19 May 2007 04:15


  • [SW Column] (Burhan Alas ) Indispensable Restitution of Relegated Legacy  :Posted on 21 April 2002

Opinions expressed in this column are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of SW.

 Indispensable Restitution of Relegated Legacy

By Burhan Alas


Why the Transitional National Government (TNG) is failing rather than gaining the support and the confidence of the people?  Before we rush into any conclusion, we need to make fleeting look into the history of this nation in contrast to the present-day parallels.   Unfortunately, Mogadishu is still a city controlled by wrangling warlords with no peace and stability at all.  More regional autonomies that are hostile to the concept of “One Central Power” are on the rise.  The parlous conflicts between rival clans are constant debacles, particularly in the southern regions.  The moral and political suasions delivered by the religious clergies in support of the TNG are fading away. The only place Mr. Abdikassim (president of the TNG) was able to visit in his recent tour of the country was Dhusa-mareeb (his clan stronghold).   When a group of his political stalwarts in Baladweyne (Hiran region) tried to convince Abdikassim to make aborted stopover, severe confrontation broke out that left many people dead.   A recent interview by the Somali BBC with the president of Djibouti, Mr. Ismael Ghele, a bragger of Arta Peace Process, he sounded bleak about the fate of his masterpiece though did not admit that it all went moribund.  This is the reality of the outcome of Arta peace process.

The great Somali poet and the founder of the Darwish movement, Sayid Mohamed Abdulla Hassan, in one of his poems, reviled the Isaq clans as traitors who supported the infidels and disclaimed the Islamic struggle against the British occupation.   The poem was abysmally bitter and vilifying beyond the limits.  But the rage, frustration, and dismay expressed by the eloquent literature of the poem under the passion of nationalism would embolden the reader to agree with the chastisement it carried out, unless fair observation is given to the counter-argument of the other party.  An equally extraordinary poet named Ali Jama, responded in less hostile tone, but with far greater wisdom that refuted the boisterous remarks of the leader of Darwish as perversion of justice.  Ali's argument accentuated that “a peaceful infidel who offers refuge is better than a Muslim tyrant who murders and oppresses his own people”, a very valid point that requires fair assessment in our contemporary crisis.  It is easy to blame our foreign enemies, but the guilt of our local enemies are protected by the rules of our tribal complacency. 

There is no doubt that the Sayid had fought for a noble cause; his stern resistance against the British colonization had left remarkable pride in the hearts of the later generations.   But his lack of conscience to the fundamental rights his leadership deprived of his own people made him pay a costly price.   He regretted those pitfalls when it was too late.  His lyrics - "I killed them and made them abandon the land, where can I fetch them", indicate the grieve he was up to, which also attests a sense of sincerity and courage in the confession of his oversight.  As the words elucidate, his bereavement was not for the loss of his dynast! ! y, but the pain he caused and the unity he dismantled that he saw contradicted with the very essence of his mission.  The momentum of his struggle flourished out of the support and the confidence it harbored in the hearts of the people; it eventually crumbled when that support vanished from the hearts of the people.   The Qur’anic annotation: “Have you had provided them with all the provision on the Earth as sustenance, you would not bring their hearts together, but Allah is the one who unified their hearts (so they joined you to stand for what is right)”. 

Young nationalists who matured in the later years seem to have learned great deal from this piece of history.  The founders of SYC (Somali Youth Club) paid tribute to the legacy of the Dervish movement, but cleverly avoided issues that had rendered past failure or could have deflated the unity of the people.  Despite the colonial conquest and its military presence, the devoted youth were able to pervade their message across the country, their slogan being “ The Great Somalia”.  They practiced what they preached, a principal phenomenon in the Islamic belief, and the secret of their success.  Their military might was the unity and the welfare of the people.  The! ! ir understanding of clan viewpoint was not more than honored heritage free of discrimination and hatred, but exemplified as a token of identity.  Responsibilities were designated to those who fulfilled the requirements and understood its binding obligations.  People willfully gave their allegiance, women sold their gold to support the struggle, and a man with SYL badge on his chest would travel from north to south without a penny of travel expenses in his pocket.  That was the quality of the leadership that put this nation together.  They were natural leaders with sincere motives.  They did not become popular or sought leadership by the support of clan hegemony nor gerrymandering unprecedented elections sponsored by foreign dictators.! !

The failure of the TNG is within the foundation of the initial process, which was not a healthy one.  Qur’anic annotation: “Is it then he, who laid the foundation of his building on piety to Allah and His Good Pleasure, better, or he who laid the foundation of his building on an undermined brink of a precipice ready to crumble down, so that it crumbled to pieces with him into the Fire of Hell”.   During the Arta Peace Process, honest elders, intellectuals, as well as religious men implored Mr. Ismael Ghele not to rush to the endorsement of elections or forming a proxy parliament as they envisioned it too risk to abort the whole agenda.  They beseeched him to give enough and amble time! ! to reconcile between the rival Somali clans first.  They suggested, the initial phase of the peace process to be the building block or the springboard towards the final goal and not the vise versa.  Their approach promoted to heel the deep gashes left by the civil war, Somalis assemble their deliberations at their own backyards, and let the process take its natural course.  But his adamant response was, “they will not leave here until they elect a government”.

Whose interest was it to elect a proxy government not supported by its people?   It was for the interest of Ismael Gheele and the crooks he was trying to exonerate and their cruel carnage.  It was crystal clear to him and to everyone that such a hoax, Gheele-sponsored government headed by Abdikassim wouldn’t be welcomed in Somalia.  So, what was the motive behind endorsing it?  This raises the question, if Mr. Ismael Gheele was ever a contender of Ethiopia in the Somalia crisis!  He pretends to, but the fact of the matter is that he played a decisive role that depicted the whole drama of the Arta Peace Process as a motive against the interes! ! t of Somalia.  Another mind-boggling scenario is the TNG versus the SRRC coalition, apparently two opposing forces, but do balance each other at the same time in the disparaging tug-of-war games between the Somali warlords.  It is not astounding that the two instigated from the same source in a plot to drive into abyss the possibility to foster true peace in Somalia.

Restitution of the relegated legacy of our heroes, founders of this nation, is the solution to get out of this menace.  The approach is not difficulty as long as there is willpower.  The most difficulty issues here are hatred and fear in vicious circles, and ensuing damages that had never been addressed as if calamities had never touched our terrain.  Fear to admit our guilty is the most paradoxical obstacle tangible developments hinge on.  To emancipate our souls off this wicked fright, true repentance is required.  Acknowledging and Denouncing the TNG as a failure endeavor is the first step to break new ground.  This will pave the way to local deliberations held within our premises.  We don’t need to invite outsiders; we need to talk seriously, sincerely, and courageously.  That was the way it used to be, and that is the only viable option we have.  

Burhan Alas                                                                          



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