By Hassan Muse
The recent news about Cardiff recognizing us gives me glimpses of hope and optimism as we pursue recognition from the wider world. We have come a long way and demonstrated to the world that we can break the norms and make a difference. Although we have accomplished something that, arguably few African nations dared to accomplish, I grapple to conceive why the international community seems so hesitant to grant us recognition. The continuous free and transparent elections, the withstanding security in a region where violence and chaos is the norm, and the apparent domestic and social boom- all of these should merit us recognition but we seem to be behind the curtain at all possible outcomes.
Societies across the globe take big pride in having the right to choose their leadership and expelling anything that is obstructing such a right and privilege. In fact, societies that fail to choose their leadership with fairness and transparency are viewed with equal pessimism and mistrust. Fortunately for the past two decades, Somaliland has had various free and fair elections and former presidents willingly handed power to successive presidents. Such a spirit is rare in the continent and elections is often obscured by alleged corruption and dictatorship but Somaliland, among others, willingly, slips this continental phenomenon. Somaliland has managed to conduct three such elections leaving the international observers with great awe. International observers later observed that such elections are unprecedented in such region and should serve as model for the continent and beyond. I hope that these transparent and fair elections will win us international recognition in the years to come.
Somaliland relishes a degree of stability in the Horn of Africa where conflict is the common place and where generations have grown, my generation included, knowing nothing but bullets and ammunitions. Security in this region comes at great costs given that the number one failed state is next door and there are countless homegrown extremists in the region as well. To translate the minister of defense’s words, to preserve such security is painstaking and it requires constant eye-browsing and day to day checking. Despite the risk of running a country in a region where terrorism, piracy, and homegrown-insurgency is on the rise, Somaliland maintained a regional stability and even expelled pirates off its shores and made progressive measures against terrorism and insurgency. These apparent developments in the security, among other things, should merit us international recognition in the immediate future.
Many have witnessed the increasingly thriving domestic enhancements of the country and aspired to invest both their time and money in coming here. Among these conspicuous developments are the increasing telecommunication companies that connect Somalilanders from all across the globe and educational institutions that elevate the literacy of the people of the country. Even though Somaliland witnessed an atrocious war that hindered its development, the civilians have shown exceptional sense of adherence rebuilding the ruins and working on empowering the socioeconomic aspects of the country. With these escalating domestic as well as international facets, Somaliland’s unremitting push for global recognition is prone to be successful.
Yet confusing Somaliland with Somalia is simply denying my experience and drawing parallels, which barely exist, between me and a war torn country. Somaliland has existed on its own axis for too long now and survived solely on its own. To not distinguish Somaliland from Somalia, therefore, is not only an understatement it’s rather an egregious insult to Somaliland’s decades of independent existence and social, political, and economic growth. Moreover, conventional wisdom and the facts on the ground seem to be suggesting otherwise. Somaliland seems to be gaining the wider attraction of the world due to the persistent endurance of developments that question the skeptics of many pessimists. Hence, world recognition is inevitable.