By: Yusuf Dirir Ali
Somalilandsun – The International community recognizes the undemocratically selected Somalia government in Mogadishu without giving in-depth considerations and offering the same status to Somalia’s former equal union partner to the North – the Republic of Somaliland. Due to the indifference and illegal negligence of Somaliland by the international Community, the Somaliland people have concluded that the International Community is just plain wrong and disrespectful towards the Republic of Somaliland.
Not only that, but calling the democratic Republic of Somaliland an autonomous region of Somalia is cheap affront and those who are relentlessly doing this injustice to Somaliland will be kept in memory.
The International Community needs to pause for a second and ask the following questions: Is the current Somalia State with its selected government in Mogadishu (Federal Republic of Somalia) analogous to the internationally recognized Somali Republic state that existed before the downfall of the Siad Barre dictatorial regime? The simple answer is NO.
To better understand the current events in Somaliland and Somalia, perhaps, it will be more appropriate for the International community to look back at the history of the former Somali Republic. And not only that, but also the whole picture must be viewed in light of the two states’ political divergence that took place before and since the collapse of the former Somali Republic in 1991.
As we all know, the Somali Republic was formed by the union of the former British Protectorate Somaliland and the former Italian colony of Somalia. Somaliland gained its independence from Britain on June on 26th, 1960 and Somalia gained its Independence from Italy on July1st, 1960. The two states formed a controversially united country called “The Somali Republic”.
Why do I say controversial union? Because that union was never rectified by the democratically elected Somaliland assembly and a latter on in early 1960s a referendum was held to cement the Somaliland- Somalia union. That referendum was overwhelmingly rejected by the Somaliland citizenry and at the same time, that referendum was declared fraudulent by the United Nations reports of that era? For that reason, the people of Somaliland were embittered and sidelined by the Somalia dominated successive administrations.
At the outset, the objectives of the Somalia-Somaliland union failed to realize its most important objective, which was to unite all five Somali territories in the Horn of Africa under one state. The five territories were represented by the white star on the Somali Republic blue flag. The star represented Somaliland, Somalia, Djibouti, the present Somali region of Ethiopia and the Northern Frontier District (NFD) of Kenya.
The successive Somali Republic regimes including the dictatorial regime of Siad Barre have made multiple attempts to unite the Somali territories control both through diplomacy and military force and all those efforts went in vain. Siad Barre waged a disastrous military campaign in 1977 against Ethiopia and after sustaining a humiliating defeat he turned his guns towards the Somali Republic’s army. In one single go the Siad Barre regime murdered more than 80 of the brightest of the bright of the Somali military high ranking officers. Their crime was, hailing from Isaaq, the majority clan in Somaliland. At that same year Djibouti gained its independence from France and having learned their lessons from the Somaliland experience, Djiboutians decided to stay away from the Greater Somali deceptive dream. Djibouti has common borders with Somaliland and its Somali population has common ancestral origins as the population of Somaliland. In other words, the same tribes stride out on both sides of the border between Somaliland and Djibouti.
After failing to cajole Djibouti to join the hoax Somali Republic union and losing the war in Ethiopia, the Mogadishu regime used its heavy artillery, bombers and all his other military might and fire power to annhilate the isolated and helpless Somaliland civilian. Hundreds of thousands of Somaliland civilians were killed, all most all the Somaliland civilians that survived the regimes extermination sought refugee in Ethiopia and all Somaliland cities, towns and villages were leveled to the ground. Scores of Somaliland civilians were buried alive others burned alive and their burning bodies were photographed with smiling soldiers of the Siad Barre regime, who set them alight.
Syrian war will look as hide and seek game in comparison to what took place in Somaliland in 1988. At least the Syrian refugee civilians are getting humanitarian assistance and the opposition is being insufficiently armed, these luxuries were not available to Somalilanders. Do not get me wrong, I hate what is going on in Syria and feel the International community is not doing enough to help defeat Basher Al Assad’s inhumane regime, but still the truth can not be ignored and must be told even in this horrific manner and comparison.
Any sensible human being would ask; where was the International Community? And why didn’t the International community intervene when these gruesome crimes against humanity were being committed under its watch?
Suffice to say, the military hardware used by the regime to exterminate Somaliland population was inherited from the Soviet Union and at the climax of those gross human rights transgressions, more heavy arms were being supplied by the USA government and by some sisterly Arab countries. The Somalia people – the same brothers and sisters who formed the union with Somaliland, were also cheer-leading for Siad Barre’s war machine.
