''It is obvious that almost all African nations know nothing about the existing ground reality in Somaliland, the self proclaimed state in the horn of Africa''. Ahmed Ibrahim Farah (Doodi)
- Now it is about 22 years of self-governing in that region after regaining their lost independence in 1960. As a short history, Somaliland gained its independence from England 26 June in 1960. But unfortunately, Somaliland blindly decided to unite with the southern part of Somalia colonized by Italy, July 1 in the same year (1960). It was that few days in which Somaliland threw its sovereignty into the hands of south Somali people without any reasonable conditions, except liking to establish what was known as “the great Somali” the dead dream, because now Djibouti is an independent state where Somali Ethiopians and Kenyans are enjoying their rights as Ethiopians and Kenyans in their homeland, and that should be respected without question.
That unification, according to my philosophy, was the first big historical mistake ever made by us (Somalilanders). What took place in Somali republic post unification was written in the ever existing pages of history. Unjustly, the distribution of power and resources were not shared equally between the united parts of Somalia. People from northern part of Somalia (previous Somaliland) received iron hand from the successive body of governments that ruled Somalia in almost three decades.
There was widespread pressure upon civilian people, where nobody was ever allowed to express his opinions openly, particularly in the era of dictatorship; it was a land of total curfew. These phenomena catalyzed the uprisings of the civilian people which finally turned into wars of massive scale. These wars claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians, and millions fled from their homes to cross the border, running away from the same national forces that were supposed to save the lives of these civilians in which the tax they paid was fed!! Cities were massively ruined and no stone was left standing, turning the big cities into “cities of ghosts”’. Everything was looted; even no single nail had been left. What a thirst wolves! The hostile environment and cities of ghosts were changed gradually into peaceful land, and opportunities of starting live reborn again. Every person collected the remaining stones from the ground to clean the area in which once his house erected. Really it takes me time to make you mentally visualize that horrible situation. Let me leave it for the history!
After some years of struggling, where lives and properties were sacrificed, the northern part of Somalia was cleared from the hands of wolves that shed and drunk the blood of civilian people. Now the decision of the land and properties in it returned back to whom it was previously belonged! The armed militia (SNM) completely controlled the region, now Somaliland.
After that, elders from the different clans that dwell in Somaliland gathered in Buroa and reconciliations among clans were successfully made. Here the decision of separating other part of Somalia came out, and Somaliland claimed to be an independent state in 18 May 1991 where national commemorations take place every year this time. But the task ahead is difficult, because Somaliland is no longer part of Somalia, and no country was willing to recognize Somaliland so early. The situation worsened when central and southern parts of Somalia went deep into muddy ground of human blood especially the capital city of Somalia Mogadishu, where warlords are the game players in which the only tool they used was clan based ideology.
These opposing realities prolonged any possible recognition from the international community or negotiating with southern part of Somalia. And Somaliland is kept in that dark room of ignoring it right to exist. Particularly African union put a black mask on the region, may be that is all they can or could possibly do for both Somaliland and Somalia! Even though, troops from some African countries were recently sent to Somalia to fight with Somali troops against militants. To my surprise the Arab league has done nothing more than useless meetings which seemed to be imbalance, showing self-tendency to south Somalia. While Arab kings and leaders kept drinking soft drinks watching that sinking poor nation deep into the oceans of disaster on TV programs! I am saying this, because Somalia was and is still a member of the Arab league.
However, Somaliland held many other meetings to strengthen the very fragile peace, such as the meetings which were held in Borama and Hargeisa in 1993 and 1997 respectively. The system of Somaliland won to rehabilitate the militia, and schools were opened even though no single classroom was left standing. Students used to learn under the shade of trees sitting on cans, no chairs no facilities. Throughout these years schools, hospitals and police stations gradually reached to the standard point.
Somaliland has everything required from any given state, government with its different organs, two houses of parliament, executive body and judiciary, its own currency and flag and above all well defined constitution and the country is led by democratically elected president from the opposition party at the time. Opposition parties play their role in the ground with the free press taking its piece as well. Somaliland held a number of free and fair elections according to the international standard witnessed by international observers. Still I believe many more things need to be acted upon, like having strategy to end any conflict among people of Somaliland east and west and so on.
Somaliland government kept all peace spoilers at bay such as piracy and the like with little or without the help of international community and it is peacefully living with its neighbors, because the government and people of Somaliland believe that this job is theirs. But if this fact is denied, the consequences will have its impact on the horn of Africa, a region of prolonged conflict, adding fuel to the pre-existing fire, because the task is very heavy for this poor nation to handle of its own.
I believe this is the only hope we have to tackle the problems in Somalia or to put off the fire because Somalia can learn from the experience of Somaliland out of charge, if self acceptance in both sides is the only common goal and the benefit of these nations are respected mutually (Somaliland and Somalia)! This is the existing reality that no one can deny, particularly the federal government of Somalia and its people as a whole should avoid ignoring the right of the Somaliland people to exist as a nation.
Truly speaking the problem will ever keep running if the existing facts on the ground are denied. The region is under potential threat if the political dispute in the region cannot be solved by backing any possible meetings between Somaliland and Somalia that can conclude the misunderstandings in a clear and transparent way of reaching final solutions for the future generations of both nations to come. This potential threat can be ignited by any means of denial of Somaliland rights, when I am saying this; I mean the international community should first of all study everything from the grass root to avoid any bias. Because I believe it is too early to decide that federal government of Somalia will have opportunity over other parts of Somalia since it is very week and territories under the control of that government is not worth to mention. Some people believe that the international community including neighboring countries is responsible for the prolonged problems in Somalia, but according to my point of view I think that it is for Somalis “bad carpenter blames his tool” is applicable here!! Any single dispute can turn the whole region into battleground hosting peace spoilers and all rubbish minded groups.
To conclude, many efforts were made to settle down in order to overcome the prolonged problems of south Somalia including number of meetings backed by the international community since time, but now the federal government of Somalia acts to be the right and only legitimate state that has power to put its strategies forward which seems to us beyond reach at this particular time , however ignoring the reality of Somaliland will not help such efforts to move the wheel forward into a world of tranquility and prosperity. Somalia should forget another unification with Somaliland which would be another historical mistake taken forward. The truth is the truth and eventually it enforces! Somaliland people believe that there is no way back from their right to exist as an independent state where its sovereignty is indispensible and beyond question.
Ahmed Ibrahim Farah (Doodi)