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Rebuttal to Abdi Samatar's Criticism of Latest ICG Report on Somaliland
In recent years, Abdi Samatar has mastered marketable skills---- to entertain Southern Somalis to something that is music to their ears-----Somaliland bashing. It is unfortunate that our brothers and sisters in Somalia cannot differentiate their saviors from those who want to milk their misfortunes after almost 15 years of death and destruction. A vivid example of this interesting phenomenon is what we have all recently witnessed: the so-called leaders who adamantly opposed the presence of Ethiopian forces in Somalia only to seek refuge, after their defeat in Mogadishu, in Baidoa—the Ethiopian protected safe haven of the defunct TFG. How many times should the people of Somalia be misled by wannabe leaders before people wake up?
Abdi Samatar does not accept the peace and stability that prevails in Somaliland. He argues in his essay:
"At that time in the region, some communities had the freedom to publicly propagate their preference for separation while others were coerced to toe a predetermined line -- that is, to endorse the secessionist demand by the armed wing of the Somali National Movement."
It seems Abdi Samatar is living in the past. What he ignores is that Somaliland has moved from clan politics to multi-party system. Unlike Somalia, Somaliland has established peace and stability. Moreover, communal harmony is at its best. Some of Abdi Samatar's suggestions are purely tribal hate-mongering. He even calls African Union and other African countries to mediate among communities in Somaliland:
"... we propose that the AU should embark on a new task that IGAD and the international community have, disappointedly, failed to accomplish; that is, playing the role of an impartial, competent, and patient facilitator for reconciliation. The AU and prominent African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, and Egypt should take the lead and act as non-partisan mediators."
We do not need foreign mediators in Somaliland. Every one recognizes, except Abdi Samatar, that the people of Somaliland have already solved their political problem peacefully without any outside intervention. If foreign mediators are any good, they would have solved the problem of Somalia long time ago. The "professor" is, therefore, trying to solve a problem that does not exist.
Abdi Samatar is again denying the Somaliland's political maturity. It is amazes me how a "professor" in an American university could still harbor and advance cheap clan propaganda. He is wrongly suggesting that President Dahir Rayale was accidentally elected to office:
" ....Members of the latter group have been partially placated by the accident of one of their junior politicians becoming president as a result of Mohamed Ibrahim Egal’s death and subsequent political maneuvers in Hargeysa."
If electing Dahir Rayale to the office was an accident after the death of Egal, what about his successful election to office after he narrowly defeated the former Chairman of the liberation movement of currently leader of Kulmiye party, Ahmed Sillanyo? It seems Abdi Samatar is suffering from clan syndrome and cannot differentiate facts from deep running clannish emotions.
Abdi Samatar's Motives:
One could rightly question the timing and the motive of Abdi Samatar's criticism of ICG report on Somaliland when Somalia is torn apart between ruthless warlords led by pro-Ethiopian Abdillahi Yusuf and aimless Jihadists led by Hassan Dahir Aweys. The professor is silent about this impending Tsunami. He does not have the guts to criticize neither the Jihadists-hijacked movement of Islamic Courts nor the cohorts of warlords in Baidoa simply because he cannot foresee where the balance of power will shift in the coming months thereby risking his prospects of becoming a "federal" minister. Also, quick solution to Somalia problem may bring his "consultancy business" to Somali conflict to an end. Who wants to close down his profitable business? What he really wants is the ICG to outsource its gen · u · ine , field-based research to him. Thus his shameless criticism to this highly respected organizations. He does not even care to put forward any solution that may save Somalia from the impending devastation. In contrast, the ICG led by Chris Patten, the former Chief Administrator of Hong Kong and European Commissioner for External Relations, has no vested interest in Somalia/Somaliland issues. The ICG reports, unlike those written by biased Somalis like Abdi Samatar, are accurate, factual and research- based. These reports put forward the hard facts and policy recommendations which are sometimes hard to swallow to some. Because the recommendations of ICG do not serve the interest of his tribal mongering and "consultancy business", Abdi Samatar has accused the reputable organization of serving colonial agenda.
Somaliland vis-à-vis Somalia
The people of Somaliland have rejected both Jihadism ideology as well as warlordism. Through free and fair municipal, presidential and parliament elections, people of Somaliland have put their faith in democratic institutions. There are now elected president, parliament, mayors and city councils in Somaliland . These institutions sealed the fate of warlordism in Somaliland once and for all. Furthermore, the people of Somaliland thwarted the terrorism plans orchestrated by Adan Ayro and his patronage and mentor, Hassan Dahir Aways. Moreover, Somaliland has, without any doubt, maintains peace and stability which are in short supply in this part of the world.
In contrast, Somalia is torn apart between Jihadists-led Courts and warlords-led TFG. In addition, regional powers such as Ethiopia and Eritrea are openly supporting their proxies and flexing their muscles in order to use Somalia as a playground for their never-ending conflict. The people of Somalia must own up their own their destiny and demonstrate beyond doubt that they mean business by rejecting both Jihadism and warlordism. This is a litmus test for them. Put it differently, it is the responsibility of the Somalia to clean up its mess before it could have meaningful di a l o gue with Somaliland. In other worlds, before freeing themselves from the iron-grip of Jihadists and warlords, people of Somalia should forget about Somaliland. This does not mean, in any way or shape, that Somaliland is against Islam. To the contrary, Somaliland's system of governance may facilitate the emergence of moderate Islamic parties which respect electoral democracy. Through these progressive Islamic parties, an Islamic system could flourish in Somaliland.
Abdi Samatar is avoiding to address this very serious issue since it is beyond the scope of his so far profitable business---Somaliland bashing. He would rather see Jihadists destroying Somaliland's viable democracy in order to satisfy his clannish and hate-mongering ego.
Somaliland Bashing: A Profitable Business in Somalia
The people of Somalia have become so desperate that they will listen to anyone who tells them anything regardless of his motive. It is time for the people of Somalia to wake up and differentiate their saviors from those who want profiteer from their misfortunes. Freelance individuals like Abdi Samatar can neither hinder Somaliland's progress nor deliver Somaliland to Somalia. The people of Somalia know this. What then is the use of Abdi Samatar and the likes for Somalia? Without a doubt, he is to entertain people of Somalia who are in a desperate situation. Does this ring the bells and remind you the last moments of Titanic before it sank?
The Titanic is Sinking and the Band is Playing:
In the last moments of 'Titanic' before it tragically sank, the rich and the well-to-do who occupied the upper compartments had already left the ship. However, others who could not afford to get life-saving boats remained in the sinking ship and were so desperate that they were watching and listening a playing band. The people of Somalia, in an analogy, are today as desperate as those who were left behind in Titanic. And Abdi Samatar is, by extension, playing music to the desperate people of Somalia. The question is, however, how long will the "professor" continue his entertainment business before the people of Somalia wake up and save what is left of their country, if any? Only time will tell whether people of Somalia will ever wake up!