AbdiShakur Jowhar’s article, The end of Somalia: Scenario of Partition, has caused quite a stir. And the response from most Somali readers, I suspect, is revulsion at the specter of doom the article sketches and dismissal of the author as an unabashed secessionist with ulterior motives. I beg to differ!
I have read the article twice, and both times came out quite impressed. Not that this, being impressed with a Jowhar article, is something new to me. I have always found Jowhar a pleasure to read, even when I have drastically disagreed with him. He writes, it appears, with a cheer in his heart, a smile in his face, a song on his lips. True, a smirk can, especially from afar, be mistaken for a smile; but the sense of levity with which he writes is always there, palpable with its effulgent radiance.
This article, though, is of an entirely different tone: matter of fact, raw, and altogether lugubrious.
Mr, Jowher has for once, it seems, met his match in a topic that may have finally tamed him. “It is near-funeral situation,” he cautions, “We should ponder what follows in a somber manner, with thoughtfulness and grief.” This is how he ends the first paragraph and prepares the reader for the grim prognosis.
And so it was that I pressed on, reading the article with growing interest and an open mind. What I found in the article was all I, for quite sometime, needed and wanted to say, only said in a way few could say it: eloquently and quite effectively. Never have I wished to have written an article as much as I have this one. I am in full agreement with the article’s core substance. About the only thing I dislike about it is the concluding line. Considering the solemnity of the article’s content and tone, the “working girl in Criag’s List” stands out as an egregious blasphemy.
But even then, the bizarre ending may reflect the author’s sense of revulsion at the picture he has just drawn, similar to Mary Shelley’s shudder at the conception of her masterpiece, Frankenstein.
To people who do not know me well, I come across as rigid, rustic, aloof; but I can assure you, I have long ago learned not to use my head the way I would my muscles, in as much as a little guy like me has muscles. Flex your muscles, and you gain maximum strength; tense your mind and you achieve idiocy. I have learned to listen to my adversaries, with a soft heart and an open mind. And, when it comes to Somali unity, Jowhar is nothing short of an adversary. But that is for another day. Today, it is all about his rousing words.
I can assure you, the Jowhar I find in this article is far from the one that at times seems frivolous and not so serious. This time, I find a Jowhar that really means what he says. He never sneaks the issue of Somaliland and its secession into the mix, and leaves at least this reader with the sense that the tribes he talks about include those of Somaliland. “Ethiopia and Kenya,” he states, “have finally stumbled upon and mastered the most important lesson about the Somali people; a lesson that the British, French, and Italians found extremely handy in the Scramble for Africa…. Somalia is not a nation in crisis but a group of desperate wild tribes….”
It has not escaped my attention that the author includes Britain among those that long ago learned the lesson. Freudian slip or not, one can only surmise that my own tribe (to use the author’s language), Jowhar’s tribe, and the rest of the tribes of the North are included in what he calls Somalia’s “wild” tribes. This equal opportunity clan bashing is a good thing! It shows that, in this article, Jowhar is following his mind, not his prejudice.
Has Jowhar writen this article with a sense of ridicule and malice?
I don’t think so. What he writes is true and quite scary on its own. It needs and receives no exaggeration. Further, he uses the term Somali people seven times, meaning he is talking of and to the Somali people, an indication of tremendous empathy. He may even have reached a point of no return in his sense of solidarity with the Somali people and identification with their suffering. Only psychopaths can be so callous as to talk to victims so passionately and mean differently. No, not at all! Not even a psychiatrist can make this up.
Let all read this article: those that are unwilling to let go of the past and its grief and bitterness; those that take hold of an enclave and think that’s it! We have won; those that wait for a perfect State that nowhere exists; those that look to the hyenas that are Ethiopia and Kenya to guard the defenseless Somali people. The power of this seminal article emanates not from Mr. Jowhar the person but rather from its validity and veracity. It transcends authorship. Let’s read it with open minds and without cynicism or prejudice.
As to Dr. Abdishakur Sh. Ali Jowher:
There should be no turning back now. This extraordinary article involves you too deeply and ties you too tightly to the cause of the Somali people. Withdrawing now and turning tail is in the realm of treacherous hearts and petty minds.
Mohamoud A. Gaildon
Posted by Hassan A.