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The SSC Comeback
By Mahado Sheikh Dahir
January 10, 2012

William Topaz McGonagall (1825–1902) not only won notoriety for being the most dreadful poet of all time in the English-speaking world, but also for showing no regard or recognition whatsoever for his peer’s views of his work. Yet, if history were to be charitable to the Scot, he could have been remembered for chronicling momentous battles and events he witnessed, with farcical but candid prose packaged as poetry. "The relief of Mafeking", one of his counterfeit poems, is entertaining for its horrendous pretense than for its lyrical potency. Here are the first lines, which will rock your kidneys for a much-needed release by way of a lengthy laughter:

“Success to Colonel Baden-Powell and his praises loudly sing,
For being so brave in relieving Mafeking,
With his gallant little band of eight hundred men,
They made the Boers fly from Mafeking like sheep escaping from a pen”
Faisal Ali Waraabe
Faisal Ali Waraabe

McGonagall’s personification in the Somali political circles is an opulently bald man named Faysal Ali Waraabe, chairman of one of the opposition parties in Somaliland (North Western Somalia). He is callous, full of vitriol, rough and all. But he captures the mood of the day and the talk of Hargeisa town rather fittingly and also says it with exceptional candor. And, lately he is breathing fast and short, is in combative mode, and remonstrating.

His problem? - The secession dream of Somaliland is getting into a dead-end, the passageways of recognition are getting blurry and befuddling. He is not worried about Presidency and the higher perch. He is worried for the fate of his “home-land”. It is fragmenting, he says.

Somalia is coming back, he wailed. Sool-Sanaag-Cayn (SSC) is rising, and so Somalia is coming back, he declares.  It is a correct transposition of fates. SSC must rise for Somalia to revive. He should indeed be worried, vexed even. For like McGonagall, what he is saying is comical but true. The dream of a clan enclave is turning into a midday fantasy. 

After two decades of arduous voyage, the secessionists are finally sleepwalking into the final interment.  Because the die is firmly cast in Taleex, and there is no going back. Taleex - a dying village which is home and the birthplace of an undying idealism of Somali nationalism!

The SSC magnitudes, themselves politically footloose and utterly divided, are now coalescing for the cause they are famed for, the cause of Somali unity.  With purpose, with determination!  And each baby-step they take towards setting up a viable SSC regional administration is a dagger in the heart of the secessionists in the North. With the strong come back of the SSC, and the declaration of Awdal State, it is evident that the secessionist agenda of the Somali National Movement (SNM) is now not only damaged but it is, in fact, over and the SNM drive of mutilating Somalia, as we have known and experienced it, is kaput, finito and gone.

Khaatumo II Conference in Taleex
Participants of Khaatumo II Conference in Taleex

The secession agenda is popular in the North simply because there is no alternative program to it in the SNM heartland. Because separating son from uncle and daughter from aunt is impervious to logic and allergic to wisdom, the SNM agenda is a feeble scheme, which cannot succeed when challenged by a more commonsensical, high-minded ideal of brotherhood and unity. Decorating the SNM clan chauvinism is certainly a roguishly attempt to dye the air and is akin to the feverishness of a beautician to spend time applying cosmetics to a baboon. It is ugly, for no amount of cosmetics can beautify a baboon.

The gravitas and significance of the SSC get-together will be tested soon though. But the panicky rants of Mr. Waraabe shows it is certainly a stern test to the false republic in Hargeisa. In “The Path of Thunder”, Nigerian poet Christopher Okigbo, states “Now that the triumphant march has entered the last street corner, remember o dancers, the thunder amongst the clouds…”

Indeed, beyond the sentimental Press releases and declarations, and victory parades, lies a real danger. The SSC can only succeed in achieving the political clout and autonomy it craves, only if the Taleex conference can quickly establish the foundations for an effective administration, which can raise funds from the SSC people everywhere, in a short period of time. Then, it will have to do the routine stuff: set up a security sector, provide services, and pay civil service, etc.

Haji Abdi Waraabe
Haji Abdi Waraabe

This week was a tale of two Hyenas (Waraabe’s). While Haji Abdi Waraabe’s threats against the SSC people is the insensitive fart of a sleeping person, which does not irritate the owner but sends the awake shying away and out of sorts, Faisal Ali Waraabe’s panicky and discordant reaction is a signal that the SSC politicians and elders in Taleex cannot expect a noiseless ride towards an autonomous homeland. The SNM militias in the garb of ‘republican’ military will visit them in the not-so-distant future.

The Taleex triumph is a Eureka moment for those who believed in the cause of togetherness, and not in retail politics. But as Okigbo warns, this faltering step forward is the beginning of a cast that will have to go and change over several, long seasons to come to bear fruit. The Taleex trajectory, therefore, unavoidably heralds vibrant vicissitudes of success, failure, grief, risks, confusion, impediments, opportunities, breakthroughs, and setbacks. What is at stake the morning the ephemeral ecstasy in Taleex ends, is for a more focused, more resolute, and a more durable understanding of the huge tasks ahead.

Regardless, those who invested in this noble cause, undaunted by difficulties and fraudulent Mahiga, must savour this small victory, albeit briefly. Rejoice the torch-bearers of this minute of enduring joy – the Northern Somali Unionist Movement (NSUM) and the Northern Somalis for Peace and Unity (NSPU)! Exult the indefatigable Osman Hassan et al. We salute you!

By Mahado Sheikh Dahir


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