of us are sometimes homesick for a country that's not our
own. Had it not been for Somalia's devastating civil war,
the overwhelming majority of the Somali people, including
yours truly, would not have been where they are today, in
countries where we are welcomed for humanitarian reason, but
not tolerated, encountering various road pumps, including
the tearing apart of our culture, language and traditional
say that the character of Somalia would change dramatically
by the return of the Somali Diaspora with their know-hows
and expertise. They would embark on the establishment of industries
from the ashes of the civil/clans wars, intensive soil conservation,
and productive irrigation schemes. They would also exploit
the rich marine resources in our long territorial waters,
which is now being poached by foreign fishing trawlers, taking
advantage of the lawlessness in the country. And whenever
the local people apprehend these international poachers they
are considered as pirates. If that's not double standard I
don't know what the hell it is.
This question kept me bugging.
the theorists predict that there would be a conflict in language
and standards among people born and educated in the Diaspora.
For example, children born in Western Europe with a mixed
bag of European languages and those returning from English
speaking countries, such as North America (Canada and USA),
Australia, New Zealand and other British Commonwealth countries,
would have hard time working as a team. They would also face
communications barriers with the local people, as most of
them, if not all, lost their native language.
that has successfully surmounted this hurdle is Israel. It
was mandatory for immigrants and refugees from all corners
of the world to attend state-sponsored Hebrew classes in order
to blend with the natives and to overcome communications bottleneck
before starting their new life in the state of Israel, then
known as Palestine.
GENERAL BARRE'S LEGACY
Mohamed Siyad Barre's lasting legacy was the writing of the
Somali language, despite opposition from certain Arab countries
as well as some homegrown religious zealots who in their Friday
sermons alleged that Latin (they called it Laadiin, without
religion or abandoning Islam in Arabic). On the other hand,
those who favored the Latin script said that Muslim countries,
such as Turkey and Indonesia have also adopted Latin for their
the Latin script will facilitate every Somali, or even foreigners,
to quickly grasp the rudiments of the language without much
effort. Besides, unlike English and some European languages
with many silent letters, it is phonetic and had no silent
As every language, there are of course some similar words
with different meanings and sounds. For example:
Waan duulayaa I am going to fly
Waan duulayaa I am going to fight (or go to
Dameer Female donkey
Dameer Male donkey
Walaal for male and female (a sign of brotherly/sisterly
Somali national (some called me a Dinosaur in their emails),
I will remember forever General Barre's courage and his blissful
catch phrase "Bar ama Barro" and the nationwide
campaign to teach nomads the rudiments of the Somali script
in 1972/73. I also vividly recall Xiddigta Oktobar coming
out in Somali for the first time in our history. It was sold
like hot cakes and by eight in the morning the paper disappeared
from newsstands in the city.
a.k.a. the Mooryaan destroyed irreplaceable textbooks, the
noble work of the Somali Language Committee, toppled national
monuments, ransacked the museums, the nation's archives and
looted the banks, among other vital national treasures.
my patriotic readers often beseech me to write in Somali,
instead of English. They have a point there. But as we are
now in the process of projecting Somalia's image worldwide,
both in its dark side and bride side, and who was responsible
for the destruction of a whole nation, the Webmaster of banadir.com
concluded that an English spot was essential to inform President
George W. Bush, among others, that there are no terrorist
cells in Somalia, but only homegrown terrorists who are more
lethal than the international terrorists, because they had
destroyed a whole country and its people. They still do, because
for one thing these guys are unyielding oddballs and eccentrics.
also like to emphasize last year's United Nations Report,
which declared that there is no evidence that international
terrorist groups were based in Somalia.
no international terrorist worth his salt would end up in
a country where homegrown terrorists continually shoot at
each other Mad Max-style. It is a hell on earth. It is safe
to say without being labeled as "unpatriotic" that
poverty and terrorism are the twin evils. For example, the
sprawling slums in the third world countries are the breeding
ground for recruiting terrorists. You might say that most
of those who committed the heinous crimes against the twin
towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the
Pentagon were from affluent Saudi society. But that's another
you may recall my Open Letter To President Bush asking him
to help the Somalis get rid of the warlords and their aficionados,
the deadly Mooryaan. This letter demonstrated to the President
some interest in that, apart from calling Somalia a failed
state, he no longer links it with Osama's al-Qaeda (the Base)
network or what he calls the "axis of evil."
also suggested that the English wordings should be simplified
for a person with English as his/her second language. And
it certainly worked; when we consider the number of feedback
we receive daily from our readers.
anyone who is seriously interested in peace and stability
that in Somalia violence and horror awaits people in every
corner since 1991. Yes, the Somalis are resilient. They outlasted
colonialism; military dictatorship and they will eventually
outlast the warlords and their earth-shattering gun totting
A NOTE OF THANKS
from the bottom of my heart for your ongoing votes and the
confidence you have shown in my modest articles on this Website.
I ardent believe that continuing to have a platform to speak
to you and to the world at large is the cool things to do.
And of course the overwhelming majority of your comments also
expressed that it is the right thing to do at this time when
our native country is in a crossroad.
We shall overcome.
M. M. Afrah©2003,