HARGEISA, 29 August 2009 (Somalilandpress) – On July 11, 2009 four prominent Somaliland citizens were kidnapped from a public highway and later on massacred in a tribal ritual. On August 6, 2009 Ali (Marshall) Gulaid died in a car accident on his way to Berbera.
I dedicate this article to the loving memory of the 4 victims of the Somaliland’s 7/11 whose murder will unite a nation to defeat lawlessness
Cali Maxamuud Nuur AKA Cali Bagaashle (Businessman)
Daauud Xaashi Jaamac (Engineer)
Mawliid Xasan Omar (Businessman)
Cali Aw Omar Barre(Educator)
And in loving Memory of Ali Gulaid (Marshal)
Revenge for the murder
Ugly Revenge is the nomad’s mantra. For him an eye for an eye is insufficient, too little, too late. He wants two, three, four eyes for the one his kin lost. He wants it today before the dead is cold. He wants it done in much more excruciating pain, in much more disgustingly inhumane manner as those eyes “taken” from his own. This is what I call the hyperinflation of hate that turns the hearts of men and women dark, hard and cold. This is the raw emotional material that hate groups of all societies mold into genocide and mass murder. It is explosively volcanic with the added potential of viral spread. It is here that the process of dehumanization of the “other” finds a fertile soil and grows to its nightmarish potential. The vector that carries this raw material is the ugly tribal revenge seeker.
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It is with this background in mind that I first address this most extreme fringes of my people who has become possessed by the demons of vengeance and who dream of basking in its blooded glory. I speak directly to those who murdered Ali Aw Omar and those who plan to murder other Ali’s in the never ending cycle of tribal revenge and counter revenge.
To these hate mongering tribal fringe I say: if your heart is already taken, and your soul is a prisoner to the master of darkness (Shaitan), if he has already locked up your ears and my words feel remote, inaudible, naïve, simpleminded and cowardly, in this case pray with me the two Rak’at of Salaat al Al-Istakhara (the prayers and supplication for guidance and counsel). Allah (SWT) is the most strong, the most wise and the most powerful, He will deliver you from the clutches of the demon. He will open your ears to me and soften your heart to my words.
And now that you have purified your soul think with me:
When you murder a traveler who is an innocent non-combatant, when you orphan the children of a farmer tilling the dry parched land for few grains to sustain his family, when your spear of vengeance pierces the heart of a man who has never done anything wrong to you or to any human or to any of God’s creatures….. When you engage in such a dastardly act knowingly, willing and deliberately do you still remain a Muslim? Read with me these ayaat (Quranic verses) before you answer:
“4:93 (Asad) But whoever deliberately slays another be¬liever, his requital shall be hell, therein to abide; and God will condemn him, and will reject him, and will prepare for him awesome suffering.” Sadaqa Allahu Al Cadiim.
And I ask: When you torture a man, when the screams of pain of those who has fallen prey to your tribal frenzy pleases your heart, in that most awful of times are you really human or an animal in the shape of a human?
When you seek out and ambush the old, the weak and the unarmed in your despicable frenzy of tribal sacrifice do you feel brave like a lion? or are you merely a despicable scavenger?
To the scribes of tribal vengeance, to those who whisper death in the silence of the night, to those who preach and incite hate, to those who organize gangs of psychopaths to spread murder and mayhem upon the earth, to those high priests of the Gods of Vengeance I say: Do you think distance will absolve you from the crimes that you conceive, encourage and perpetuate? Do you realize that your tribal ancestors are Mengele, Hitler, Pol Pot and most emphatically not Sh Issa, Sh Samaroon, Sh. Isaaq, or Sh Darood. Do you realize that you are a stain on the good name of all human kind?
Psychopathy is a disease that exists in all human societies. And everywhere the murdering psychopath is hunted down and brought to justice. Except in our own society where we turn a blind eye to them. We give them shelter. We feed them. We incite and encourage them to “kill the other”. We secretly celebrate “their manhood” and on we openly support them by denying that these crimes even took place; just like holocaust and genocide deniers everywhere. We give these murderers and psychopaths the power of life and death in our society. Consequently we condemn ourselves to eternal misery in this world, and eternal hell on the other. And then we wonder why are we so far behind the rest of mankind in all areas of man’s endeavors. Think about this the next you hear in Gabilay “ Walee waa nin rag ah” (that is a man’s man).
