Until When Will We be Pawns in a Chessboard? By Dr. Suleiman Walhad

pawn Over 50 years of African independence have passed and yet Africa still seems to be under the tutelage of others, In the Somali context, we are no better but worse by far in many respects. In fact we have gone decades and decades behind others by ruining our country and the future of our people through senseless tribal strife, although we cannot and should not rule out the meddling of others in our internal Somali-Somali affairs.

We cannot, however, continue to play the blame game. It is us who open the doors for others to maneuver themselves into our affairs. Some of them have become maraboob and it is not easy to rid ourselves of these cockroaches. And so, we cannot blame them, for it is not their fault.

We have rich resources and comparatively a substantial number of our population is supposedly educated. We are located in one of the most strategic locations of the world. We enjoy a coastline that is longer than anywhere else in Africa. We straddle the world’s major trade sea routes where over 70 % and soon over 80 % of the world’s trade would pass. Instead of harnessing these resources in the best way possible for our benefits, our people have embarked on looting and sea piracy, further stigmatizing our people as the “No Gooders”.

The Somalis continue to be killing each other these days on the behest of others, thus continuing the tutelage of others from the West as well as from the East, peu import; they are foreign to the Somali. How many kids are dying for motives beyond their comprehension?

This year is considered to be one Africa’s great landmarks for it is the year that one of the world’s most popular sporting events, namely the “World Football Cup” would be held in Africa. Shame on the Somali! What do we have to show for ourselves in this year of Africa – Keynaan, the rapper only!!  He cannot even go home and enjoy peaceful days with his people.

Although the general picture remains bleak for the Somali people of the world, yet there are pockets of excellence in the Somali context, Somaliland mostly but also to some extent Puntland, where peace has been re-established and where people like other parts of the world go about their normal daily chores. It is in these lands, where a semblance of the true Somaliness is showing in terms of entrepreneurship, community interest, identity and comfort with being Somali, abhorring others who try to meddle in their affairs, self confidence and self reliance and Istaageera Weligiin.

There is no shortage of resources in our lands and seas and as we said there is no deficiency of knowledge. Then, what is holding us back? It is very simple. It is a matter of perception. The African including the Somali perceives that he cannot do. We have to beat back that insecurity and show them that they can.

We have over the years noted and proved that we can do and what is happening in Somaliland and to some extent in Puntland is a clear example that we can do. We do not borrow and we do not fret over the largely ceremonial gifts from others through what they call the “NGOs”. We are not burdened by the demands of organizations such as the World Bank and the IMF and we advise our people, at least in the Awdal and the surrounding areas, not to fall for the World Food Progam “WFP” handouts. We urge them to grow their own food and save portions of the harvest in our traditional pharaonic boholo.

We have created our own educational institutions and built a reasonably good health infrastructure that caters for our population. We are working on our other physical infrastructures such as roads and ports. We have built our own advanced telecommunication companies, media networks in the form of TV stations, newspapers, air travel facilities, ports and many other services that meet the needs of our population, without extending begging hands. All of these have been established with our own resources and most importantly with our minds.

It all boils down to self confidence and the will to do and we will continue to demonstrate our aspirations one at a time. We urge our people to self investigate themselves and check and see where they can help and be useful to themselves and their people. We were in this world before the pharaohs in the land of Punt and we gave rise to many nations such as the Pharaohs and the Arabs and some of the African peoples such as the Aksumites and the Nubians and many others.

Despite the extremely large and insurmountable forces arrayed against our people, we have shown our resilience and survivability and today many of our people’s achievements are felt in places like Nairobi, Addis Ababa, and Dar Es Salam all the way to Southern Africa. Their activities and ingenuity is also felt in Arabia, particularly in the trading cities of Dubai and Jeddah. They have gone even further and they have established bases in China and many of the South Asian countries. I should not forget Europe and the Americas, where they are pushing the boundaries of their business acumen.

This does not mean that they are not making mistakes. They are. The mess of South Somalia is a perfect example. It is our hope they will one day wake up and join their Northern brothers in establishing peace in their lands. The fact that all Somalis at the individual level is not really free from some kind of tribal sentiment is another matter exploited by foreigners and the enemies of the Somali people, to the extent that some of them even, proudly and without fear of a backlash from the Somalis, say, that the Somali lands should be divided between Kenya and Ethiopia. Yet they do not raise a finger!!!!!!!!!!

This could not have happened even before a quarter of a century ago, when the Somali was a proud partner in the Affairs of Africa, the Arabs and world. How far down the hill have we gone? How far are we prepared to go? These are questions that we want every Somali to ask himself and/or herself. We all have to ask ourselves, also, “Do we want to be relevant to the rest of the world?” It is only then that we will start to realize our potential, which I believe, is enormous.

Dr. Suleiman Walhad

Email: suleimanwalhad@yahoo.com

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