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Horn of Africa: There Are No Quick Fixes in ‘Countering Violent Extremism’

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Since 9/11, western countries have increasingly invested in programmes to prevent transnational violent extremism. These include serious militarised measures but also “softer” civic interventions under the banner of ‘countering violent extremism’ (CVE). An example is funding social development programmes, implemented by civil society, with the aim of engaging and deterring individuals and communities from “radicalisation”.

An effective response to militant Islamist violence, threats, and underlying ideologies, is extremely important. But in the Horn of Africa, CVE programmes have failed to adequately engage with root causes of religious extremism.

In some cases they have failed so miserably that we must ask: to what extent are they actually genuine efforts to address violence and militancy? Are they merely superficial gestures? And how did such a complex issue become the additional burden of NGOs already struggling with layers of political and legal restrictions and limited capacity?

“The flame only burns those who touch it” is a Sudanese saying that resonates today. Religious militancy is not a new phenomenon in the Horn of Africa. People have lived through this fire for the past 30 years. In Somalia, thousands have been killed as a result of the brutal Al Shabaab insurgency which has lured Muslim youth towards militancy by exploiting community vulnerabilities including poverty.

In this region, religious militancy often disguises itself as an ideology for resistance against state corruption, ethnic and cultural biases. Meanwhile, counter-terror programmes often ally themselves with the same corrupt regimes. The west considers Sudan, for instance, a collaborative partner – though it is itself an incubator of religious militancy as a result of repressive policies and laws.

Indeed, CVE programming has fallen far short of the mark – conceptually and in implementation. Even the language used is deeply problematic. Measures to prevent violent extremism is vague and ambiguous.

CVE programmes are clearly supposed to be ‘soft power’ projects in parallel to military counter-terror interventions. But: what exactly do they mean by “violent extremism”? Is extremism acceptable if it is not violent? At what measureable point does an ideology become ‘extreme’? What countermeasures are acceptable?

And: Are these projects specifically focused on Islamic religious militancy, or violence based on other religions and ideologies as well?

These programmes have also been overly simplistic, largely ignoring driving factors of militancy and violence including injustices inflicted upon the region’s population. The – largely flawed – operating assumption is that providing grants to NGOs to undertake development-style programming will lead to a shift in communities’ social identities, or erase those inequalities and injustices.

Last year, the International Organisation for Migration launched a call for proposals on CVE stating that it intended to provide “small and quick impact support that capitalises on community driven interventions aimed at mitigating risk factors that contribute towards violent extremism. These will be preceded by interactive and participatory community consultations.”

But how can we think that transforming and influencing social and cultural identity can be accomplished through “small and quick impact support”?

Since the First World War, British and French colonial governments, and later the US government, helped cement political Islam and its organisations as buffers against Soviet Union’s expansion and to counter socialism’s influences in their quest for absolute control over Middle Eastern oil and gas.

Today states such as Saudi Arabia and Iran stress that Islam has only specific veiled versions, of which they are the vanguards. Supposedly, Muslims all over the world must be either Shia like in Iran or Sunni Salafi like in Saudi Arabia.

But, like other religions Islam is very diverse. Peoples’ experiences with it vary based on their specific historical and cultural contexts and perceptions. The Islamic faith also has a rich heritage of reform and transformative discourse, which can be used to facilitate persuasive transition in communities using their own religious guidance.

The Horn of Africa – which includes Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti – is close to the Arab Gulf region and thus it has been largely influenced by Salafi religious militancy ideology.

Here, the challenging religious context is further compounded by the complexity of social identity. Universal citizenship is not affirmed or applied by all states, to the disadvantage of minorities. Often, ethnic and religious affiliations also shape identity – as well as access to resources and services.

I recently heard the story of a donor-funded CVE project in the coastal areas of Kenya, which shows what’s at stake when NGOs, following donor agenda, forget that social and cultural change requires great effort, knowledge, and community ownership.

This project had proposed removing all references to jihad in the Qur’an in Islamic religion classes for “Madrassa” children – provoking anger and revolt from the local community over the presumption that it could intervene in matters of religious identity like this, amending and censoring materials.

