CLAN and STATE: Somali Context

CLAN and STATE: Somali Context

- in NEWS3, Openion
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In function, organization, development, ambition, goals, aims, attainment, philosophy and growth, state and clan are in a state of clear antitheses but since state originates from clan or say since clan is the mother of states or again say since state is the offshoot of clan ,they are related and belong to each other in terms of social provenance.

What I mean here is that clans were primitive, divided and disintegrated people without singular leadership, but in the course of time after they become conscious of their weak disharmonious state, they stand up to organize themselves, build institutions, elect singular leadership and go on in pursue of hoped-for development. To be clear with what we are discussing, it is appropriate that we look for a source of written and researched document to help us understand the difference between a clan and a state. The Collins Co-build English Dictionary puts the difference of the two terms as follows: Clan: Group of families that are related to each other because they are all descended from the same ancestor. State: A country, usually when it is considered in terms of political organization and structure. Here, the outstanding variance is epitomized by two terms: Organized and Structured. Infect, a clannish environ is in a chaotic, lawlessness, divided and always in a situation of clangor and clamor, because the forceful job description, functioning discipline, documented law and order are totally absent, and the chief who claims to control the situation lacks institutions to keep situation under control such as security forces, courts, laws to be followed and socially binding and other acknowledged bylaws.

Out of this lawless milieu, the chief uses his charisma, astuteness and sometimes resorts to his hidden and mystic power of being a saint and may call down God’s anger on the opponent, a claim of concealed extraordinary power.

In contrast people normally give heeding to visible power and physical authority that the concerned is aware that if he does not comply with the established discipline, actions may be taken against him. That is how to keep harmonious social order, which is not known at the chief and his surroundings. A clan usually remains a zero level of social development and organization where total transformation is inevitable to be launched if real leadership is to be used as a tool for change. An outstanding example of total social transformation can be taken what Prophet Mohamed(Peace be Upon) found in the Arabian Dark days, Jaahiliya, where it was normal that a father would bury his daughter alive because she was simply a female, to just mention one instance in addition to the myopic worshipping of idols. The horrible situation was a clan killing another clan because they were they and we were us. This was the highest mark of depiction of ignorance, shedding human blood for no good reason and always remaining in such a treacherous and malignant environ and senseless hatred. But by the virtue of an ideal and single-minded leadership, with the help of Allah, and with the aid of the loyal men trained and oriented according to the teaching of Qur’an and Hadith, in two decades time, there appeared in the place of ignorance real men, worshippers in the night and mujahidin in the day time.

