UK Living in the glory of its past
We Somalis were called all kinds of names, pastoral nomads, Africa’s remaining warlords, failed state,
The most corrupt nation on earth, pirates of the Indian ocean but one ever called us stupid. The fact that the Somali economy regardless of its lack of fully functioning government has survived over 20 years of civil war. Our communication and media leads many African countries who enjoyed political stability. The Somali Diaspora all over the world leads other immigrants in education, business and remittance to Homeland is a testament that Somalia will rebound and get on its feet soon.
Somalia proper which includes all the other lands and mini states was divided into 5 pieces by UK & others under the auspices of the 4 powers; victors of WWII. Somalia was among the first in Africa the British used aircraft to bomb fortresses and other bases in Northern Somalia in the 1920’s. The British never forgave Somalia in choosing the Italians over them during the Trusteeship period. That is why they gave the Haud Reserve Area and the NFD to Ethiopia and Kenya. We Somalis have always had a love hate relationship with Great Britain. We were and still are always suspicious of the British motives in trying to negotiate an end game for the long standing Somali conflict- which is both fraternal and clannish after a long hiatus . More Somali Diaspora chose to live UK than in any other country. UK is a very welcoming country with a lot of freedoms not available in the rest of Europe. The British understand the Somalis better than any European country and has always succeeded in getting the Somali people together by using both the stick of the world community and the carrot of the European Union. In the old Colonial days the British used round up the camel of the Somali Nomads in order to bring them together after a conflict and lock them in a location until they settle their differences. The BBC broadcasting was a tool used by the British extensively to reach the Somali people in areas governments and local administrations could not reach.
Our question today is why hold the London meeting now? Is it because oil discovery in Somalia or other mineral resources that might get in the hands of the Iranians or the Turks? Having had the opportunity to be a diplomat in Turkey in the late 1980’s & early 90’s I noted that the British and the Turks never liked each other but they respect each other. The British could never get over the sinking of Royal Navy ships by the Ottoman Turks and the Ottoman Turks never forget how the British inspired a revolt against the Ottoman Empire in the Arab countries promising them full independence and nationhood. The present UK government wants to live in the glory of its past. The current UK Foreign secretary’s new world engagement policy is paying off. The fact that he could bring together over 40 countries and stakeholders within a short period should be commended. There will memorandum of understanding other recommendations that will come out of this meeting; let us hope it will be one that will hold together the unity of the Somali people.
Chairman of Somali American Peace Development
Washington DC USA