Years of experience challenging religious militancy and its impact on women has taught me that pursuing any form of social transformation requires focusing on, and investing in, civil movements from within. It is the role of people living in regions where militant Islam is rife to lead and decide on the best approach to countering it.

Trying to address injustices suffered under militant Islamists requires meticulous and tireless work – but it is one of the most effective approaches.

Women’s movements have also been negotiating and challenging discrimination within different sects of Islamic traditions, text and jurisprudence. Academic Amina Wadud has contributed to a feminist reading of Quranic text based on equality and justice which counter to traditional and militant readings. Addressing religious militancy’s impacts and drivers is also a core priority of the SIHA Horn of Africa women’s network.

This approach must be adopted by political parties too and be connected to wider struggles for democracy, freedom of belief, equality and justice. Unfortunately, most CVE programmes and other counter terrorism strategies can only be characterised as pursuing ‘quick-fixes’ and short-sighted and short-term gains.

Communities in the Horn of Africa must look inside rather than outside for solutions. Within civil society, we must tackle prohibitions and fear of debate and critical engagement with Islam. Internationally, we need a new agenda, centred on liberation, to support movements relevant to the communities most affected by violent extremism.

 

About the author

Hala Alkarib is the Director of the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA), a Horn of Africa based women’s coalition

 

This Article first appeared on openDemocracy

 

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Somaliland: DP World Berbera Investment to Catalyze Enhanced Peace and Stability

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After the President of Somaliland Ahmed Mohamed Siilanyo official invitation from the Ruler of Dubai, UAE. The government of Somaliland engaged in a direct business negotiation with Dubai Ports (DP World).

On Sep 2016, Somaliland government signed an agreement with DP World, which is authorizing the latter to manage and develop the commercial port of Berbera for thirty years. The $440 million deal include expansion of the port and other infrastructure development including highway linking Berbera Port to border with Ethiopia (Tog-Wajale town). The deal sets up a joint venture with 6 percent control together with the government of Somaliland.

This comes after Somaliland showed a political stability and maturity with multi-party democracy striving in a region dominated by civil war and dictatorship. In addition to traditional trade link between the people of Somaliland and Arabian Gulf states.

Undoubtedly, the deal will create jobs and improve the living standard of the people of Somaliland and the region. This will give the landlocked Ethiopia a reliable access to sea, where Somaliland is trusted friend unlike other regional ports. The deal received the support of the elected parliament of Somaliland and it was a hit on the face of those want to hijack the people on poverty and unemployment.

The process of transforming Berbera in to east Africa’s main free trade hub like the UAE’s Jabel Ali Port. The DP World expansion project in Berbera will lead to extensive trade activities, in which Somaliland will control region’s business and trade. Berbera Port will be ready to provide service in helping Ethiopia and South Sudan exporting their natural resources like natural gas and oil.
Today’s world, business interest is the strongest diplomacy where the world will have no option but to recognize Somaliland, as latter will be regional economy power. In other hand, Ethiopia will have loyal friend, Somaliland, who can provide reliable services with seaport access.

In addition to development of Berbera Port, the deal won the Arab world interest in Somaliland on the grounds of ‘an exchange of interest’. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Somaliland received an official invitation from its Egyptian counterpart, where the Somaliland delegation were received with full head-of-state diplomatic reception. The Somaliland Foreign Minister Dr. Saad Ali Shire met with his Egyptian counterpart, and Somaliland Minister of Higher Education met his counterpart during the visit.

Assistant Foreign Minister for African Affairs of Egypt Mohamed Idris expressed the importance of the Somaliland-Egypt relations. Mr. Idris led Egyptian delegation to Hargiesa, capital of Somaliland, in order to solidify the relations. Such Egyptian interest in Somaliland is first of its kind, which showcases a major change in the political attitude towards Somaliland. The below link is about the reports on the latest Egyptian visit to Somaliland:http://onaeg.com/?p=2557762 and http://www.sis.gov.eg/Story/105690?lang=en-us .

