What Has Become a Somali Way of Life!
By Abdirizak A. Aden (Eelay)
In the eyes of the whole world, we have failed to organize one single Somali owned initiative independent from foreign nationals to sort out our differences. This has become our way of life for the last quarter of a century. Not only do our politicians, clan leaders, and intellectuals have trouble agreeing on anything, but they still have not managed to sit and talk to each other as a collective body. During this period, international communities have assumed full authority on breaking deals with or without our consent. They’re also responsible for overseeing and safeguarding our sovereignty. However, due to constant infighting and unpatriotic attitude, not all their efforts have been materialized successfully as planned. We failed them, too, in many ways. We’re captivated in sleeping with old problems rather than committing to finding new solutions. How could we possibly resolve our differences if we cannot possibly manage to talk, listen, and respect each other? When people talk, it brings them together and as a result, great things may in turn happen. Do we not know this wisdom? A quote by Henry Ford: “Coming together is the beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” Somali people have made a choice. We have chosen NOT to talk to each other. Yes, that’s a Somali way of life!
We have failed to learn to live in peace; we have always fought that “nonsense war”. As a result of inter-clan and inter-factional fighting, almost a million people, directly or indirectly, lost their lives. Killing each other has become a way of life in Somalia. To further complicate the situation, the killings have been justified through clan principles or unfounded religious beliefs. Unfortunately, I don’t see it ending anytime soon; even worse, the current situation in Somalia is so polarized that we’re at each other’s throat. President Kennedy was quoted saying that, “Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind”. I honestly believe that war will eventually put an end to our sovereignty if we continue practicing this Somali way of life. When are we going to learn there is better alternative to war?
Higher political positions in Somalia are up for grabs to anyone with quazi-zero experience in leadership and no educational background. I wonder why so many unqualified candidates are tempting to fill in? Yes, getting rich fast, legally! I guess that is what everybody is looking for. Misappropriating public resource is a phenomenon that’s widely accepted, tolerated to a great extent and every so often considered legitimate in our society. We love other people’s money; money equates power. It’s a Somali way to ride the coattails of the man with power and money, regardless of how he gets there. Due to their power and well-off status, we disgracefully selected even common criminals to lead the country. Yes we have and they led us to misery. That’s a Somali way of life! We’re always hearing that international community is backing up one of the political candidates (hebel waa la wataa!). For ordinary people, this candidate is a Western puppet and has upper hand in winning elections. There could be some truth to that. Regardless, everybody is trying to get international community blessings whether or not its mandate is against our sovereignty. We never miss a chance to place our selfish desire ahead of the general welfare of the public. In addition to that, extending government term of office has been a popular policy strategy for all Somali politicians to stay in power, unlawfully, for just one important reason-greed. This is a national embarrassment indeed! Since the civil war, Head of States from different level of governments (Central or Federal government, Puntland, Somaliland, etc) have all tried and with success, extended their political term. It’s a Somali way to break the law of the land and get away with it. Our sovereignty has taken a backseat to selfishness and greed. The only success we know is based on someone else’s failure. We really haven’t learned anything, have we? It’s a Somali way to accept no blame for our mistakes and take credit for all the work done by others (UN, AMISOM, IGAD, etc). “It’s our turn to rule the country” attitude is a Somali way of life that will continue to have an effect through our entire lifetime. No other clan is as loyal to the government in charge other than those from the ruling clan itself. Somali Diasporas are not free from blame either. In fact, they’re greatly affected and conditioned to conduct along the same rules of the clan. For instance, when a higher ranking official is visiting abroad, only those Diasporas with the same clan and their associates are in line to cheer for their fellow men. Their political analysis is always based on clan’s perspective and it’s considered, socially and politically, suicidal to go against it. It’s a sea full of politicians and advisers. That’s a Somali way of life! Based on clan lineage, Somalis are blindly following the disgraceful guidance of warlords and baseless teachings of religious extremists. We’re caught up in their trap and reacting to it without thinking straight. When we present ourselves as ‘Reer Hebel, it’s regarded as praiseworthy. Due to strong clan protection system and safety net, criminals of the civil war are walking freely in the streets of all major cities of the country. It’s the crime that usually gets people in trouble, but, as they say, the cover up is always worse than the crime. After the civil war, the social status of a Somali man is based on his ruthless, greed, dishonesty, unpatriotic and clan loyalty. That has become a Somali way of life!