The matter is simple. A crime has been committed. A most terrible crime. The perpetrators of this crime are known. They must be brought to justice now. This is how you tame wild tribes and force them to make peace not war. We must disown these murderers. We must ensure that they don’t literally get away with murder.
And on the other hand those who hear whispers in the dark about future attacks of terror should denounce them and warn the nation about it. This is how we gain back our humanity and our pride in ourselves. This how we become a good Muslims. This how we could build a nation. And this is how we can defend ourselves collectively from the criminal fringes of our nation.
A psychological Fracture
The murder of Ali Aw Omar and his colleagues pose an existential question for all of us who like him travel that vital road to be part of the nation that we are helping to build. Can we be safe in our own country? Should we be resorting to traveling in armed conveys in our own backyard? Should we be looking for alternative ways of survival. These are surely rational questions that demand honest answers. This murder has caused a psychological and physical fracture in the this young nation of Somaliland. It would be no exaggeration to conclude that the impact of this murder and the impact of the response to it by the current administration and those that follow it will determine to a great degree the fate of Somaliland as a viable state.
But at this point in time the people of Awdal find themselves in the unenviable position of finding a rational answer to an irrational proposition. A Somali proverb maintains “nin aan waran kaagu gelin, weedhaadu ma gashu” (those who have not felt the pain of your spear, cannot grasp the wisdom of your words). It is a proverb like many other Somali proverbs that has a tribal cutting edge to it. It defines the “us” and “them” and in the raw terms of violence and volatility. And so the default course of action of a tribal group in defending its members has always been to resort either to tribal murder revenge or to build up tribal militia and prepare for tribal wars.
The times are different though. And by now we should all realize that there are no tribal solutions to the issue of the security and safety of the citizens of a state, none whatsoever.
We have already considered and debunked tribal revenge murder as a rational option for achieving the safety of a tribe. Indeed just the opposite is always true. We have shown, to those who have been blinded by the emotions of the moment, the immoral nature of this most horrible of all options. Let this be clear to all and sundry. Anyone who participates in tribal murder in any shape or form has forfeited his faith, and his humanity in the service of the ancestral god-the tribe. He is not one of us. He is the enemy of all of us.
Raising tribal militia and waging tribal war “to save the tribe” has been the more commonly accepted and often preferred option of a nomadic society in defending its own. Once again we must understand that it is an illusory option; a non starter in today’s world.
Tribal wars are financed by the feeble mechanism of donations, not by robust taxes. It is fought by amateurish militia who left their farms, sheep and camel to wage war for a day or two not by a standing army. These logistical and ideological constraints make tribal wars short, nasty and brutal.
Tribal wars have only a time limited tactical goal of killing many of the “other” and looting their property. The purpose is primarily to gain an ephemeral psychological boost to the self esteem of the aggressor tribe. This lasts only long enough until the “other tribe” regroups itself for a day or two of a vengeful blood bath and recaptures its own injured self image. Tribal war uses the tactics of a guerilla warfare of hit and run. But unlike guerilla wars it has no strategic objective of holding land, creating a state or taking power over an existing state. The end result of tribal militia wars is therefore one of constant, circular, short, nasty, battles that go on and on intermittently for generations in a devastating manner that keeps the whole region in perpetual poverty as trade, farming and animal husbandry come to a stop and as the resources of the tribes involved are depleted by a mini arms race.
Now if a thousand years of Somali history has not convinced you that tribal militia and tribal wars cannot serve the safety and security of any one, if 30 years of war in Somalia that has succeeded only in wiping out the Somali people has not convinced you of the futility and ridiculousness of this option then there is something seriously wrong with your mind and your thinking process. You need to seek remedy for your intellectual blindness. And if your are happy with your blindness you must ensure to take all necessary precautions to prevent it from infecting others around you for it could be lethal to those you love.
