IS WRONG WITH OUR YOUTH?
BY M.M. Afrah,
been raised as a "good boy" and changing over to become a
sluggish copy boy in a newspaper office and later climbing
up the ladder to become an editor and then editor-in-chief.
But as I got older, I thought I liked to think that I have
a strong sense of right and wrong. I joined anti-colonial
demonstrations and with the help of hand operated press we
printed inflammatory anti-colonial leaflets that naturally
upset our colonial masters.
Youth League (SYL) formerly the Somali Youth Club (SYC) was
formed by 13 devoted Somali youngsters who fought relentlessly
for independence in their own way. Their slogan was 'XORNNIMO
AMA GERI" (independence or death). Thousands of like minded
boys, girls and elders joined them in their wholehearted and
noble struggle. They all had grand dreams for the future of
Somalia. Hence, the nationalist song "Soomaaliyey toosa."
This Wake Up call paved the way for full independence in July
1960 despite various obstacles put up by you know who.
know that young students, like George Padmore, Kwame Nkrumah,
Du Bois and Jomo Kenyatta among others created the great Pan
Africanist movement in Britain in the 1930s and 1940s. From
that humble beginning Africa sprung up to a full independence
in 1960 when dozens of African countries became independent
which subsequently led to the creation of the Organization
of African Unity (OAU). Unfortunately, old Haile Selassie
hijacked the organization and used it to undermine Somalia's
fledging independence, convincing African heads of state that
infant Somali government was an expansionist. Our delegates
have been outnumbered and outmaneuvered by the emperor and
his like minded cohorts within the OAU. As a result of these
behind the scene machinations, a calamity was in the making
in the form of border skirmishes intermingled with war of
words. And eventually a full-scale war that claimed the lives
of our youth in the spring of their lives. Historians now
link those very machinations with the present conflict in
Somalia as well as the volatile situation in the Horn of Africa.
But that's another story.
me most is why our contemporary youth became docile and indifferent
to the grim events in our country? I understand that not all
people can get along due to the cancer of clan loyalties back
home. But would it not make more sense for the youth in the
Diaspora to join together and step out into the world as a
unified force to bring about peace in their native country?
may be an old fashioned man who has gone through the mills,
but I am sure I am not the first person who has entertained
this notion. Take for example the postings on the Banadir
Public Forum by Libangedon who has been preaching a united
Somali youth to fight the villains at home who ruined our
country and reduced our people to paupers and corpses. The
country became rapidly without government and people, a country
where foreigners who wanted could come in and could go out
at will without so much as by your leave. As a matter of fact
a foreign diplomat described Somalia, unlike Afghanistan,
as a fruit hanging from a tree (READY TO BE PICKED UP!).
not the way the founders of the SYL visualized that Somalia
should be run, and that it needed to be put straight. That's
where you come in. You should not expect manna to fall from
the sky. Only you could make a difference. It is not for me
to say who is called to lead the United Somali Youth and who
is not. It is not for me to say whether or not someone is
qualified to start the new movement or not, it just seems
to me to be unnecessary to have the Somali youth divided along
clan lines forever. I had always believed that the youth in
the Diaspora are free from that cancer called tribalism or
leads me to wonder what is wrong with our youth today? I believe
many would say I am a dinosaur and that boys wearing ear rings
and spending hours glued to the BET channel, listening to
rap music or wearing over sized pants are "the in thing".
But I ask myself: do those Pan Africanists and the founders
of the Somali Youth League long time ago did not know what
they were doing and as such it is necessary to be ashamed
to be a Somali, and that boys wearing ear rings and watching
the BET channel day in and day out is "Cool". I am sure BET
will never teach you how to rebuild the country from the ashes
of vicious clan wars or resuscitate the economy. Today the
old Wake up Call is as important as it was 50 or 60 years
that after you have been uprooted from your native country
by nasty people with guns, it has been challenging living
in the Diaspora face-to-face with stone-faced immigration
honchos, beefy security men and bullying landlords. But thanks
to our Somali ingenuity and tenacity we are still standing
and it is time to begin to look ahead to all the good things
the old country has in store for us in the near future.
have faltered, you may have stumbled or you may even have
considered yourself an outright failure, but dear future leaders
of Somalia I want you to rise and prepare yourself for tomorrow.
There is nothing you can do about what had happened to our
country during the last ten years. Yes, the past may be a
story written in blood but the future can be written in gold.
Do not be discouraged about the sad stories emanating daily
from Somalia. For almost every great country on earth had
gone through similar turmoil, or even worse. Here are few
examples, the American and Spanish civil wars, not to mention
the devastation of the Two World Wars and the Bolshevik Revolution
that claimed the lives of millions of people. Again, it was
the youth and the womenfolk who rebuilt their countries from
scratch under extreme difficult circumstances.
is NOW in your court.
VALUE YOUR COMMENTS AND ENCOURAGE YOU TO SEND YOUR EMAILS
TO ME OR TO THE PUBLIC FORUM www. Banadir.com (IT IS GOING
TO BE THE BEDROCK OF A FUTURE BOOK, HOPEFULLY).