The Prophet and his men did not use a single bullet to cower people. Instead they resorted to the purest method of teaching human, the way of Allah, and in a very short period of time they succeed to launch a total social transformation in Arabia and other target area. This amazing achievement had never been attained through threat or violence, but through good will, good language, tolerance, mutual understanding and real portrayal cooperation and brotherhood in the path of Allah and removing people from the darkness of ignorance to the shining light of knowledge and the way of Allah, this complete transformation had been realized, with everlasting way of building ceaseless inspiration and aspiration. This simple account is in depiction of how human being can make change, if they want to and act seriously. And this is an example of how to build a state, regardless of its methodology and means and depending on the aim and purpose behind the action to be taken. Anyway let’s say a social service and delivery of message, each one’s message is the goal. Clannish countries like Somalia suffer a kind of confusion of leadership, because the clannish chieftain puts claim to power and another one in the title of political leader also asserts the legitimacy of his position as statesman.This tenacious confusion is a real challenge to the management of the country, in particular these days where political crises are created by locals and foreigners for Somalia according to each one’ interest. And conducting election This fundamental question is quite obvious in the attempts of forming administrations for regions and conducting election during this year, 2016. Instead of opening consultative discussions in a calm and cautious manner, keeping in mind the need to solve pending issues, clashes abruptly flare up due to provocation born out of the very discussions supposed to bring about solutions. As the following report states clashes easily erupt causing death and displacement: Clashes between clan militias in Somalia’s historically divided city of Galkayo that broke out on 22 November have killed at least 40 people, injured hundreds and displaced thousands. Delegates meeting for settling some issues are normally taken as goodwill in the hope that the very meeting is a good symbol and may bring about good result. The opposite happens here. Some of the delegates specially the guy from Garowe uses threats and abusive language and walks out of the meetings with the slightest differences. One behavior characterized from this guy and his predecessor is keep threatening severance of relations with the federal government. And on other occasions, he goes on further to claim that his administration is going to secede from the rest of Somalia while knowing that the secessionists in the north west of Somalia, more powerful than he does, failed to generate international recognition. The whole situation is just bluff and bully, the culture of clannish behavior. AS a Sudanese thinker referring to the absence of the central government of Somalia pointed out, nation without central government is nothing but clan status, because those who secede from the central government on the basis of tribal cause will finally disintegrate into smaller cleavages, much less than a state. The point these guys are missing is that if every clan leader is given political recognition, then Somalia will at least disintegrate into 35 clan families, which is more of a headache than a solution. Since the collapse of the central government of Somalia in 1991 power of chieftaincy increased taking advantage of the absence of the central authority, but obviously, this is at the expense of the national interest, a country without security forces to defend it where foreigners, civilians and otherwise, just enter freely and exit freely. The present central government, with its inherent weakness, at least enjoys the voice and say of a legal central authority. When in the last year the Kenyans launched their rapaciously illegal desire to annex part of the marine territory of Somalia, the government of Somalia submitting a complaint about the Kenyan encroachment. And the voice was heard. What no Somali with right conscience will never forget and forgive was that Abdiwali, the leader of the Northeastern region of Somalia threw his support behind the Kenyan claim, showing his arrant hatred towards the Somali people and their rightful territorial integrity. This is also part of the adversary tendency of clan against another clan. In fact, the case in dispute is not an argument among Somali clans, but a foreign claim, an enemy already enjoying and ruling part of the Somali territory. Regardless the normal and ever existing accusation and counter accusation, what touched off the recent dispute is the inability of the political delegates to decide in consensus of the method to take in implementing what they call a form of election in 2016. Abdiwali is sticking to district wise form of election pretending that a safe and fair election can take place in the regions he claims to come under his jurisdiction. Take Las-anod as an example. Abdiwali claims that Las-anod is part of his constituency. This town represents the bloodiest place between the northwestern region and northeastern one and the dispute is up as it was some back where armed militias are facing each other on the ownership of the town. And now there is another claimant of the same town, Dr. Ali Khalif Galaydh, the leader of the recently formed administration, Khatumo, which is also under dispute. Can we have a fair-minded judge to study the complex case and impart a just verdict? That the delegates claiming to represent Somalia met in different places, Mogadishu, Garowe, Kismayo and in Istanbul and failed to agree on certain formula shows nothing, but that we are in the center of clannish milieu, and circumstances require us to engage in complicated consultations which may keep on continuing for 24 months like that of Eldoret which started in 2002 and ended in 2004.If we fail to deliver ourselves from the shackles of clannish fiefdom, then we will end up in a ceaseless struggle and permanent accusation and counter accusation and the world will view us as strange people who are fond of disputes and pugnacity and fruitless discussions. And this milieu will forever go on until we will be able to come to the grip with reality and choose the right path of leading a country , not a clan, where personality of cult will not have a position, but discipline, job description, mutual understanding, tolerance, law and order will dominate our environment, and as a result we will be able to build a structured and institutionalized offices whose objective and target are to serve the modern state of Somalia, with empowered single-minded leadership , trusted , selective and mandated by the people with clan and the chief marginalized. – Ahmed nur Sheikh Ali, Writer, Poet, academic with long years of teaching experience; Holds M.A. in English and is PhD candidate at Aligarh Muslim University, India. Presently he teaches English at the National University of Somalia. He also taught Somali language at Dictyon language School, Virginia, USA.

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