19 May 2007 04:14


Opinions expressed in this column are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of SW.
  • Title: [SW Column] (Aidid) The Djibouti Peace Process.. What if !!!
  • From:[]
  • Date :[27 April 2000]

"...the old concept of “ to maximize my survival, I must kill my neighbor” will not do..."

The Djibouti Peace Process.. What if !!!

by Aideed

The Djibouti peace process/meeting appears to be on the go. Obviously those who want it to fail are nervous, while the peace-loving community in Somalia and world wide appear to be holding their breath. The agenda for the peace process is clear; the goals are clear; the process is in motion. What then happens come the Summer or the Fall of 2000? The participants of this peace conference are not all hopeful for peace…some are just skeptical that this is going to be more than another gathering for nice meals. While others believe this is the last chance and must not be lost. Regardless of what happens at the meeting, I am one who believes that the Djibouti process represents a step in the right direction. That alone makes it worth the trouble. Why am I so optimistic? Well, think about it. The troubles in Somalia are not unique to Somalia. Both the region and the entire continent of Africa are going through troubles. We Somalis, just happen to have it very bad. The solutions that are applicable in Angola or Sudan or Congo, would most likely turn out to be necessary to end the suffering in the horn of Africa and Somalia. What do I mean by that? Well, for one thing the old concepts will not do. Africa in general and Somalia in particular needs new ideas for the future. Why? Simply because the world is not same, and has changed. Our solutions need to accommodate these changes. To be more specific, here is an example, the old concept of “ to maximize my survival, I must kill my neighbor” will not do. It has been the major obstacle in the search for peace in Somalia and Africa at large. This is part of why Somali factions have been unwilling to even consider the peace process in Djibouti. For some, obviously, the possibility of peace and order is a threat to their existence. For others, thinking of peace as long as “the enemy… that is the neighbor” is well and alive has been difficult to contemplate. The Djibouti peace process truly represents the new concept. That is “ survival is maximized by peace not by killing the neighbor or the fellow from the other clan.” And the fact that a large proportion of Somalis support this peace agenda is in my view an illustration of how far we have come. No matter what happens come this Summer or fall, the peace initiative will leave a mark and will form a stepping stone to the future. If the Djibouti process succeeds, the chance that most if not all Somalis will benefit from it is assured. Remember, for most opponents of this peace process, the worst outcome for them from the Djibouti process is peace itself. Now that is not such a bad outcome or is it? The best example of this new concept (not new to the rest of the world) is actually from within. First, look at Somaliland. And I am not talking about secession , but rather the concept that one’s chances of peace and survival will be enhanced and improved if one lets the neighbor live. The Somaliland community made that obvious decision when they could have gone with the wishes of the radical SNM to kill and go to war against their neighboring clans. Instead, the community embraced them in the search for peace and co-existence. Second, the fact that Djibouti as a nation wants peace in Somalia represents this new thinking. I do not buy the cheap rhetoric that Djibouti has an ulterior motive in their desire to bring about peace in Somalia. Sure, their ulterior motive is stability and enhanced survival for the people of Djibouti… what is wrong with that. They could fold their arms and wait for us to starve to death. In summary, let us not expect miracles from Djibouti, but less us not minimize the importance of this process, no matter the outcome. Aidid


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