Another remarkable event was the consecutive visits of Somaliland presidents to Kuwait who met the Amir of Kuwait His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed. The State of Kuwait sponsored projects in Somaliland including construction of Berbera Airport Terminal and development of Egal International Airport. The UAE based airline, flydubai, started its direct flight to Hargiesa, and signed an agreement with Ministry of Civil Aviation of Somaliland.

The below links represent the international response to the agreement between Republic of Somaliland and DP World:

1. DP World website
http://www.wsj.com/articles/dp-world-to-manage-somaliland-port-of-berbera-1473086050
http://web.dpworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/2016-09-05-Somaliland-Concession_EN-Final.pdf
2. Wall street journal
http://www.wsj.com/articles/dp-world-to-manage-somaliland-port-of-berbera-1473086050
3.Foxnews World
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/09/05/dubai-port-operator-dp-world-inks-deal-for-somaliland-port.html
4. JOC.com
http://www.joc.com/port-news/terminal-operators/dp-world/dp-world-wins-30-year-deal-operate-somaliland-port_20160906.html
5.world maritime news

DP World Wins 30-year Concession for Somaliland Port


6.Gulf news Shipping
http://gulfnews.com/business/sectors/shipping/dp-world-signs-442m-joint-venture-with-somaliland-1.1825624
7. The international news
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/148269-DP-World-to-manage-Somaliland-port
8. The National Business
http://www.thenational.ae/business/shipping/20160528/somaliland-project-opens-up-africa-for-dp-world#2
9. African intelligence
DOSSIER SPECIAL SOMALILAND Publié le 9/8/2015 https://www.africaintelligence.fr/loi/dossier/somaliland/berbera/bollore-dpworld-president-silanyo-ahmed-mohamed-mahamoud
10. Dredging today

DP World Signs $442 Million Berbera Port Deal


11.AMEinfo
http://ameinfo.com/transportation/dubai-dp-world-port-somaliland/
12.Dailymail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-3775616/Dubais-DP-World-manage-Somaliland-port.html
13. The Load Star Editorial
http://theloadstar.co.uk/dp-world-wins-30-year-concession-for-port-of-berbera-in-somaliland/
14. Container Management

