Somaliland: National Patriotism and National Identity



War monument in Hargeisa depicting the maiming visited upon Somalilanders by Somalia forces

Perhaps how Somaliland performs in the next test (war with Somalia) will convince UNSOM and the International Community to respect the Somaliland patriotism and national identity and sovereignty

Somalilandsun – As we begin to write this article to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of Somaliland Independence day, we could not help to think about all those who made the ultimate sacrifice (lives, limbs, property & pain) to give freedom to their people and country.

There are hundreds of thousands who lost their lives, limbs, property, and there are millions of people who endured many years of suffering at refugee camps in Ethiopia and other places. That is a colossal sacrifice that Somaliland people have made for their freedom. All of them (those who sacrificed) look down on us at each May 18th Independence Day celebration and ask this question: Did Somaliland people lived up to our expectation and honored our sacrifice in the past year? At the same time while the International Community works closely with Somaliland; nevertheless it continues to doubt the authenticity of Somaliland patriotism & National Identity.

Each year our fallen heroes & heroine take stock of what we have accomplished and what we have failed to accomplish. Naturally there are clear successes and failures each year. The real question is how to figure out if there is a litmus test to measure if Somaliland people have honored their sacrifices. What and how are we measuring if we honored our fallen comrades and met their expectation? Are we measuring based on our current values, religion, freedom of individual rights, free press, democracy, elections, building government institutions, social progress like schools and hospitals, technology, patriotism, or national identity?. In our opinion the litmus test (not the only test) is to measure the progress of Somaliland people and country based on the state of patriotism and the national identity.

The state of Somaliland national identity and patriotism has been getting stronger every year for the last 22 years and this past year has not been any exception. There are many things that have been done in the past year to strengthen our national identity, patriotism, and to protect the country. The primary schools that teach our children the Somaliland story and values are now free and the attendance levels of the students (specially the girls) have reached new record levels. The Somaliland armed forces for the first time in 22 years have received rankings with pay for all active military officers. This strengthens the national identity, patriotism, and morale of citizens and military offices to protect the country. The government and the people committed to build 150 miles Sanaag Road Construction to connect Sanaag with the rest of the country. These are examples that show the significant investment our people are making in the future of their country. Furthermore, UNSOM and its leader Mr. Nicklaus Kay have been told they are not welcome in Somaliland, because of the United Nation’s active campaign against the existence of Somaliland. I know this policy made every Somaliland citizen proud for knowing the country is actively protected from UN. The Somaliland people (political and social organizations) have taken the same position defending sovereignty on the talks between Somaliland and Somalia. There has been successful local government election that gave our people an opportunity to elect their leaders. The Somaliland people everywhere are opening their pockets and donating money to their favorite charities and programs. They view it as their obligation as citizens to help their country and people. They hold their leaders accountable and scrutinize their actions publicly and privately. Their hearts sank if they hear negative news and they jump high with joy when they hear positive news about Somaliland.

A survey conducted by the International Republican Institute (US based NGO) revealed that (that the majority of Somalilanders are content with the direction of the nation and optimistic about its future). I don’t know how else you can measure patriotism and love of country beyond going to war and risking your live to protect your nation or people’s emotions and feelings about their country, events, things, and symbols like flags; but the Somaliland people are so crazy about their country, and they love it dearly.

There is a red, white, and green flag flying everywhere in Somaliland at private homes and at government buildings to show the patriotism of the people and how much love and devotion people have for their country. Whenever the Somaliland people hear the song of the flag they jump straight up and put their hand on their heart to show allegiance to the flag of Somaliland. Every Somaliland community in the entire world is gearing up to celebrate May 18th Independence Day (at this time of the year) with food, dance, songs, speeches, and memorials remembering the flag of the Republic of Somaliland.

Our Colours our Nation

Clearly this will bring big wide-smile to the faces of our fallen heroes and heroine in heaven and this will show them that the freedom light is shining and patriotism flames are burning brightly in the hearts of the Somaliland people in many ways much more than it did in the 1980’s. We’ll never disappoint you and we always keep you in our hearts.

However, there are those like Mr. Nicklaus Kay from UNSOM and others before him, who mistakenly believe that Somaliland patriotism and national identity is non-existent and it can be negotiated for the right price to unite with Mogadisho – their reasoning is that it is just a left-over hard-feelings from years of fighting with and the atrocities committed by Barre’s regime. They do not believe in Somaliland patriotism or national identity is real and true. They do not believe that the Somaliland people are willing to sacrifice their lives today much more than have sacrificed in 1980’s to protect their freedom and country. It is that believe that makes easier for them to believe talks with Somalia can find a negotiated framework that will result Somaliland uniting again with Somalia. Somaliland people have done so much to give the International Community an opportunity to learn the reality in Somaliland, but if that is not enough, sadly the only thing left waiting is the day will come when the loyalty of the Somaliland people is tested again by Mogadisho government; perhaps how Somaliland performs in the next test (war with Somalia) will convince UNSOM and the International Community to respect the Somaliland patriotism and national identity and or sovereignty. Somaliland people love their country and national identity. They are proud to be Somalilanders. God Bless Somaliland

By Somalilandsun Editorial Board