Dozens of innocent Somaliland citizens were taken from their homes in Mogadishu – the capital of the Somali Republic and were murdered in the famous Jaziira beach. Those innocent civilians were murdered by soldiers under the direct command of Siad Barre’s own son. What do you think happened in Mogadishu at next daybreak and when the bodies of the victims were discovered? One would expect outrage and unrest in the street of any other national capital, but Mogadishu was different and business went on as usual with no body caring about what happened to “a bunch of Somaliland émigrés to Somalia”. And what do you think happened to Masslah Mohamed Siad Barre the perpetrator of the Jaziira beach carnage? Is he fugitive or in jail? Far from that, Massalah was received with open arms in Mogadishu after the downfall of his father and he even ran twice for the Presidency of Somalia , once in Kenya against sheikh Shariif and more recently in Mogadishu against Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the current selected President of Somalia.
After the downfall of Siad Barre, a political tsunami akin to the breakdown of the Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia Republics took place in the Somali Republic. The borders of the Somali Republic have changed and the country was automatically fractured into two states with two different national constitutions, governments, military forces and even two different political systems and national currencies. The collapse of the Somali Republic was caused by the warlords in Mogadishu, who ignored Somaliland and formed their own governments.
The Somalia government changed hands between warlords in various internationally supported conferences. Finally, the current Somalia’s selected government of Hassan-Shirdoon was created and a new Federal Somalia constitution was adopted. However, the Democratically elected government of the Republic of Somaliland had nothing to do with Somalia’s political processes.
In short, the two former Somali Republic states are now two de facto neighboring countries – The Republic of Somaliland and The Federal Republic of Somalia. They both unilaterally reverted back to their respective pre-colonial names and borders.
The crimes of the Somalia government does not end here, but as recent as two weeks ago, the current Prime Minister of Somalia, who himself is an alleged war criminal has written to the USA Secretary of State. In his letter Mr. Shirdoon, the Somalia Prime Minister extended diplomatic immunity to Gen. Mohamed Ali Samater, who was the former said Barre’s Prime Minister, defense Minister and the mastermind of the Somaliland war of extermination. Gen. Samater admitted to his role in that war in a USA court and was ordered to pay millions of dollars in compensation to some survivors and surviving loved ones of those who were murdered by Gen. Samater.
the current Somalia government disregards its continuous atrocities and selfishly claims to have the God given right of representing in the International arena and even insists on selecting representatives on behalf of Somalilanders in Mogadishu swindle government . The Mogadishu warlords do not understand the importance of the Somaliland referendum and the role of the democratically elected government of Somaliland. Simply said, democracy and self-determination are not in Somalia’s dictionary.
I think the whole world is familiar the terrible on going stories of civil war, anarchy, terrorism, warlords, piracy and illegal human-trafficking in Somalia.
Contrary to Somalia, Somaliland did not waste its time on reminiscing in gloomy past with Somalia, did not cross their arms and waited for handouts from the International Community. Somalilander put their whole energy in living in peace with themselves, with their neighbors and with the rest of the world. Somaliland built its country and institutions from zero. Somaliland is now heading to a new era of economic prosperity and is working hard to exploit its natural resources. Somaliland is a cooperating member of the International community and keeps terrorists and sea pirate at bay. But still the International community favors Somalia more than Somaliland.
In conclusion, Somaliland and Somalia were equal partners in the former Somali Republic they co-owned the International recognition of the Somali Republic, but now it seems the International community is biased against Somaliland and is giving an undeserved recognition to the wrong side – Somalia.
I don’t know what Somalia has done to be helped by the International community in snatching the Somaliland-Somalia seat in the United Nations and memberships in all other International organizations? Why is the International community rewarding and siding with the criminals and not with the victims is beyond my imagination. If the Somaliland achievements of peace, good governance, security, democracy and economic development do not pay off, then please let us know what pays off.
Perhaps, warlords, anarchy, terrorism, sea piracy, economic misery and sending rape victims to Federal Somalia prisons in Mogadishu are better valued than the democratic ideals of the Republic of Somaliland. If the other three Somali territories were allowed go in their own divergent ways, then why is the International community is wrongfully stitching Somaliland to Somalia? This whole affair is beyond my comprehension and I am lost for words and can only ask; what kind of international justice is this?