DP World wins 30-year concession for port in Somaliland


15.Splash24/7

DP World wins Somaliland port concession


16. reuters
http://af.reuters.com/article/somaliaNews/idAFLUN1A5003
17. Arabian business
http://www.arabianbusiness.com/dubai-s-dp-world-inks-deal-develop-somaliland-port-644553.html#.
18.Lloyds list
https://www.lloydslist.com/ll/sector/ports-and-logistics/article535827.
19.KFMBFM
http://www.kfmbfm.com/story/33015499/dubai-port-operator-dp-world-inks-deal-for-somaliland-port
20.uk.news.yahoo.com
https://uk.news.yahoo.com/dubais-dp-world-manage-somaliland-074713522.html
21.Fairplay
http://fairplay.ihs.com/ports/article/4269506/dp-world-usd442-million-somaliland-port-agreement
22.MinBane
Press Release: DP World Wins 30-Year concession for Port of Berbera in Somaliland (05.09.2016)
23.ABC6 news
http://www.abc6.com/story/33015499/dubai-port-operator-dp-world-inks-deal-for-somaliland-port
24.Rose bank killarney Gazette
http://rosebankkillarneygazette.co.za/afp/207885/dubais-dp-world-to-manage-somaliland-port
25.Hastings Tribune
http://www.hastingstribune.com/dubai-port-operator-dp-world-inks-deal-for-somaliland-port/article_a15fba3d-bd33-51cc-b202-98f3d0d857ae.html
25.Southlands Sun
http://southlandssun.co.za/afp/207885/dubais-dp-world-to-manage-somaliland-port
26.WAND TV or WAND 17
http://www.wandtv.com/story/33015499/dubai-port-operator-dp-world-inks-deal-for-somaliland-port
27. Four ways review
http://fourwaysreview.co.za/afp/207885/dubais-dp-world-to-manage-somaliland-port
28. New castle advertiser
http://newcastleadvertiser.co.za/afp/207885/dubais-dp-world-to-manage-somaliland-port
29.Zululand observer
http://zululandobserver.co.za/afp/207885/dubais-dp-world-to-manage-somaliland-port
30.northern Natal courier
http://northernnatalcourier.co.za/afp/207885/dubais-dp-world-to-manage-somaliland-port
31.my SA
http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/world/article/Dubai-port-operator-DP-World-inks-deal-for-9203580.php
32. Randburg Sun
http://randburgsun.co.za/afp/207885/dubais-dp-world-to-manage-somaliland-port
33.Bedfordview and Edenvale news
http://bedfordviewedenvalenews.co.za/afp/207885/dubais-dp-world-to-manage-somaliland-port
34. scottsbluff Star Herald
http://www.starherald.com/news/nation_world/dubai-port-operator-dp-world-inks-deal-for-somaliland-port/article_7cf3a107-96d3-5a24-a090-d6ccf3db3b77.html
35.Berea Mail
http://bereamail.co.za/afp/207885/dubais-dp-world-to-manage-somaliland-port
36. Port Technology
https://www.porttechnology.org/news/dp_world_win_massive_somalian_port_concession
37. Lemonde Afrique
http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2016/09/06/somaliland-dp-world-remporte-un-contrat-pour-la-gestion-du-port-de-berbera_4993475_3212.html
38.KTAR news
http://ktar.com/story/1260321/dubai-port-operator-dp-world-inks-deal-for-somaliland-port/
39.ajc.com
http://www.ajc.com/ap/ap/top-news/dubai-port-operator-dp-world-inks-deal-for-somalil/
40.mpumalanganews
http://mpumalanganews.co.za/afp/207885/dubais-dp-world-to-manage-somaliland-port
41. www.appeal-democrat.com
42. www.container-news.com
43. www.herald-review.com/
44.thetruth24.info
45.www.fbj-online.com/archives/17712
46.Radio France international
DP World deal ‘helpful’ to Somaliland’s bid for independe 47.www.africasupplychainfrontier.com/ 48.www.marinelink.com
49.cctv-africa.com/2016/
50.DP World获得索马里兰柏培拉港口特许经营权
http://www.cnss.com.cn/html/2016/gjgkxw_0907/235236.html
51. Port news
DP World получит в 30-летнюю концессию инфраструктуру порта Бербера в Сомалиленде
http://portnews.ru/news/225731/
52. jp.wsj
ドバイのDPワールド、ソマリランドと30年の港湾管理で合意
http://jp.wsj.com/articles/SB10513819889225894892604582097510796269148
53. www.Al arab.co.uk
موانئ دبي تدير مرفأ بربرة في أرض الصومال
54.www.i24news.tv/…/115283-160601-تري-صوماليلاند
صوماليلاند تريد أن تجعل بربرة مرفأ استراتيجيا بمساعدة دبي
55. I24news TV
www.i24news.tv/…/115283-160601-تري-صوماليلاند
56.www.emaratalyoum.com
تستثمر 1.62 مليار درهم في أرض الصومال
http://www.emaratalyoum.com/business/local/2016-09-06-1.927365
57.middle east online
المشروع المعلن مع جمهورية أرض الصومال بقيمة
442
مليون دولار ويهدف لتحويل مرفأ بربرة إلى مركز تجاري
إقليمي
http://www.middle-east-online.com/?id=232204
58. www.islamicnews.org.sa
“موانئ دبي” تنال امتياز إدارة مرفأ بربرة في أرض الصومال
http://www.islamicnews.org.sa/page/public/news_details.aspx?id=178839#.V9Q8MI9OJl
59. 24.ae
أعلنت موانيء دبي العالمية الإثنين في بيان للبورصة، فوزها بامتياز يمتد 30 عاماً لإدارة و تطوير ميناء في منطقة أرض الصومال، وبما يحتاج لاستثمارات 442مليون دولار.
http://24.ae/article.aspx?ArticleId=277103
60. al arabi
إدارة مرفأ بربرة في أرض الصومال… لـ”موانئ دبي”
61. France24.com
“موانئ دبي” تنال امتياز إدارة مرفأ بربرة في ارض الصومال
62.اخبار اليمن
موانئ دبي تستحوذ على مرفأ بربرة في أرض الصومال
http://www.hadrah.net/news1677859.html
63.المغرب اليوم
http://www.almaghribtoday.net 64.http://www.raddar.co.il/External-274198.html
65- Ethiopian Foreign Policy
http://www.ethiopianforeignpolicy.com/uae-takes-over-berbera-port-of-

