20 September 2011
To: H.E. Mr. Ivan Barbalić
the President of the United Nations Security Council
The Security Council member representatives.
The United Nations General Assembly Member States.
the United Nations Secretary General
the African Union
New York, NY 10170
Keep Somalia intact
On behalf of the Somali Diaspora, I’m writing to convey my at most gratitude to you and the members of this World body and to express our grave concern as a result of a continued escalation of all aspect in Somalia, the perpetual war, the worst draught in decades and the disintegration in the making.
Your Excellency, allow me to briefly recap the early and modern history of the nation in peril:
According to archaeological evidence, Somali presence in the Horn of Africa (from Gulf of Tadjoua in present-day Djibouti through Dire Dawa, the modern-day Ogaden region in Ethiopia down to the coastal regions of southern Kenya) dates back A.D. 100 and possibly earlier. And as early as the seventh century A.D., the indigenous Asia-Cushitic (Somali) peoples began to mingle with Arab and Persian traders who had settled along the coast; and then the subsequent interaction over the centuries led to the emergence of a Somali culture bound by common traditions, a single language, and the Islamic faith.
The modern history of Somalia began in the late 19th century when various European powers began to trade and establish themselves in the aforementioned area. British East India Company was the first to sign treaties with various Somali chiefs in 1840 to safeguarding trade links to the east and securing local sources of food and provisions for its coaling station in Aden in exchange of British protection; followed by Italy in 1885 and then the French.
During the first 2 decades of the 1900s, allied powers especially the British rule was challenged through persistent attacks by a Dervish rebellion led by Sayid Mohamed Abdullah, whose sole intention was to liberate Somalia from colonial rule. After long series of intermittent engagements and truces the dervish’s crusade ended in 1920th when British warplanes bombed the dervish stronghold at Taleex. But the liberation struggles never stop until the triumphal end of 1960s Somali independence; when two of the five fiefdoms (the north and the south) regain their independence from Britain and Italy.
However, while Somalia was under British and Italian military domination, transition toward self-government was begun through the establishment of local courts, planning committees, and the Protectorate Advisory Council. In 1948, Britain turned the Ogden region over to then the Ethiopian emperor, an action that left behind an ever smoking fire between the Somali people and Ethiopia. In the first 3 decades of Somalia’s independence the two nations fought over the Ogden region 2 major conventional wars with no end in sight in the absence of lasting solution for the region.
After 21 years of a viable and strong central government, despite sensible political slipups (political errors), armed opposition factions obsessed with tribal ideology managed to collectively topple the Somali government in January 1991. Then, the loose coalition spared no time to turn against each other and to tear down the nation back into tribal fiefdoms, resulting in a complete political chaos and widespread deaths from civil strife and starvation in the country.
Over the succeeding two decades of the collapse, more than a dozen national reconciliation conferences were convened under the auspices of regional actors known as IGAD. But because of lack of sincerity by the facilitators as widely believed, all those conferences ended in vain. Not surprisingly, all the figureheads of the U.N. supported Somalia transitional governments were hand-picked by IGAD members chiefly from their trusted Somali refugees or exiled warlords living in their countries.
Your Excellency, another hurdle for peace in Somalia is the irrational lines drawn on maps−notably by Somalia’s colonial powers that left the country with meaningless boundaries leading to countless ideological and/or territorial disputes among the ethnically, culturally, religiously, and linguistically homogeneous society; sometimes wars, and more alarmingly diplomatic wrangling for secession through international brokers hired by tribal chieftains. As an effect, the Northwest region of Somalia also known as Somaliland, where the loudest voice for separation is coming from thus far, lacks the principal unanimity of the people in those regions. For instance, three major clans or sub-clans (the Samaroon clan of Awdal region, the Warsangeli of Sannag region and the Dulbahante of Sool region) who make up half of the total population in those regions; have not fallen in love with a petition of Somalia nor will they ever. This isolates the separation philosophy only with the Isaac clan; despite their strong communal impersonation.
To summarize my impassionate plea with a broad support from the Somali Diaspora, Your Excellency, based on the above mentioned factual assertions, the Security Council should keep Somalia intact. Recognition of tribe, region or a group as a separate entity will undoubtedly open an insurmountable floodgate of clan rivalry and encourage the splintering of Somalia into clan territories.
Farah H Kolley