traditional leaders of Sool, Sanaag and Cayn to go to war, if necessary, to evict the Somaliland forces from their city. As we speak, they are mobilizing thousands of their young boys to prepare for a prolonged war that may eventually transform into a clan war. The writer of Wailers has been misled into believing that all Soolis support the occupation of Las Anod. He tries to promulgate that myth. The fact is that most Soolis are opposed to the Somaliland aggression. The mostly fiercely independent nomadic herdsmen have no loyalty to Administrations and their local collaborators. Their loyalty is to their traditional leaders and those leaders have spoken clearly.
To express our concern and expect a devastating civil-war in the North is not clan motivated as the writer would lead us to believe. Such concern is based on close knowledge of the area and its people. It is based on concern for the fathers and mothers who stand to lose their loved ones. It stems from our concern for the Nomads who stand to lose his herds and/or the right to graze and water them without let or hindrance. It stems from the potential reaction of the thousands of refugees who fled their city and are lurking around its outskirts bent on seeking revenge against those they hold responsible for their plight.
In this day and age, people cannot be forced to join a cause they do not believe in. That era is gone forever. Even if 50% of Sool, Sanaag and Cayn residents voluntarily elect to join Somaliland, who can force the other 50% to follow suit? This reminds me of the Quebecois who were split in the referendum to separate from Canada. The secessionists failed to attain the 51% required for the split just as Somaliland would most probably fail to obtain such a percentage in an internationally supervised referendum.
The arguments used in the Wailer article for dividing Somalia into cantons are not practical to say the least. Where do we stop and draw the line? The creation of cantons like Somaliland, Darwishland, Makhir Coast Land, Puntland, Hiiranland, BanaadirLand, JubaLand is not the answer. Even demarcating such borders would be a night mare. At the same time, old colonial borders will not solve the problem. They are history and fell with the departure of those who used them to divide Somalia and they can never come back.
Finally, Secessionists normally delegate mercenaries to lobby on their behalf to convince foreign countries to recognize and acknowledge their cause. The Wailer article is a welcome break from that trend. Unionists, unlike Secessionists, welcome healthy debate that is based on facts and common sense. Secessionists usually resort to nasty emails, name-calling and character assassination. Let us hope that this wailer article heralds a serious Somali debate between the proponents and opponents of breaking up the Somali Republic and desecrating the Blue Flag.
Statements like "Somaliland is forever" will not get us anywhere. We need to work towards win-win situations that guarantee all Somalis a stable future that helps them come back from the Cold and raise their children to speak their native tongue.
Ali H. Abdulla
E-mail: [email protected]