Our old deadly ways
With this knowledge in mind it is disheartening and unfortunately expected even if strange that both sides of the Kalabaydh divide have decided precisely that a tribal solution is the only option available to them. The demonization process is in full swing. Objective analysts on both sides of the divide are feeling the heat of being marginalized. Tribal scribes are busy yarning new conspiracy theories, new psychic injuries, new lists of grievances and injustices. Old symbols are being resurrected and recruited for the tribal cause. In Gabilay the SNM flag has surpassed in status and affection the Somaliland flag. It is everywhere. On the Awdal side the blue flag of Somalia appeared out of nowhere after two decades of absence. The naïve may consider these newly dusted symbols as a manifestation of Somali Nationalism and Somaliland Nationalism battling it out in the plains of Kalabaydh. Nothing could be further from the truth. The symbols may be different but they are meant to say the same things: “I am of this tribe and I am seeking out allies that can help me best you and exterminate you in the battles that are to come.” Both symbols are a dagger pointed at the newly minted Somaliland identity for they take the nation backward a thousand years into the filthy swamps of tribal immorality and death.
There are three ideologically related solutions to the problems of insecurity created by tribal warriors, all involve the building of a state that can claim sole monopoly on violence like all states do: A reinvigorated Somaliland State, a reborn Somalia State or a de novo Moslem State of Somalia are the only three options on the table. Choose your pick. Any one from Somaliland has the democratic right to choose any of these options. It is clearly immoral, and manifestly dangerous, to advocate for tribal solutions at this point in the history of the nation and that of mankind.
The people of Somaliland has rejected religious fundamentalism outright. And in 1993 the vast majority opted for a Somaliland State. Most unfortunately the Somaliland state has been weakened by inept administration. The legitimacy of the state has been undermined when the government of the day failed to uphold the laws of the land, as it was sworn to do, when they embarked on naked corruption and open pilfering of the public purse, when they decided that to simply ignore the national consensus and the national constitution, to outlaw the free press, to delay or cancel the electoral process unless they could be assured victory beforehand.
The result of this decay of the Somaliland state is the strengthening of tribal identity and tribal wars with all their gore and blood. This is the problem that lead to the death of Ali Aw Omar and his colleagues. This is the problem that needs a solution that is non tribal and non religious- a political solution.
Making Sense of the Senseless
We need to stop here and make one critical observation. The last time that there was this level of violence in Kalabaydh was in the dark days of 1988-1991. Then, as is the case now, a president was trying to hold on to power illegally by all means necessary. Then, as is the case now, those who were in power thought it was in their best interest to create a deadly vacuum of tribal rivalry and tribal allegiances to find for themselves a space to maneuver. Then, as is the case now, the survival of the nation did not matter in the least to those in power.
It is because of these considerations that I came to believe that the most imminent risk to the life of any Gadabuursi today is the current administration of Somaliland and its pursuit of absolute power. Just as this administration is the most imminent danger to the life of every Somalilander. The massive extent of injustice, corruption and hatred this regime has created is sufficient to lead to the implosion of the state and the death and destruction of the people who live in. The hope of the Gadabuursi and that of rest of Somaliland today rests on the victory of Saylici or the victory of Mohamed Rashid.
A Call to Action
And so my fellow Somalilanders, men and women of all political persuasions, in this darkest moment, when murderers are on the brawl, when the regime failed to provide even the most basic law and order, when available meager resources are being diverted to arm tribal militia just as the drought stricken and hungry dye in isolated huts and in street corners, in this darkest moment when all seems lost, there is one more battle to be waged.
One more stand against tyranny, against the slaughter of innocence. Let the streets of our cities and villages swell with thousands of peaceful marches and calls for change. Let seven days of every week be the Glorious Thursdays of revolt. Let us break the death grip of Rayaale, Cawil and Cabdillahi around our necks before they reduce us all to a crumbling dirt of primitive tribes massacring each other. Let there be a glorious people’s revolution. We will die anyways as we must. Let us choose to fall fighting this good war, for this just cause. Let this be our revenge for Ali Aw Omar.
Dr. Abdishakur Jowhar
Saturday, August 29, 2009