I am writing to you regarding to your article, “Proposal of New Name for Somalilaand Republic”, that was published on the Qaran News on February 16, 2017in which you advocated changing the name of the “Republic of Somaliland” to the “Republic of Sahel” so there’s no longer a confusion between the names of Somalia and that of the Republic of Somaliland which obviously causes so much confusion to those that are interested in to know the differences between the two above mentioned names. Consequently I do agree with you that there must be a better way to separate and distinguish between two names if a total separation is to take place.
This then reminded me a similar debate that took place among friends that belonged to the Somaliland Forum that was created right after Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia. We at the time brainstormed and finally came up with a name that we thought was authentically Somali, and more importantly was used as a nickname for Somaliland, namely “Maandeeq”. This group, mostly in diaspora, did suggest that in early 1990 to then President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal who was the President of Somaliland. Had this suggestion or similar one been adopted at that time I believe we would have spared the many questions and confusions that arise every time the name Somaliland is uttered, namely how Somaliland differs from Somalia! So the names we have come up with were: Maandeeqland and Puntland. Unfortunately Puntland which was the historical name that belonged to present day Somaliland was then taken up by “Majertenia”.
However Maandeeq is still available. Even though this name sounds generally very cumbersome and hard to pronounce, it is naturally within that territory. Naming citizens that are derived from “Maandeeqland” is not that easy either. But I believe the name Maandeeqland or just Maandeeq is more authentic than Sahel (an Arabic name) that has no ethnic roots in Somali or African heritage.
Lastly, while at this subject, let’s think about the flag too. I believe the “Thowheed” on the flag should be deleted as it’s not appropriate to be part of a piece that people take into inappropriate places such as washrooms. Also the color should be rearranged so as they are not so similar to other nations flags such as Iran, Italy etc. And that “black star” should be totally gotten rid off as it symbolizes something that seems malevolent. So let the debate begin as Somaliland badly needs name recognition, and a flag that is very unique to the Republic.
Yussuf Sultan Ali
New Jersey, USA