19 May 2007 04:17


Opinions expressed in this column are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of SW.
  • Title: [SW Column] (Mohamed Khadar) Why I Would Call the Djibouti Conference a Chimera!
  • From:[]
  • Date :[14 May 2000]


Why I Would Call the Djibouti Conference a Chimera!

By Mohamed Khadar


The reasons that I call Djibouti conference “a day-dream” is too numerous to mention all in this limited space. Therefore, I will touch on those salient points that most people know but refuse to acknowledge.

To begin with, Somalia's disintegration did not happen at the will of international community or at the will of Djibouti, but it resulted from the prescription of Siad Barre and his foreign advisers in particular from the Arab league and Djibouti. What Siad Barre failed to attain is what the president of Djibouti is enjoying today. A fact that I would like to bring fresh into the minds of those who do want to scratch the surface of the rotten political realities of Africa.

The Somali people have fought against the kind of corruption and nepotism that has elevated the current president of Djibouti to power.One of the prime reasons that Guelleh is putting an emphasis on the Somalia problem is to divert the attention from his administration and create another discussion for his people in Djibouti. He also wants to get a healing for his ailing economy as Somaliland flourishes. It is a clever gambit, if you like.

Secondly, why Djibouti is shedding a crocodile tear for the notion of irredentism is some thing that can only appeal to those who were not following the Somali struggle very well. Even though Somaliland is accused as anti-Somali, Somaliland and its people were the engine of irredentism. They helped Djibouti in their long struggle for independence. When I was a kid, I remember how Somaliland people verbally, financially and in every respect took part in the struggle for the Djibouti’s independence. They used to sing " Diigool wax buu damcoo, doofaarku wuu kibroo, dakadii wanaagsanayd, xayluu la doonayaa, dad yahow Somaliyeed, soo diyaar garaow." Djibouti, as well as other Somalis did not show any reciprocity to this date for the Somaliland people. Djibouti has never thought or discussed to be a part of the irredentism. They were the first to refuse the concept of greater Somalia.

Worse yet, during the dark days when the Somaliland people were under the hostile fire of the Somali regime, when every minute of the day a child was being killed in Djibouti’s neighboring south, they were fully in support of the then dictator Siad Barre. The Somaliland people will never forget how they were collectively betrayed, and will not accept any plot in any epoch in the future that undermines their dignity and security.

 The history of Djibouti is replete with injustice and taking sides in the conflict between the Somalis. In no one day has this small port city shown impartiality in the conflict between Somalis. Always, there exist a labyrinth between Djibouti and some Somali interest groups. It is that apparent maze and the hidden agenda of Djibouti and its accomplices that will certainly fail this conference. The history of Djibouti and the unhealthy packaged approach to the very complex issue of Somalia will lead to a disastrous end to this conference. Djibouti cannot impose its will on the Somalis. Somalis are known for their resistance to subjugation.

 Why Djibouti presses so hard for this agenda is also of economic importance for Djibouti. The Somaliland’s peaceful situation and the economic growth with zero inflation are very dangerous to the subsistence of Djibouti. This has made Djibouti to team up with other adversaries who do not want to see a recovered and successful Somaliland. These adversaries can be divided into three categories.

 Category 1

 This category comprises of those who give the most trust to the Djibouti conference. They believe that all previous conferences in Djibouti worked in their favor in an indirect way, and now they greeted this conference in a blind jubilation. This group believes that if they are provided the necessary military force which they need to subjugate the will of the rest of Somalis, they would make a better monarchy than that of Saudi Arabia—after all they say, every monarchy only rules with absolute force. This category is always fighting against Somaliland covertly and overtly.

 Members of this group range from war criminals to scholars whose pen prolongs the rift that were made between Somalis by the artillery. They forget their history and their current hostile tribal activities and label the Somalilanders as clan extremists. They search Somaliweyn with same old tactics and tools with which they have demolished it. Without this group showing remorse and repentance and bowing with shame for what they have caused to the brotherhood of Somalis, it is unlikely forever the question of Somalia to be settled or Somaliland to accept any tongue in cheek negotiations.

 This group, instead of congratulating Somaliland for the achievements it made and using it as modal to solve the problems of the rest of Somalia, systematically works to kindle a new polarization and hostilities in Somaliland so as to make it qualify as one of the troubled regions of Somalia.

 Category 2

This category is collections of Somalilanders who are not genuine about the Somali issues but think that they could secure better government posts than what they can achieve in Somaliland. Those Somalilanders who do not have any popular support inside Somaliland cannot cut a deal with the others with whom they want to elope for convenience. Betting on this group and magnifying their importance adds a salt to an already sore wound. It is another dimension that shows how the Somalis tend to turn a blind eye to their real problems. This group cannot secure the endorsement of their people, and therefore they are not a genuine group that represents Somaliland. To repudiate the validity of this point is like calling a cow a horse. No matter of what you call a cow, it remains a cow. Similarly, you cannot say few handpicked personalities are more important than the other people in Burao or Hargeisa, just because of the positions they have served in the past. Hence this group cannot sufficiently speak for all.

 Category 3

 This category is one that is fed up with their stalemate in the south and cannot make a compromise between their warlords. Also, they fail to disarm their roaming militias and to have a unitary front against bandits. Their position made them weak for any call for common peace and they are simply told that they could have a government at the expense of Somaliland. This gullible group is made to believe Somaliland’s involvement with future negotiations will magically end their stalemate. So unless this group finds the bitter fact that no one in the world can change them unless they change themselves and work seriously to learn to reach compromise among themselves, it will be utterly impossible for them to go to a table with the rest of the Somalis. All in all, the supporters of this conference from Djibouti to other participants are groups whose insincere aims ultimately converged; they are groups who want to short-circuit the natural progression of events for their own personal gain. The Somalia quandary has deeper roots than can be solved in an ill-devised conference in Djibouti and in 15 days. Unless that is understood, by Somalis and non-Somalis alike, the holding of series of failed conferences will be the norm not the exception.

 (Geel-loo-kor, Somaliland)

Mohamed Khadar


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