Written By: Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi
Email: az.almutairi@yahoo.com

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Health

Women: Traditions, Culture and Women’s Health

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Written by: Dr. Mariam Abdilahi Dahir

@DrDahir

 

Somali community is distinguished for their richness of cultures and practices, these are tradition aimed at ensuring social cohesion, cultural identity and promotion of belongingness, the positive traditional sides included the extended family support for the women and sharing the difficulties, breastfeeding, childcare/spacing, caring for women in during maternity, all these positive traditional need to be promoted and use it within the younger generations.

Women is vulnerable when she is young although she receives lots of protection from her family (waa inan ha la xanaaneeyo) but she goes under cutting or FGM, she grows with the pain and struggles to survive with this trauma, this is the negative traditional practices that effect the women in the Somali community and effects all her life and risks her health and leaves with complication that can lead to fistula during childbirth or even death. Some researches highlighted that when the girls undergo the cutting they don’t ask support and advice directly from the health workers! and fewer have sought advice from their family members, that shows that the health seeking behavior among women is very low as well they don’t see the FGM complications is a health problem!

When the girls reaches puberty and receive the period they struggle alone, it’s a shame with in Somali community to talk about it even to seek advice from mothers is rare, that makes the girls mismanages and have difficulties sometime to handle properly it might cause drop out from the schools.

The period pain/irregularity and the hormonal changes is difficulties that girls face (unmarried) that is taboo to share with their peers and there is no specialized services in the country, the only time they come to seek health when it get worse or when they develop complications that sometimes difficult to manage.

Child birth is another challenging period that Somali women face, the culture and the traditions plays and important role to shape the mother’s life during this period, the family always connected to each other and take advices from elderly women (some of the positives) but the advices always its not appropriate or its not applicable to the current situation, in the first 3 months in the pregnancy women develops symptoms called morning sickness (walac) they experience nausea, vomiting and anorexia sometimes, this time is critical if they haven’t had the appropriate care and eat nutrients food and  vitamins it will affect the growth of the infant, the elderly women or the peers advice the mothers to eat less and not to take any vitamins; their advice continues to the later stages of pregnancy that  they warn the mother to eat good meals because the baby will grow and they will need surgery during the pregnancy, which is wrong it’s just a believe , pregnant mothers need 8 to 9 meals in the day.

When it comes to women’s rights to health or seek advice from health facilities she usually take the permission from her family/husband this is a challenge the health seeking behavior of the mothers, but the culture gives the husband a power of protecting his woman that makes him over protective and couldn’t understand why she needs to see a health worker/doctor for her health, we are losing a very big number of mother in Somaliland in the child bearing age and the leading cause is “wrong health seeking behavior” with other contributing factors such us limited access in rural areas and poverty.

As we are talking about good traditions we had practices of breastfeeding, some mothers use to breastfeed up to 2 years that was well appreciated but when the urbanization started that practices reduced and changed to bottle feeding that is not health for the mother neither for the child, we need to promote the breastfeeding and learn from our culture.

The child spacing is another huge challenge that health and believes don’t match, health promotes a healthy child spacing methods that supports the mother to have a good time between the pregnancies as well as the child get enough time to grow and thrive but there is some myths that people believes about the modern spacing (pills, injection and implants)  that it’s a foreigner agenda that want us to not grow as a population this is a very challenge piece of work that health workers must work hard and promote healthy child spacing with the community.

