Somalilandsun:The Somali people, wherever they may live have many admirable traits and
share a common language, religion and culture. However, we as a people are
far, far too emotional to ever debate or negotiate rationally. From
grassroots discussions at rural level to high political debates, we are not
able to put emotions aside and deal with the issues facing us in a rational
I must admit, I am on occasions guilty of such high emotions. I am a
fervent Somalilander, and I make no apologies for that. However, that
doesn’t mean I do not wish the best for all Somali people wherever they may
be, both in the Horn of Arice or in the diaspora. I take great pride and
pleasure in the success of those whom we share a common ethnicity with and
commiserate with those who suffer the trails and the tribulations of daily
Having said that, it is worth remembering that it was extreme emotionally
ecstasy that led to the ill-considered and ill-fated union in 1960, and
truth be told, more ecstasy on the Somaliland side than in Somalia. History
is a great teacher, and those who pay attention to it and learn from it
will progress and prosper, and those who don’t, will be forever condemned
to repeat the same mistakes.
Just recently, I watched a debate in Djibouti, with participants from both
Somaliland and Somalia. These debaters considered themselves the
intellectual elite. Fair enough. There were more than enough professors,
doctors and MBA’s present. However, rationality and sensibility are
something either one is born with or learns from life experience. As I
listened to both sides of the debate, and heard the same narrative repeated
over and over again, the need for a new dispensation, the need to respect
and understand each other and so on and so forth. There was one young woman
from Somaliland on the panel, who hit the nail on the head. She said “We
should never deny history, what has taken place, why it happened and it’s
consequences” that in a nutshell is the whole essence of the debate between
Somaliland and Somalia.
We come together as two separate independent entities in 1960 to form a
union that we hoped would benefit all Somalis in the Horn of Africa. That
ambition was not realized and subsequently, the union failed. So, the
question that faces both Somaliland and Somalia, is where do we go from
The overwhelmingly majority of Somalilanders are happy with their lot.
Somaliland is not perfect, no nation is, but what is has achieved on it’s
own, among it’s people, through dialogue, discussion and consensus is
undeniable. There will always be cultural, social and economic ties between
Somaliland and Somalia. However, in order to move the relationship forward
to it’s inevitable conclusion; two independent states, enjoying brotherly
and neighbourly relationship; We need to have meaningful and honest
dialogue, with substantive discussions and accept and honour the conclusion.
At the end of that debate, a gentleman originally from Somaliland and
currently working for the federal government of Somalia, gave a speech full
of emotion, hyperboles and invective. He quoted from Quraanka Kariimka and
Karl Marx at the same time! He quoted from Hadraawi and many other
distinguished Somali scholars. Sadly, however heartfelt and emotional his
speech was, it was not rational and did not offer any meaningful way
forward. This was exactly the kind of emotional rhetoric designed to appeal
to the core of Somalis and hide the truth. This is not the way forward. It
was not in 1960, or 1969 nor can be the way forward 2019 and beyond.
Somaliland and Somalia need to have discussions based on the truth and the
reality on the ground. It is the only way.
The people overwhelming majority of the Somaliland people are not missing
or longing for another union with Somalia. The people of Somalia have to
accept that and respect that decision. Then we can proceed to what our
future relationship will be.
Allaa Mahad Leh