Being an intellectual in Somaliland is forbidden by tribalistic ideologies!
By: Ahmed Mohamed Hungurilacase
Ismael Shirwac lives in Hargaisa Somaliland. He is one of the most brilliant Somaliland youth I have ever came across with. Possibilities are endless when one applies his/her abilities, even if all odds are against you.He is educated as matter of fact, this young man has been preparing two degrees at the same time. Talk about hard worker? One from Almis University which is a Ethiopian branch, he will be finishing his degree sociology and social work next year, just last semester he achieved A+ in every single subject. In addition he is taking medicine at University of Hargaisa , to fulfill his dream in becoming a Doctor. Although we both live in two separate continents, Ismaciil Shirwac got my attention when I saw a project ,which he conceived by himself, and traveled to every single region in Somaliland,high schools, universities, elementary schools,promoting Somaliland nationalism. Implementing and imprinting in the mindset of our youth to believe in their country. This is great importance considering the countless number of our youth whom are dying in overseas. Seeking better life in Europe. Number one reason, can be lack of awareness to this sensitive issue and lack of our leadership to address the issue. It takes courage, it takes lots of sacrifices,to achieve the ramifications that Mr. Shirwac produced. While concentrating his studies, he starts discussions about current issues of mutual concern to everyone who cares about Somaliland. Mr. Shirwac, usually will attempt to address issues, especially political issues effecting the constitution which he memorized, and likes to keep leaders accountable for corruption. Oh how I wish my people to grasp where he is coming from. He presents questions that provoke the norms and folklore of Somalilanders. So provocative, he just recently ask the Wadani party chairman also a presidential candidate, who is also the speaker of the Somaliland parliament.He asked him” why is your party so preoccupied in the current motion that extends Mr. Siiraanyo administration which isn’t over, why don’t you address your position as the speaker of parliament which expired 5 years ago? Mr. Shirwac did not get the answer he was hoping for, as usual, he immediately started a discussion on his facebook?. On a side note, and to illustrate the taboo that Somalilanders nowadays deal with, it’s so forbidden and seen as absolutely disrespectful for a youngster to ask these kind of question!! Not only by the government, which to be fair does not go after individual freedom of speech, unless you are some public figure, but it’s forbidden by tribalistic idealism.If you question one politician, his tribesmen will get so infuriated, and all the sudden you have tribesmen arguing against each other instead of the issue at hand. It seems,the politicians protection is not the laws of the land, but that of his/her tribesmen. Thus, enabling politicians not to worry, even though they might of committed treason against the country.This is a practice every Somalilander I know hates, but indirectly supports. Going back to Mr. Shirwac, and to give you glimpse of the struggles that an objective mind goes through in Somaliland mainstream. Mr Shirwac, to his surprise receives phone calls, emails, comments on his social networks. From some traditionalists, who their understanding of government is an entity similar to nomadic days, where you are to support your tribesmen by any means,and that the rules and regulations are set by tribalistic ideals. While I respected and applauded, tribalism when it comes to conflict resolution in Somaliland , I disagree with it when merged with public figures especially politicians. When you are not seen as a free thinking human being who can be anything based on merit.
When all your success you worked so hard for day and night is claimed by tribesmen, who didn’t even know you existed. When ministers and government officials are protected from critics by their tribesmen.
Even-though that critic voted for the official he cannot criticize. Government officials are our common denominators, they are elected by us for us majority votes. Don’t claim him or her just because he/she is your tribesmen. It’s offensive to those who voted for that official. Not all Somalilanders are the same tribe, whoever is elected, deserves to be, questioned, politically analyzed, scrutinized, and should be held accountable by the law, and by any Somalilander. However, advising our young intellectuals like Mr. Shirwac not to question, as if he insulted the speaker of the parliament.I found that mind-boggling. You would think that it ends there right? Nope. It went on so far that certain individual who I believe is the most ignorant human being on earth, with Facebook page called All Somalilanders. Took Ismail Shirwac profile picture pretending he was Mr. Shirwac talking about some insulting remarks about speaker of the parliament, as they presented
Dear reader, I couldn’t sleep from this. I found that the most belittling, disgraceful, unislamic, unpatriotic foolishly manipulating in the history of Somaliland. If you haven’t ever felt the the abuse of intelligence of tribalism, here you have it. Unless, we create society that knows how to keep politicians accountable, similarly to this young man, and we support individuals like him, who talk about justice, and equality for all Somalilanders,we are doomed. Joining and supporting our young generation or intellectuals is a must. Reason being is they have different platforms, fresh ideas, and last but not least these are intellectuals who can shape our future and get us to adapt to the ever changing world of twenty first century. There are so many intellectuals in back home and diaspora, that could benefit this country, but hate that mindset of tribalism, let’s be real and not make the ones that are changing us for better to be our enemies, and keep supporting dumbfounded, backward thinking, individuals or politicians in the name of tribalism.
Let’s us not poison our young minds by tribalistic agendas; let us get them to be free thinkers that can contribute to humanity. Mr. Shirwac has a dream that one day Somalilanders will uphold their constitutional rights and exercise it. I have prayer that one day in Somaliland we will choose our leaders based on merit rather than tribal. I have a vision that young people of Somaliland could one day uphold the rule of law and build a society that’s free of tribalism. Mr. Shirwac, shares that value with so many educated Somalilanders. However, my dear brothers and sisters, who are reading this article, I ask you to support the change makers, I ask you to be with justice seekers, I ask you, to encourage any Somalilander, or a Muslim doing a great things like, our son, our brother Mr. Shirwac.
In conclusion, Mr. Shirwac I want you to know, there is thousands of Somalilanders, young and old educated individuals, businessman and women, and I who believe in you. We love what you are doing, we support you. Although it may take time to change a society, we shall overcome tribalism and its ideology. Be patient my brother, be resilient, and truthful as always. Forget the negative reviews you have been getting on Facebook, and other social networks.
Ahmed Mohamed Hungurilacase
Certified, HRM, Political Science, Ottawa, Canada