We are now approaching the new Islamic Calendar Year “Hijriyah” which was a turning point for the Muslim Ummah. Hijrah is an important and deeper lesson for us Somalis to learn from as it was not a mere migration from place to place but a process of transfer to a better situation. It is therefore an opportune moment for us to make the beginning of this Hijriyah, ayear individual Somalis migrate from three things namely Conflict (Colaad), Bad Media (Warxumo Tashiil) and Tribalism(Qabiil). It is a difficult task, but with good intention we can liberate ourselves from these socially conditioned ideologies in our hearts and get our way back to each other as one nation driven by solidarity.
1. Conflict (Colaad)
There will be no winner when a conflict is between people who know each other and has close kinship like Somalis. It will always end in draw (Barbardhac) and there is no penalty shoot-out in civil conflict. The only way out is a genuine reconciliation under the Qurac Tree. Ancestral proverbs (Somalia’s greatest oratory resources) clearly states that:
• Ninkii habeenkii codkaaga yaqaano, maalintiina raadkaaga yaqaano lalama coloobo.
• Rag waxaad walaal uga waydid waran ugama heshid.
• Rag Waday oo waayay waxay walaalow ku dhaamaan.
• Rag I daa kugumo daayo ee aynu isdayno ayuu kugu daayaa.
The agreements on previous reconciliations, starting From Arte (Djibouti) were merely politicians agreeing on power sharing. Most of the peace deals lacked the face to face talk, documents with full of flaws are prepared elsewhere and presented to leaders in conflict for signature.
The external actors in these peace conferences acted as a negotiator and lacked the true role of mediator exercised by the traditional elders that encourage parties to compromise.There was no true traditional reconciliation based on face-to-face at Intra-clan (Within the clans), Inter clans (between clans) and national level. This is one of the main reasons our political process is suffering from the syndrome of “Aan wax qalano, midiyahana kala qarsano”.
We can learn from countries who reconciled using their own method. For example, Rwanda at the beginning opted for remembering the past through trials (International Justice), but became disillusioned with the process. They then decided to revive their indigenous form of conflict resolution known as (Gacaca). There were a lot of positive outcomes and many Rwandans argue that it was the superior method for getting at the truth, reintegrating the perpetrator, encouraging apology and forgiveness, and promoting reconciliation in the country. South Africa opted for remembering the past through a truth commission, whereas Mozambique’s model was based on forgetting the past, not remembering it “The less we dwell on the past, the more likely reconciliation will be” “Tagto Daayoo, Timaaddo Ogow”.
2. Bad Media
The media plays important role in informing the public and without it we would know little about what is happening in Somalia. The key issue is when such a role is used to inflame rather than inform perpetuates negativity exacerbating the conflict between the communities. The problem with negativity is that it consumes individuals especially our youth which are our greatest asset and gives emptiness in return. Our youth are using and consuming media that reinforces their negative evaluation of the conflict, thereby contributing to their fatalistic and cynical attitude to Somali conflict. Somalis need to use media platforms such as social media wisely and be aware that “(Liberty means responsibility).
For example, Rwandan Radio station was criticised in playing a big part of the genocide that occurred. After the war, the same radio station played a big part in peace and reconciliation. Therefore, those Somali brothers and sisters who post on social media such as youtube, Facebook, twitter etc need to adopt “peace journalism” where they use the power of the media to help resolve conflict rather than report it from a distance. Also note below proverbs on how our Somali ancestors warned us against “Bad media” or “Warxumo Tashiil”.
= Af xumo nabadna waa kaa kaxaysaa, Colaadna wax kaagama tarto.
= Eray Xumi Urug Kici.
= Af Xumo Rag waa ku kala tagaa.
= Ereyga hufan baa irid kasta fura.
= Uli waa qabowdaa, Af Xumase ma qabawdo
Using tribe as “to know one another” is like a grape, it is sweet and nutritious. But once used otherwise the grape turns into toxic wine that intoxicates the society. For example, when we use to belittle or despise other tribes.
This falls under the pride based approach of “I am better than he” principle. This was the very reason that Iblis (Satan) was removed from Allah’s Mercy when he said “You did create me from fire and him (Adam) from clay” and we are heading to the same fate. The prophet SCW warned against such pride on looking down upon others by saying “Whoever has pride in his heart equal to the weight of an atom shall not enter Paradise”.
This false pride remains our main weakness as every tribe tend to believe their own press and we are all living in our own bubble. This is problematic and created hostile relationship among Somali communities.
Hostility has got integrated into our society; history got written and passed down through families, painting one’s own side as virtuous and the other side as evil. These messages are heard over and over again from one’s parents, one’s teachers, one’s friends and it got very hard to question or oppose such beliefs.The only way we can transform is when our ordinary perspective shifts to the right direction of accepting one another.
Somali tribes either large or small complement one another and are all interdependent.Combined they may achieve advances which neither could alone.One of the wisdoms, those who build with stones learnt is that to build a strong solid wall, you need large and small stones to hold one another. Therefore we need each other. If we cannot see each other eye to eye, we can at least walk side by side for the common good of the nation.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Ummadda Media