Women use to walk long distance and still they are in the rural areas, they build their houses “Somali Huts” they care for their cattle, and move from one place to another by foot, that is healthy they were fit and they use to eat fiber rich foods and drink milk, these are good practices that the city life is reduced women can’t do, they are risk on obesity (baruurtu in kastoo qurux tahay somalida . being  fat is beauty in Somali context) and other chronic disease like hypertension, osteoporosis (bone diseases) Vitamin D deficiency because they are always in their homes or in cars (some in offices) that reduces the sun exposure and other disease that come with immobility, healthy lifestyle is needed and fitness clubs for only women to be initiated.

 

 

Empowering Women- Health, Well-being and Development

Somaliland can reduce maternal and child mortality which is the highest in the world (High maternal (850/100,000 lb) and child mortality (146/ 1000 lb); for achieving the health goals the country must improve in terms of women empowerment and considering its fundamental value in improving women’s well-being and overall positive impact on the family, women empowerment must consider as an important and essential public policy goal. It has been argued that economically empowered women can play a more active role in household decision-making and have greater bargaining power to increase spending on education and health. Women empowerment expands the freedom of choice and action to shape women’s lives and in the long run not only contributes to individual woman, but to the family, society and the country as a whole. Women empowerment is considered as necessary condition for development, although it is not a sufficient condition. Women empowerment has several dimensional focuses and envisages greater access to knowledge, social and economic resources, and greater participation in economic and political decision making processes. It seeks change in the sexual division of labor, equal access to food, healthcare, education, employment opportunities, ownership of land and other assets and access to the media. Despite the involvement in numerous household and income generating activities women’s contribution to the family income is yet to be recognized equally.1

 

Conclusion

Women will be empowered and they will take care of their health when we understand the positives sides of our culture that promotes women’s health well-being and we discourage the negative practices, creating health promotion and health education starting from schools to peer groups, markets and within the communities/villages were women are available, letting women lead their programs and work to improve their health well-being and development, women need to be in the decision making positions but before that let them decide on their health to decide when to seek health and advices this to lead to let women legally sign the life asving surgical operations.

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Health

Somaliland Yaa u Maqan? – Who is Out there Working for Somaliland?

