.....(Hal-ku-dhigyo Dhaxal-gal Noqday) = ..... President, C/raxmaan A. Cali: ''Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland dib ayay ula soo Noqotay Qaran-nimadeedii sidaa awgeed, waa dal xor ah oo gooni u taagan maanta (18/05/1991) laga bilaabo''...>>>>> President, Maxamad I.Cigaal:''Jiritaanka Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland'' Waa mid waafaqsan xeerasha u-degsan Caalamka! Sidaa darteed, waa Qaran xaq u leh in Aduunku aqoonsado''...>>>>> President, Daahir R. Kaahin: ''Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland waa dal diimuqraadi ah oo caalamka ka sugaya Ictiraafkiisa''...>>>>> President, Axmed M. Siilaanyo: ''Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland, Boqol sano haday ku qaadanayso helista Ictiraafkeedu way Sugaysaa! Mar dambena la midoobi mayso Somalia-Italia''.....[***** Ha Jirto J.Somaliland Oo Ha Joogto Waligeed *****].....

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The British Commonwealth: A remarkable institution

- When asked which international institution most closely resembles the United Nations, the average person probably wouldn’t have the correct answer. But a well-informed person would. Such a person would say: the British Commonwealth of Nations. That would be the correct answer.

The British Commonwealth of Nations – the Commonwealth, for short – is the international institution that most closely resembles the UN. The resemblance comes not only from the number of Commonwealth members; it comes also from their geographical distribution and cultural variety.
British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill’s famous remark “The sun never sets on the British Empire” was interpreted by his critics in Britain and overseas as a statement of arrogance and conceit on the part of Britain’s political leader. In actual fact Sir Winston was only speaking the truth: as it journeyed from east to west across the globe the sun never ceased to shine on a country formerly or currently ruled by Britain.

Taking place in London this week is the annual gathering – in effect it is the summit – of the heads of state of the 53 overseas members of the Commonwealth. It is the biggest gathering of heads of state outside the opening of the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly. The host and de facto presiding officer of this week’s meeting is Queen Elizabeth II, who has been retained as head of sate by Canada, Australia, New Zealand and some of the other old British colonies.

In a show of North America-type independence Canada several years ago dropped the Union Jack as its flag and “God Save the Queen” as its national anthem, but Australia and New Zealand have stayed true to the Crown and London. 

A little while back the Australian government held a referendum on the issue of retention of Britain’s Queen as Australia’s head of state; a substantial majority of the Australian people voted in favor of retaining Queen Elizabeth II.

The Commonwealth truly is a mini-UN. Its membership includes countries as distant from one another and as different from one another as Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific area, Chinese SAR (Special Administrative Region) Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore in East Asia, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan and Mauritius in South Asia, British Somaliland, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Botswana, Swaziland and South Africa in the eastern part of the African continent, Gambia, Nigeria and Ghana in West Africa, Belize and numerous Carribean islands, the Folkland Islands and Cyprus and Gibraltar in Europe. Truly the UN in miniature. A history of British rule in every continent except Antarctica.

The biggest would-have-been member of the Commonwealth – the one that got away – is of course the US. Many historians have argued that were it not for the short-sightedness of King George III and the then-Parliament, there would have been no bitter War of Independence and the US would now be a member of the Commonwealth. But of course relations between America and the members of the Commonwealth family have always been cordial, and the US has always been a welcome guest at the Commonwealth table.

The beauty about the Commonwealth idea is that there is a common focus of allegiance, goodwill and friendship. That is the British monarchy. The British sovereign has remained very popular n her former colonies and her visits to them are requested and welcomed. Even in countries like India, where British rule was once detested and opposed.

How has the Commonwealth managed to survive during the long period since the 1940s, when the process of decolonization began? Did it survive by maintaining the principle of non-interference in other Commonwealth members’ affairs and sweeping contentious issues – diplomatic, economic and cultural – under the ring? Not at all. Realizing that such issues are likely, eventually, to affect all its members, the annual gathering of the Commonwealth heads of state do not avoid discussion of such issues, but the discussion is always done in an atmosphere of fraternity and goodwill and the glorious institution. Long may it last.

By Rudy Romero (The Standerd)

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