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The Culuso Papers

by Dr. Abdishakur Jowhar
Tuesday, April 05, 2011

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The Somali crisis is approaching yet another explosive downward spiral into the bewildering and catastrophic bottomless pit of Somali misery. It is difficult to grasp the seeming senseless and clearly suicidal moves of Somali political life; for precisely whenever one thinks “it could never get worse”, it invariably does!  In these times of confusion I found the work of Mohamud Culuso enlightening, honest, and perceptive and delivered with the eloquence of poet. 

 I know not Culuso the man. I see the Google image- a bespectacled Somali.  I hear the name Culuso and I think a South Somali for sure, Mogadishu I would say or deeper south.  I am much more familiar with the vantage points from which his sojourns of political polemics takes off.  Culuso expresses himself with the clarity of a man newly freed from the intellectual slavery of the tribal demon.  He is a fresh voice in this part of the world where tribal blinders are the norm and where intellectuals shamelessly pander to tribal chiefs or religious zealots. 

I fervently disagree with some of the ideas Culuso writes and particularly when it comes to the issue of Somaliland, for he sees its independence as a problem and I see it as a solution to all problems Somali. Honest intellectual disagreement is a rare commodity however in Somali political discourse that it only serves to highlight the liberating novelty of this man’s work.   I share with Culuso a central theme that comes so clearly through all of his writings; namely that the tribe in all of its masterful disguises (homelands, warlords, pseudo- religious armies) is the archangel of death that will end the existence of the Somali, that the myth of tribal power sharing and tribal militia are noting but killer fangs of death itself and that the regional forces involved in the Somali dilemma are predatory in nature; wolves in sheep’s clothing.

In his landmark paper “Death of Gravely Ill Somalia” of Dec 2010, Culuso sings the eulogy of the illusory “Somali Citizen”. He recaps the horrible convulsions of a dying people, naming those who stabbed the nation in the back and pointing a righteous finger at those vultures circling the carcass.

In another paper he reveals perhaps the most Kafkaesque development in the tortured history of UN involvement in Somali affairs; the “herculean” attempt of solving the Somali problem by the powers of an expertly written constitution in what came to be known as the Constitution Based Initiative. The UNDP (which actually functions as a kind of Government in Exile for Somalia that works out of Nairobi in Kenya) contracted out, paid for and completed the Draft Constitution in record time of less than half a year. The efficiency of the work was matched in spectacle only by the planned absence of any meaningful input into the document by the Somali people. Of course just as in Kafka’s work the organization encouraged every Somali to email any amendments; this in these backwaters where internet connectively does even come close to the might number of less than 1% of the population.   Culuso chronicles the brief and dramatic life of this document in his Sept 2010 article  “Draft Constitution will deepen Somalia’s Crisis”. This Draft Constitution is destined for the dustbin of history except perhaps as a literary curiosity for the e entertainment of future students of governance who will be thankful to Culuso for his record of these events and his decisive insight in this regard.

I intend to follow this man’s work and I bring him to the attention of the Somali intellectual who is, like me, fed up totally with the jaundiced thoughts of tribes and tribal chiefs and tribal vantage points. I am sure hopeful that he will continue to focus his perceptive powers to help lighten the load  for a nation determined in its pursuit of an end in a suicide mission.

Dr. Abdishakur Jowhar
E-mail: [email protected]


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