The photo was taken 1960 in Addis Ababa. Prime Minister Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal of Somaliland paid a visit to Menelik Palace to request the return of Hawd (Haud) to Somaliland and forge good ties between the two states.
somalilandsun- Egal was a very clever man with very high IQ. He became Prime Minister at the tender age of 30. He was responsible for many of Somali Republic’s policies later after the merger of Somaliland and Somalia thus forming Somali Republic.
Egal later became PM of Somali Republic then its defence minister and sought to regain Haud by force. After short victory against Haile forces in 1963-1964 (now Somali Republic), Ethiopia received massive backing from the United States who wanted to keep their base in Eritrea.
The US then invited Egal to the White House to satisfy him and his demands.
Later when Siad Bare came to power through coup d’etat, he removed Egal from Premiership to one of the minister before restoring him. He imprisoned him more than five times. Siad Bare was thinking once he imprisoned him he would flee and seek asylum but Egal stood by to always play the game from his side. Siad Bare later said Egal was the smartest and most loyal man to the Somali Republic and its politics. He said I imprisoned him to scare him away but he kept coming and I had no choice but to admire his courage and his political supremacy.
Egal was a leading voice for Somali Republic and part of those who coined Greater Somalia agenda. Somalilanders resent hate him and claim he sacrificed their freedom and statehood for mindless southern Somalis, which was not all worth it. However, they admit he was very clever man.
What should Hawdians and fellow Somalis in Ethiopia do in the modern age and the future?
Well first and foremost, we must end seeking secession from the rest of Ethiopia but help re-shape Ethiopia. We should tap into Ethiopia and harness all of its resources and institutions including documentations, registrations, passports, education, scholarships etc. We should focus on gaining our place, voice and ideas within Ethiopia’s space and grab our piece of the big Ethiopian cake.
We must keep our identity, our story, our history, legacy and just inject new sense of wider world by beating the Habesha and co in their own game and even mastering their own history and language better than them.
Then we will reshape it by reinterpreting from our own perspective and they will have hard time keeping up with our debate and arguments. Ethiopia will not forever be a place where the gun rules. Like all places it will soon go into silence.
We must not disable nor burn our bridges to gain the upper hand in southern Ethiopia and its resources. The international community will not either interfere and will regard as an internal struggle.
We just have to move few pieces of the puzzle around in Ethiopia and be more patient.