"Politics without Principle
2. Wealth without Work
3. Pleasure without Conscience
4. Knowledge without Character
5. Commerce without Morality
6. Science without Humanity
7. Worship without Sacrifice"1
term of "sin" tends to be applied in a religious
context. However, I believe, like Mahatma Gandhi that, this
can also be applied to social development as Gandhi did during
the early twentieth century.
Somalis, for many years I was trying to figure out the root
causes of Somalia's current conflicts. Many ideas went through
my mind such as colonization, tribalism, the civil government
after independence, dictatorship, warlords and militia. Then,
one day while browsing the Internet, I discovered the above
quotations; this text from Mahatma Gandhi answered many of
my questions and gave me a new perspective of Somalia's social,
economic and political unrest. It is unbelievable how one
single quotation can change one's thinking.
reflect on Gandhi's list of social sins and his interpretation
of modernization, independence, the nation-state, hope, humanity,
development, identity, equality, unity, faith, hard work,
love, peace and prosperity, I cannot help but apply them to
Somalia's society. Gandhi passed away a long time ago. He
struggled in a different era, country and faith than my own,
but I feel that we are connected to each other. Feeling the
same pain! Sharing the same goals. Gandhi showed me how to
see things from a different angle. This is my own interpretation
of Somalis' social development, taking into account Gandhi's
list of social sins.
several mediation effort have been made since the early 1990s,
none was successful. Most of these peace conferences made
headlines in the media. Some received support of the global
community and resulted in temporary reconciliation among Somalis'
leaders, but none attained the ultimate goal of making Somalia,
a peaceful and prosperous country with an effective central
government. Despite of all these conferences, there has been
little or no implementation of the agreements made by the
various participants-the leaders, the organizers. Those who
attended and those who signed the agreement have rejected
the implementation of all these agreements due to the "Politics
without Principle" concept. In a rational society, there
is politics and principle.
In general, principle has a wide range of standards and ethics
depends on one's own ideology and belief. In Somalia's political
context, I would interpret as a having series commitment towards
our own words.
Unfortunately, most of Somalia's leaders do not even understand
the difference between politics and principle. Hence, I am
using the term "leaders" instead of "politicians"
since everyone is considered a politician in Somali's current
political situation. For the last fourteen years, there has
been more than a dozen peace conferences in which Somalia's
leaders made agreements, shook hands and embraced each other,
but they walked away from every commitment they made and put
their own self interest a head of the nation's. After nearly
two years, the current peace conference, taking place in Kenya
has almost failed to pass the first stage towards agreement,
which normally is easier than the latter stages of the peace
process. Thus, there are less expectations of success for
this conference than any other peace conference. Instead of
progressively moving forwards, we are going backwards. On
the other hand, these peace conferences present a hope on
the way attitude. The dialogue that is taking place in itself,
will stop the killing of the innocent people and facilitate
a formal discussion about crisis. Thus, will help us in taking
further steps towards establishing a permanent peace in Somalia.
although there is no central government, Somalia's economy
has survived and made Somalia, one of the most capitalistic
society anywhere and at any time in history. With no price
controls, and no taxation, any businessperson can make a fortune,
but the downside of the lack of government affects all aspects
of the society.
In a Somalia's form of capitalism, the rich gets richer and
the poor become even poorer: Its current economic system is
based on survival issues and many Somalis have died from starvation
and malnutrition, while commercial food was kept in storage
in order to be sold at a higher price. The warlords have been
blamed for all aspects of this tragedy, but nobody mentioned
the role of the business community in Somalia. Some of the
warlords' source of income also comes from the local business
sector and one might conclude that the business community
has participated directly or indirectly in the Somalia's civil
war. It is very important to distinguish between those who
give financial support to warlords for profit, political gains
and tribal pride; and those who are forced in the situation
whether there is some kind of informal taxation or "protection
As a human
being, we have a moral obligation to save others who are vulnerable
and less fortunate.
can deny that Somali's economy is still productive and efficient
even with no state to speak of and no rules and regulations.
Unfortunately, Somalis' business community has failed to capitalize
on its input in a positive way and has become part of the
problem rather than the solution. Without rules and morality,
Somalia's business has shifted towards illegality, whether
it is growing and selling illegal drugs, inappropriately exploiting
its natural resources, looting of public/private property
etc. Sadly, the business communities are regarded as heroes
and worthy of respect in all level of the society. This is
not about the person who is conducting a legitimate business.
My hat is off to those who make a living and support their
families in the business sector. I fully support and encourage
the entrepreneurship spirit of the business community.
Somalia is one of the least developed countries in the world.
It has unlimited natural resources, but cannot effectively
use its human resources. How could society develop without
valid education or no education at all? Before the civil war,
Somalia's education curriculum was based on what happened
in other nations, mainly in Europe and the Arab world. This
system of education has not promoted our history and culture.
Somali nationalism has been downplayed and as a result it
has increased the division among us on basis of tribe, region,
There was a lack of critical thinking and differentiating
facts from myths, which explains, why a Somalia's intellectuals
or educators have not had the chance to assume a greater role
in society. This education system also has not produced a
strong society to bring about an acceptable level of human
development. After the civil war, with no educational system
at all, the current and next generation have fallen backwards
and it will take some time to recover from this tragedy.
current conflicts, can be solved through dedication to principle,
work, conscience, character, morality, humanity and sacrifice
with Hope, Development, Equality, Identity, Unity, Faith,
Hard work, Love and Peace which we hope will lead us towards
forming a peaceful, functional and central government in Somalia.
and traditionally, Somalis are supposed to be solving their
conflicts under a tree anywhere in Somalia and should not
have this crisis in the first place. PERIOD!
The current leaders should be supporting the current peace
efforts that we hope will leads us to the formation of a new
to the Gandhi's list of social sins, the new government will
have little or no impact in terms of social, economic and
political situation in Somalia, but it is still very important
to have a government despite of its lack of power or status
as Gandhi once said "Whatever you do will be insignificant,
but it is very important that you do it"2. In other words,
a weak government is better than No GOVERNMENT!
Revive and Represent SOMALIA
Muhiadin M. Ahmed "Abaas" lives in Ottawa, Canada