In general, Somali people with different clans have never stopped sharing teas, food and partying together. Inter-clan marriage has reached the highest level since the civil war. We pray side by side and show love to each other all the time. However, it’s a Somali way to brag about clan superiority and put others down just to make ourselves feel better. As well, we’re all subordinates serving the ever-changing and never-ending needs of the clan. In the end, we feel fulfilled and proud to ourselves. That’s why we don’t shy away from expressing clan sentiments through the air waves (Radios, TVs, etc) as well as sit-in coffee shops. Also, it’s mindboggling to note that, every Somali website is owned and operated by one of the clans. It’s another huge propaganda machine that serves and broadcasts clan principles and its political agenda. After all, we are all subjects of our respective clans. It’s a Somali way to show our clan identity very proudly above anything else. Again, our sovereignty has taken a backseat to clan loyalty. It’s an exception to the rule of Somali way of life to find a Somali man trying to make a difference on people’s lives. However, if someone with extraordinary will and courage plans to do so, then rest of us will unite all our forces to disapprove and condemn his actions. Our role models and champions are warlords, pirates, religious extremists and corrupted leaders. They’re the founding fathers of Somali way of life. We all draw our wisdom and guidance from them while the rest of the world branded them as enemies of Somali society. Unfortunately, it shows no sign of ending this behavior anytime soon. In the end, their actions become the only true Somali image that will stick in the hearts and minds of world community. That’s a Somali way of life!
Regardless of the source of the money, we keep building more and more mosques in every corner of the world. As there are many competing religious ideologies, different factions fight for political power, resources and territories. To name just few, Al-Itixaad, Al-Shabaab, Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jamaaca, Al-Islaax, Al-Damul Jadiid, Al-Xisbul Islaam, Al-Ictisaam, Al-Salifiya Jadiid, Aala-Sheikh, and many more. Most Somalis are openly associated with one or another of these factions. Due to their influence, younger Somalis put their life on hold to practice one of these ideologies and serve the order of their religious leaders- at any cost. Not only young adults but People in every age group are now filling up mosques in great numbers and appear to be very religious. Judging from physical appearances, both Somali men and women have switched and adapted to a new and imported dress codes due to the influence of the religious factions. However, the new appearance is not consistent with the brutal actions and the mass atrocities we’ve committed for the last quarter of a century. It sounds like we have dual personalities. On one hand, we appear very religious on the outside, but on the other hand, we’re monsters killing unequivocally other humans for no reason (Somalis and non-Somalis; Muslims and non-Muslims). You would expect that decent religious people value human life! Who we are deceiving? It is obvious that the appearance is just a cover up and it’s known to the whole world that Somali people are barbaric in nature that cannot be domesticated. We have alienated ourselves from other civilized nations in the world. Once again, our sovereignty has taken a backseat to groundless religious ideologies. Yes, this is who we actually are and it has become our way of life!
We’re the only people on earth that praises for anarchy and promotes stateless. We have a culture that thrives on violence and encourages chaos. Soon our country will be on sale for the lowest bidder if we continue down this path. I sometimes wonder what impaired our judgment. The fact of the matter is, our judgment in making rational decisions has deteriorated over the years. After almost a quarter of a century with over a dozen peace conferences, it’s practically proven that Somalis cannot govern themselves. However, we oppose and defy collectively if world community recommends new trusteeship mandate on Somalia again. That’s a Somali way of life!
Honestly, the world is tired of supporting our way of life; it’s costing too much world resources. Ladies and gentlemen, our people are morally polluted and our way of life has become a distinguished indicator of social disgrace. Life is all about the choices we make. With all other good choices available to us, unfortunately, Somali way of life has become our choice. I believe Somali way of life has placed our sovereignty in the backseat and is the only obstacle holding the whole country back.
Abdirizak A. Aden (Eelay) Email:firstname.lastname@example.org