Somaliland: who’s Ibrahim Mead?


By Mohamed Awaleh,

For one thing, Ibrahim Mead is a Somali elder, intellectual, humble scholar and, above all a freedom fighter. He is presently living in Ottawa and works as a security guard. Nonetheless, he is one of the Somali elder in Ottawa, whom, the young Somalis like myself, could learn a thing or two.

He’s someone I like to hang around with, because, I like to learn from him and other Somali elders in our circle. Especially, Mr. Mead, is also one of those men who witnessed the bad politics back in 60’s and 70’s who got Somalia where’s today! And he’s a traveler around the world of course.

But the difference between me and Mr. Mead is – merely the time differences. He’s in 60’s and I’m 40’s. Though, we both have something in common; we are both columnists and we publish our works with various Somali and non-Somali publications and websites all over the world.

Our somewhat tiny differences are: he advocated for democracy and justice in Somalia back in 70’s and 80’s; and I could barely spell politics those days.

But when he realized those days; wherever his politics might be – that’s not going to change the military regime’s wrong policies, headed by General Siad Barre. He then, unfortunately, quit his teaching job and left his country and headed to Middle East for better life.

Later years, he joined Somali National Movement (SNM) in exile and he spent raising funds decades for SNM in the Middle-east and Africa in order to help his northern community defends themselves against the brutality of the hand-picked Somali national Army, who were systematically committing atrocities against his clans.

However, SNM was the former rebel army who fought against the National Somali Army dominated then by the Southern – back when Somalia used to be – the White Star of Africa.

But make no mistake; Mr. Mead is an ardent Somalilander nationalist. Sometimes our debate turned to greater Somalia vis-a-vis Somaliland!

I would bombard him with lots of questions about why the Somalilanders are being unrealistic! In other words, why are they wasting their time with something impossible – recognition by the international community?

And I would nag him every now-and-then with tautological argument! ‘Why are they, somalilanders, not taking the torch and being the leaders of the re-unification of Somalia and correct the past mistakes?’

But, Mr. Mead and I, however, have different views about Somalia versus Somaliland and we agree to disagree respectfully. Though; we do have something in common: respect the people’s wishes and inspiration no matter wherever Allah puts them!

Mr. Mead would always smile and replied without getting defensive. He would call up with my first name in order to get my attention, “Mohamed, if you share an apartment with your own brother and you become selfish and treat your own brother unfairly; remember, sooner or later; your own brother, would eventually move out and get his own apartment!”

That’s true in a sense –the lesson learned here is: treat your own kind with respect and fairness – and don’t be complaisant!

Few minutes later, Mr. Mead adjusted his seat and proclaimed, “That’s why, we, the Somalilanders, moved out of Somalia”, and he roared with laughter.

No one would argue with that beautiful analogy that often my friend uses it against us as a tool to persuade us on his side!

Yet, I would bounce back and hit him back a piece of truth that, Somaliland is exactly doing of what you have been accusing of and complaining against to Southern for 20 years, to Zeila and Lughaye State and Sol and Sanag, Khatumo State!

He would respond: “brother Mohamed, that’s why I’m fighting every single day through my writing and speaking engagement.

He even told me just last night, “Remember! I’m not the man I used to be 30 years ago, Mohamed”.

I have to admit, tough, Mr. Mead was one of the few Somalilanders who vehemently condemned the massacre in Zeila (or Saylac in Somali) perpetuated by the Somaliland Para-military, RRU, with the direct order from Hargeisa’s administration, last year during the regional election deliberately defrauded by the vice-president of Somaliland.

Even the so-called independent media of Somaliland sadly did not bother to mention it! For that I give Mr. Mead the credit to denounce the heinous crime committed by the Siranyo government which the Somalis and Djiboutians will never forget!

He moved on: “You are right, though, if the Somalilanders would not stop President Siranyo and his henchmen before it’s too late; eventually things will fall apart right in our faces and Somaliland would be a thing of the past!”

“Do you know those who are running in Somaliland today? , he said and laughed. “They are the same people whom we were fighting against… they were holding the higher positions in Siad Barre’s regime; they just changed the uniforms (their tribes) and the Somalilanders bought it their rhetoric’s”.

He went on, “those guys run Somaliland, now and; here we are ( the SNM) strolling in every European and North American cities and still dealing the loneliness of the West, once again!

When he said that I reminded him the quote of Napoleon Bonaparte: ‘they are two types of revolutionaries – those who make the revolution and those who benefit the revolution’. And I jokingly told him that he and the others in SNM were just working for these guys but they didn’t know it!

He laughed so hard that I thought that – from the first time in his life –he finally realized he was in a wrong side all along. Mr. Mead even quoted something with that affects in his latest article that I published it for him on

What does May-18-1991, Stands for and what does it mean to you? For example, Sulieman Gaal and Abdirahman Ero of the Guurti and the Parliament and others fit this group. Theyundeservedly reaped the fruits of the liberation and by their actions or inactions or ignorance coupled with arrogance undermined the dignity, sustainability, integrity of the Republic).

He strongly believes Machiavelli’s politics and paternalistic style of governance of President Siranyo and his lieutenants would definitely hinder the dream of Somalilanders: living with dignity and justice for all.

Mr. Mead was and still is, a man who believes justice for all – in spite of what his detractors would say. He utterly rejects the notion of one tribe domination against the rest of them in Somaliland.




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