An Open Letter to the New Somali
By: Abdirizak A. Aden (Eelay)
Sept 01, 2012
This is an open letter and a direct appeal that I would like to address to the newly selected Members of the Somali Parliament. Before I do that, I would like to share with you some historical background as well as my personal experience back in Somalia. After 26 years of living abroad, I finally decided to pay a visit to my native country, Somalia. After a long and exhausting travel time, our airplane finally landed at Aden Adde International airport in Mogadishu on Wednesday May 16th, 2012 at 12:30 PM local time. Once I set foot on the ground, I could feel tears well up as I began remembering old memories but my ego was holding me back. I have to admit though that due to fear and nostalgia, goose bumps developed involuntarily. It was really a very magic and emotional moment; hard to put into words.
Although the airport facility was not close to world standards, one could still see that it had been recently renovated, expanded, and beautifully decorated. I also noticed that immigration officers were very polite, helpful, while still maintain their professionalism. There were also other airport authority employees with noticeable I.D badges assisting and directing other visitors. Contrary to the general perception, I was satisfied with the airport service and do think that it’s being averagely managed. Overall, this first image actually created a great positive impression on me. While I was driven towards the city, one could immediately witness the huge presence of police and military personnel at every intersection and corner of the city. This was a clear indication that the government forces were undoubtedly in charge of Mogadishu. This honestly gave me great hope of tranquility and a needed peace of mind.
From what I had observed of the city during my short visit, were just a few recognizable structures that are still standing like the Arco Di Trionfo Popolare and Isbaheysi mosque. All the major city monuments, public buildings and statues known from previous regimes like Sayid Mohamed A. Hassan, Dikfer Hospital, Ahmed Gurey, Hawa Tako, Municipal office (Ex Parliament), Guriga Umadda, etc. have been either demolished or misappropriated. With the exception of the Central Bank, which was recently renovated, all core downtown public institutions were either destroyed considerably or damaged beyond repair. Unfortunately, after two decades of civil war, Mogadishu still looks and smells like a war- torn city. It’s really sad to note, that what's left of the beautiful Mogadishu is now nothing but rubble. Although it’s heartbreaking to see the scale and magnitude of devastation the city of Mogadishu has suffered, I still believe it was a wonderful feeling to be back. I am glad I did it. Honestly, this trip experience has changed my whole perspective.
Armed conflict has not only destroyed our infrastructures but has mainly undermined the very foundation of our lives and particularly more so to those of our beloved children. The tragedy and scars of the civil war on young people living in Mogadishu are still visible and will continue to rage for many years to come. The good news is, however, there are new signs of hope, revival and restorations as Prime Minister Abdiweli’s government and AMISOM restored peace after defeating and dislodging Al-Shabaab from the city corners. As a result, it seems like people are getting back to normal life for the first time in many years. I also noticed that Somali expatriates are remarkably back in great numbers in Mogadishu trying to make a big difference in the recovery of both private and public sectors. I had a chance to meet a few of them working in the government offices and they’re putting a lot of effort delivering much needed technical expertise. After all these misfortunes and hardships, it’s unbelievable to note that businesses and constructions are flourishing in the city right now. Slowly but surely, things will get even better if we stay on the same course and keep focusing on the tasks at hand.
Since the fall of the totalitarian regime in 1991, there have been so many efforts at national reconciliation and a number of elected governments, but all failed to overcome the insecurity problems that plagued the country for so long. For so many valid reasons, all Somali’s will come to an agreement that we’re really tired of the lawlessness and anarchy that has become status quo for almost two decades. I wish it would be an easy task but we all understand that leading the way out of anarchy in Somalia is rather difficult and quite challenging. Fortunately with the leadership of Abdiweli and his hard working cabinet members, there has been striking waves of progress that have altered the political landscape of Somalia. Although he served the shortest term, his government has outperformed and accomplished something that all his predecessor administrations couldn’t do in the past two decades. If I may, I will try to share with you just a handful of his achievements.
- Within just a few months of his term, Al-Shabaab insurgents were kicked out of Mogadishu. Currently the overall Al-Shabaab operations have been weakened and confined to small territories, thanks to the joint command of AMISOM and Somali military forces. According to Associated Press, “this is the longest period of sustained piece Mogadishu has seen in 20 years”. In less than one year of his term, Prime Minister Abdiweli’s government has finally assumed full control and successfully liberated Banadir , Bay, Gedo, Hiiraan, part of lower Jubba, part of lower Shabelle, part of Galgadud out of Al-Shabaab hands. Now we could say with confidence that the majority of the country is under the TFG umbrella. This is a great accomplishment but, for some unknown reasons, it’s not widely publicized.
- Professor Abdiweli has shown great leadership skills by collaborating and bringing together TFG leaders with the leaders of autonomous regions (Puntland, Galmudug, Sunna Wal-Jaamca). He has successfully united the voice of all Somali stakeholders to agree and carry on the Road map process, which as a result made it possible the historic signoff of Garowe I and II, Galkaio, and Mogadishu principles.
