Somaliland: Being an Intellectual Locally Is Forbidden by Tribalistic Ideologies!


Universities in Somaliland graduate thousands annually/file

By: Ahmed Mohamed Hungurilacase

Ismael Shirwac lives in Hargaisa Somaliland. He is one of the most brilliant Somaliland youth I have ever come 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 asks 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?.

Ismael ShirwaaOn 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 this 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.

Ahmed Mohamed Hungurilacase Certified, HRM, Political Science, Ottawa, Canada