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Issue 467 -- 8th-14th January 2011

Front Page

News Headlines

Upper House Member Asks President Geele To Support Somaliland

Somaliland Will Transfer Military Supplies From Impounded Plane To The UN

Local and Regional Affairs

Many Sudanese Leave North For South Ahead Of Sunday’s Vote

Uranium Being Smuggled Via EA To Iran - Wikileaks
Somalia's Al-Shabaab Bans Mixed-Sex Handshakes
 UN Refugee Agency Warns On Greek Anti-Migrant Fence
Ethiopian Tax Authorities Gets First Shipment Security Scanners


A Positive Example From Somaliland’s Colonial Past

Features & Commentary

International News


Debunking Common Fallacies about Who Abandoned Somali Unity
SSC Terror Boss Stranded In Dubai

EDITORIAL: A Positive Example From Somaliland’s Colonial Past

During the struggle for independence, it was common among colonized people to condemn colonial administrations and to see nothing good about them. Upon the arrival of independence and the fervor of newly discovered nationalism by the formerly colonized, the cries of condemnation of the colonialists grew even louder. But as the local elites began to establish a record of their own in governance, people began to realize that in many cases the departing colonialists were better at running things than those who took over the ship of state from them.  An obvious explanation for this difference in performance is that colonial administrations were backed by the colonial mother country which had the economic resources and long experience in statecraft. But that only explains part of the story. The other part is the quality of the people involved and their level of commitment to their work. We provide below an excerpt from Margaret Laurence’s book The Camel Bell that sheds light on the type of commitment we are talking about:

“A friend told us why Matthew was awarded the M.B.E. The Desert Locust Control men in Somaliland set bait for the young hoppers, and at one time many Somalis believed that this locust poison would kill heir camels which were grazing in the same places. One large section of a tribe in the Guban became so enraged that they were all prepared to take up their spears and massacre every locust officer in the area. When Matthew arrived on the scene, the tribesmen had gathered and were worked up to a fantastic pitch of anger and excitement. It was an isolated spot; there was no road; and the place was rarely visited by Europeans, so Matthew knew he could expect no help. The tribesmen threatened to kill him if he did not agree to stop the bait-laying. He refused, and at dusk they surrounded his camp. When darkness fell, Matthew somehow managed to escape, and made his way across the desert to a small tea shop on the Zeilah Road. He got away just in time, he later learned, for during the night the tribesmen made up their mind to kill him. They entered his camp, and furious at finding him gone, they burned the tents, slashed his clothes and even speared his bush hat. The next day they arrived at the Zeilah Road tea shop. If anything, they were angrier than before, having being cheated of a victim the previous night. It was too late for prolonged talk. Matthew said only one thing.

‘If this locust control doesn’t kill a man, will you believe it won’t kill your camels?”

The Tribesmen murmured among themselves, and finally agreed - yes, they would believe it, in that case. But what was the use of such talk when everyone knew the locust bait would certainly kill a man?

‘No, it won’t,’ Matthew said. ‘I’ll prove it.’

He then scooped up a handful of the poisoned bran and ate it himself. The tribesmen stared with considerable curiosity, and finally, when he did not drop dead, they dispersed.

A simple solution. But although he knew the locust bait did not poison camels, at the time when he ate it, he had no idea what effect it would have on a human. Camels, after all, are able to digest inch-long thorns, but men are not.”




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