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The title above is a familiar cry one hears when people lament some shortcoming or problem that befalls Somaliland. It’s one we heard when the droughts hit or when political disagreements threatened to unravel the whole place. Yet, it is actually a pertinent question. It implies that there are people out there busy working on behalf of Somaliland (for its peace, security, progress and recognition). But who are they and maxay ku maqanyhiin?
At this point, in most articles containing the word Somaliland, there usually comes the breathless speech about five days of independence, 18th May, elections and the strive for recognition. I will not bother with that, as this is really aimed at Somalilanders who already know all the details off by heart. Let Mr Mikael Torstensson sing it to Swedes.
I will not deny the massive strides Somaliland made in the last twenty-seven years. It indeed made great progress and it’s my strong belief, that one day, it will achieve that elusive international recognition (not from Sheffield, Cardiff or Tower Hamlets, mind). But before I ululate or applaud the progress, I think my point would be better made if we go back right to the point of having a country named Somaliland.
The idea of a nation (at least to my simple mind) is one that has a collection of people aiming for the same purpose and working towards a goal of collective prosperity and progress. The two manifest themselves in the presence of peace, education/employment and health. Today, Somaliland is relatively peaceful and more prosperous than it was twenty-years ago. It has a countless number of universities and the government has dedicated a sizeable chunk of its budget to education. Businesses are springing up every day, lavish structures are being built and the country even has a national broadcasting arm. For all intents and purposes, the place looks like an organised country, smells like one and, more importantly, acts like one.
Yet, Somaliland yaa u maqan? Hundreds of thousands of diasporas send remittances every month. In addition, many of them have taken up the cause of Somaliland in their adoptive countries and are actively trying to sell the idea of recognition to whomever would listen. The goal is clear, the plan is set and all it seemly requires is to never give up, never let up and never stop.
The diaspora is also involved in a side business of supporting the various Somaliland political parties. Kulmiye, Ucid and Wadani have representatives in most countries. They meet, they collect money for the party and organise big events every time a big fish visits from Somaliland. The activism is vibrant, it’s alive and it keeps on whirring on behalf of Muse, Faysal or Abdirahman. The dedication is genuine and the belief is blind.
These same people also run their own familial projects. When a tribal member is ill, a murder takes place or a mosque in their native village requires funds, they band together and run around amongst the clan to collect the tributes. As you can see, at least superficially, Somaliland clearly ‘dad baa u maqan’. Alas, is that really what they’re there for?
Distance has its advantages and disadvantages and I feel that the disadvantages seem to play a bigger part in the case of Somaliland. For in the rush to achieve the recognition or help build the country, many have taken their eyes off the ball and forgot the simple steps of creating a nation. Side issues became more important than the most essential objectives. For example, Somaliland suffers from chronic poverty and serious institutional problems yet people are busy collecting money to build a mosque in areas where great big mosques already exist. Some school and government buildings are in dire state of repair yet Somaliland TV has a branch in the UK. Many roads are a danger to drive on yet the country has embassies and ambassadors in a number of major countries. I choose not to talk about the transient problem of inflation here. That’s due to government policy and the diaspora is not likely to affect it one way or the other.
The question then is, again, Somaliland yaa u maqan? Do the diaspora operate only as cheerleaders and endless pots of money that keeps propping up Somaliland? Does their expertise and “waayo argnimo” limit itself to finding ways to achieve recognition or advising a political party on how to win an election? Is their patriotism confined to singing the praises of Somaliland without pointing out the obvious wastage and mismanagement?
A case in point here is the Burco hospital. Burco is considered the second most populous city in Somaliland. Therefore, one would expect that such a large city would boast a half decent hospital. However, should anyone decide to visit the place, they would be shocked by the lack of equipment, the filthy conditions and mismanagement. Some diaspora is in the process of collecting donations for this hospital. But would that really solve the problem? I mean a hospital can be underfunded yet still remain a sterilised and clean place (or at least show that some attempt was made to keep it clean). This does not happen in Burco hospital. For I have seen pictures of the place taken in the 1990s and I have seen further pictures taken in late 2017. The place didn’t look clean in the 90s and, if anything, it seems to have deteriorated in 2017. Remember, this is a major hospital in one of the biggest cities of a country that has embassies in London, Dubai and Sweden. A country that has radio stations and a national TV.
It seems that every place that would show the world that Somaliland is a healthy, independent and upcoming country has been renovated, supported and sustained. The airport (where diaspora and foreigners come) looks great. Embassies where diaspora can boast about the progress of their nation and the outside world can begin to take Somaliland seriously have been allocated a budget. The national TV Station (and probably one or two government news websites) have been adequately financed. All in order to magnify and amplify the idea that Somaliland is a country on the up. People cheered when Zack Goldsmith talked about the results of the Somaliland elections in the British House of Commons. Others donned the humanitarian garb and went on fighting FGM; “it kills women” they shouted. And, of course, it does. But one assumes that these same one-eyed FGM warriors have visited the Burco hospital in their quest to fight the FGM menace. Have they not seen the conditions of the place? Did it not occur to them to raise a fuss about it? Surely a by-product of doing so would have aided their mission. Again, one assumes a woman or a girl that suffers complications from a botched FGM procedure would need to visit some hospital. What hospital? THAT hospital?
Somaliland dad baa u maqan. Politically it is somewhat a healthy country. But dadka u maqan really need to work on raising awareness on its administrative shortcomings alongside the sterling work they’re already doing on advertising the country. The discussion of the place needs to be turned on its head. Leave the trips of the president to the locals, pay no attention to the wails of the Suldans and don’t worry yourself too much about the arguments with Somalia. Share your waayo aragnimo and tell someone to clean that damn toilet (picture on top).
Ahmed H
London, UK

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