- Prime Minister Abdiweli also made it possible for the first time in Somali post-civil war era that we have a permanent constitution. Thanks also to Somali clan leaders and their delegates for their commitment in endorsing with overwhelming majority. “Today is a day of celebration. I congratulate the delegates and the Somali leadership for this historic achievement and their commitment to ending the transition and to establishing new, representative political institutions in the country.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
- First government without confrontation. In a democracy, there is always room for debate and disagreement. On the contrary, in Somali politics, infighting, backbiting and bad-mouthing are a common practice among the top leaders. However, under Prime Minister Abdiweli’s leadership, there was an exception at this time. He avoided every confrontation through compromise and cooperation and as a result succeeded in achieving all these progresses during a short period of time. Abdiweli is not provocative in nature and has great listening skills but rest assured, could be strongly assertive when need be.
- For the first time after the civil war, selection process of members of parliament is being held and still underway inside the country and elections will be held in Mogadishu. It’s a historic milestone as members of parliament overwhelmingly elected new speaker of the house and two deputies on Tuesday August 28, 2012. "This election is particularly significant because it will be the first to be conducted inside Somalia since the war begun in 1991. Over the past years, the transitional governments have been formed outside the country." The East African.
- It’s hard to believe but we’re currently witnessing the end of Transitional Federal Government (TFG) mandate with outstanding results. Ladies and gentlemen, history is in the making, let’s all be part of it.
As we’re fast approaching the end of transitional period, Somalia needs a great leader and now is the right time. As a loyal Somali citizen, I am appealing to you (Somali legislators) to serve our country to the best of your knowledge. It’s really absurd but true that most of us use international community interventions as a scapegoat for our self made troubles. Today you have a choice to make; you either continue blaming the International Community for your own mistakes or take full ownership of the problem now and change it accordingly. As a piece of advice, let’s stop this attitude of letting other countries and NGO’s decide our fate and work their magic to establish our dream institutions. It is quite evident now that it did not work for the past 20 years and it’s not going to work in the future either. However, if we come together, and trust each other, we can accomplish anything. Ladies and gentlemen, today you have all the power in your hands to take a stand and do what’s right, not just for you, but for the children who will be our country’s future. Let’s give them the proper tools to work with so that they can continue on to make this country shine once again. You have got to make the right decision and not be afraid or intimidated to do so. There is no more room or time for excuses; today the whole nation is vigilantly watching and relying on you to be paragons of the whole society. Before you make up your mind, I hope you think twice and pay attention to what’s at stake here. I am kindly appealing you to:
- think seriously about the lost generation with no hope or reason to live;
- think about those dying for starvation and lack of medical assistance;
- think about the homeless, uneducated, unemployed and unemployable young adults;
- think about the aging and helpless fathers and mothers with no sense of security;
- think about the aging Diaspora parents and grandparents dreaming to go back to their beloved motherland one day;
- think about the poor and displaced Somali families living in refugee camps around the world that are willing, but cannot return to their motherland;
- think about the future generations that will have no choice in life without your help;
- think a way of breaking the cycle of dependency that become part of our culture and be the captain of our destiny;
- and as a final thought, think of your own country and people once and for all. Remember, the choice you make today can make a difference tomorrow. I hope you’re up for the challenges ahead.
I think it’s too early handing out report cards but you have already demonstrated a heroic move by recognizing and electing Prof. Mohamed Sh. Osman (Jawaari) as the new Somali parliament speaker. Congratulations, you’re on the right track by choosing the most suitable person for the job. This is a good start; however, the challenges ahead are even bigger. As we’re now just a few days away from a historic presidential elections, I am strongly appealing to your good graces to do the same heroic move and elect Dr. Abdiweli M. Ali for his past performance, academic background, leadership and conciliatory principles. The silent majority of Somali people are extremely worried about the country’s direction if anybody else other than Abdiweli gets elected. Based on his proven track record listed above, there is no question that Abdiweli has an image that is very impressive, responsible, accountable, honest, likeable and electable. Having all these qualities, it’s quite obvious that he’s got what it takes to be president. For your information, he has got the momentum right now and what’s more encouraging is the word of mouth coming from Mogadishu containing some great reasons to be very optimistic.
Therefore, count yourself in and don’t be left out by wasting your valuable vote to the losing contenders. To save your country, you ought to choose impartially the best and brightest candidate. After all, Abdiweli is a leader on a mission and I am confident that he’s the most suitable candidate that can unite our country during this delicate stage. We’re proudly drafting Abdiweli for president and already making plans for the celebration, join the winning team. This is the right time to be associated with the right person and most importantly, for the right reasons.
Abdirizak A. Aden (Eelay)
We welcome the submission of all articles for possible publication on WardheerNews.com
WardheerNews will only consider articles sent exclusively.
Please email your article today Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author
and do not necessarily reflect the views of WardheerNews.
WardheerNew’s tolerance platform is engaging with diversity of opinion, political ideology and self-expression. Tolerance is a necessary ingredient for creativity and civility.Tolerance fuels tenacity and audacity.
WardheerNews waxay tixgelin gaara siinaysaa maqaaladaha sida gaarka ah loogu soo diro ee aan lagu daabicin goobo kale. Maqaalkani wuxuu ka turjumayaa aragtida Qoraaga loomana fasiran karo tan WardheerNews.
Copyright © 2012 WardheerNews.com