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The Flag flies proudly once again

by Liban Obsiye
Sunday, June 26, 2016

The wind blows the ocean blue and the white star in all directions

The pole elevating the flag stands firm and proud

The star calmly rests in the sea of blue

The sea of blue guards the star from falling and drowning

The blue and the Star wave together as one


The flag of the people stands guard up high

On buildings, in streets and homes the blue and star unites

The gracious waving of the flag directs and nurtures purpose

The Blue and the Star reminds of oneness and brotherhood

Somalia is once again alive.


The flag flies proudly on the international poles

The Blue and Star squeezes itself among others at the UN

The Blue and the Star brightens up Addis Ababa

The Blue and the Star warms itself in the Gulf

The Blue and the Star forever engraved on Somali hearts.


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The Flag flies proudly

But it witnessed much suffering

The flag flies proudly

But it felt the poverty of its people

The flag flies proudly

But it hides much shame


The flag flies proudly once again

Peace, progress and prosperity

The flag flies proudly

Hope, opportunity and brotherhood

The flag flies proudly

The Blue and the Star smiles on the nation

This is long overdue

Travelling across the world it struck me how proud people are of their flags. And why shouldn’t they be? The flag celebrates identity, shared history, land, Language and a common future for those who share the flag. It also reminds citizens of struggle and the high price most paid for their sovereignty.

In Somalia, despite over a quarter century civil war and the creation of many regional flags, the Blue and the Star of the People of the Federal Republic of Somalia, first lifted up high on this day in 1960, still flies proud. Ironically, despite the nation’s difficult past, it still unites each and every Somali no matter where they are.

In an age of globalization and interdependence, some critics of flags see them as archaic and divisive. The Internationalist argument is that we are all one and flags only seek to divide. However, even in an age of advancement and interdependence in all its forms, national identity, culture and nationhood is still valued by all people and States. The fact is that people belong somewhere and have unique shared history and future aspirations. There is no academic theory or idea that can take that away from them. The best evidence of this is that the flags of the world fly proudly and without interruption at the UN Head Quarters in New York despite this age of multi-level governance, increasing multilateral cooperation and regionalism.

The Somali flag must be used to its fullest effect by the Somali Federal Government to reinforce the message of unity and common purpose, especially now, as the country moves towards elections and is on the road to socio-economic recovery. This is because regardless of tribe, the people of Somalia respect and are proud of their flag. They affiliate themselves with it and even in faraway lands, they hold on to it and its memory.

Somalia’s Federal map is almost complete and the upcoming elections will certainly test the people and government’s resolve and commitment to democratic and inclusive Governance.

As each Federal State participates in the upcoming Parliamentary elections, the flag of the nation ought to fly high and proud over all public institutions, in public spaces and homes which choose to display it. This will certainly reinforce the message of the unity and collective endeavours of a nation that the world only knows and understands to be tribally divided.

If Somalia is to continue on its journey towards stability and progress, the people must unite under the flag their forefathers chose to represent their collective hopes and dreams.

Let the Blue and Star fly high above the nation and people not just today but every day.

Liban Obsiye is a senior adviser to the Somali Foreign Minister. Liban can be reached through: [email protected]  @libanobsiye (twitter)         

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