HARGEISA, 20 August 2009 (Somalilandpress) – The past is not a home to dwell in. The living must keep on living. To do so the living must also move forward. Looking back to a difficult past is a costly habit which is only holding our nation back. Let us remind ourselves that if we continue to indulge in hovering around the graveyard of past governments, past leaders and a dead manifesto, we will never succeed.
Bashing the past by itself does not say about a wish to a better future. The past is what it is: past! We need to draw a line under the past. Surely, the past of one-people Somalis cannot be more painful than the past of black South Africans who had to put up with decades of brutalization and who found the way to live together with their white compatriots in harmony.
Every community (ethnic group) within a nation is an important component to the success of its society similar to the components of a factory which must work together for the common good and purpose. It is the Almighty who loves diversity who made people into nations, clans and groups to belong together to different countries so that they may appreciate one another. All we need to do to know why the Almighty loves diversity is to look around us.
Those who care about their homeland cannot despise one another. It is the nation which will suffer as illustrated by Somalia. A nation is like people travelling together on a boat and an attack or a dig on any community is similar to a stab on the boat.
Love of country involves love of its people. It is the love of country which teaches us to love our compatriots otherwise despising one another makes a mockery of a nation to be laughed at by other nations. It needs to be said that for too long our people have played football with our harmony and cohesion which are important for the wellbeing and existence of the nation.
As though clan is a political party which sits together to reach political decisions — slugging communities because of what a politician(s) did or didn’t was one of the crimes committed against our harmony and cohesion. It needs to be said that a clan is a social structure of people who share common kinship. It is no crime if Somalis from any clan engage in social activities to help one another. However, if there are clans whose members take together political decisions, this is clannism and stretching the role of clan to dangerous levels which proved disastrous for Somalia. Politics is about compatriots from different backgrounds (communities) coming together, discussing, engaging or promoting the interests and wellbeing of their nation, region, city, town etc.
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Harmony and social cohesion are non-negotiable factors for the survival of any nation. These two factors are as vital as the flag to any nation. The source of much of our woes is spite. An inept government can create its people to see one another with green eyes if individuals are given unearned position or wealth. Such are some of the things a government should be careful not to undermine its society. However, hate consumes a lot of time and energy. It also devours the person. To move on for our own sake and for the nation’s sake, we need to forgive our past leaders. We also need to forgive the warlords. We have to let bygones to be bygones. It is for this reason that black South Africans have made the choice to move on and benefit from one another rather than allow to be consumed by the past.
There is another important factor which makes different peoples to live together in peace and harmony within a nation. It takes vision and leadership. In South Africa, it was the vision and leadership of Nelson Mandela, which made possible the people of modern South Africa to look forward not backwards, respect one another and live together in harmony.
From inception modern Somalia has had an unfortunate journey which came to nothing. As is the case, a nation is solidified or made shaky and unhinged by the vision or lack of it, of its founders. Vision is the mileage a nation needs for its journey. Unfortunately, from the way Somalia has fallen apart, there was little vision involved in the founding of modern Somalia otherwise it would not have crumpled like a house of cards at the young age of thirty.
The past is important to learn from it so that it is never repeated. History shall record that Somalia has been destroyed not by foreign enemy but by individual Somalis who were born and bred within our country. However, pointing fingers shall impede the task to move forward and rebuild the nation. One day, the nation shall appoint a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” not to punish but to get to the bottom of what went on and why a nation of one-people had to tear one another. We have to let the Almighty punish those who have sinned, the ones who took lives and those who unleashed wanton destruction on their own nation.
There are things which are stopping us from moving forward. One such thing is negativity which we can ill-afford. We need a lot of positivity to permeate our troubled society. A positive person can see something good in garbage, while the negative person sees something bad in gold. It is positive energy that can move mountains which we need to rebuild the nation. We know many Somalis have already given up on Somalia. We also know that they are dead wrong! We have no reason to give up on our own nation. For starters, there is no-one occupying Somalia. What is hampering the return of a functioning and prospering Somalia is merely our own people’s lack of ample care for the nation.
One concept which must be abandoned is the notion within individual Somalis (by itself one of the legacies of the civil war) which says that ‘an idiot from my clan is better for me to lead the nation than the wisest person from another clan.’ There is a time-honoured wisdom which has it: A wise enemy is better than the kinship of a nitwit. At least a wise enemy knows and respects a common humanity. A fool has no comprehension of kinship. We need to remind ourselves what we Somalis share is equivalent to 99%. One wonders, what are the demons which make our people magnify and cling on to 1% difference?
Uganda and Burundi have sent troops to respond the call to aid our nation re-establish its. The two nations have done more than their share of sacrifice for Somalia. However, they can only do so much. You cannot ask someone more than to die for your country. Nonetheless, there are things no amount of outside aid can help a nation. With a sizeable population of over ten million, Somalia is not the small island of Samoa which has a tiny population of 219,000. Uganda and Burundi are greatly appreciated. Uganda’s lead role to rush come to the rescue of Somalia and its good treatment of our community on its soil is unforgettable. The two nations must be wondering why the Somali people are not fighting for the TUG. The ability of a government to make things happen can make its relevance felt by its citizen.
Everything has its time and everybody knows the beauty of time is the future comes one day at a time. Nevertheless, the most important thing for a lawless nation is peace and security. When that day comes, it will take capability and leadership to establish peace and security and rebuild the nation. We need to sow the good within our people to revive our nation’s harmony and our people’s sense of nationhood. Not to mention the time has come to end the wasteful wallowing about the past. To succeed we have to look forward!
Views expressed in the opinion articles are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the editorial