Prologue to Assimilation Policy?
The latest session of the ‘parliament’ in the nominal Somali regional state enacted statues that are of high interest. First, men and women are to share their assets equitably in the event of a divorce and no more reference is to be made to the rules in the Sharia court. Second, the ‘irksome’ five-star in the corner of the regional flag is soon to be a thing of the past. Third, Friday is to be a working day.
|Somali regional flag|
When announcing this ‘landmark’ laws, there was no disguise of the contempt for the feelings and beliefs of the people in the region. The vulgarities were so vile, the insensitivity so audacious! In fact, a laurel wreath was proffered onto the head of the man who announced it- a man merely used as an amplifier by the real rulers of the region who originated the laws. What temerity!
|The Somali Region|
The people of Somaligalbeed will need its most living God to get the better of this massive attempt on its heritage and identity, if this is what we, indeed, think it is.
We suspect this is a prologue to a new policy of assimilation the regime in Addis Ababa is trying to implement in the region, along with the already pursued divide-and-rule policies. The explanations given for the introduction of these laws are an indication of the phased strategies hatched up to delink the blood, history, and destiny ties the people of the region had and have with their kins in Somalia. This hitherto concealed agenda is beginning to obtrude blatantly; betraying the lies of the regime about valuing the customs and identities of nations and nationalities of the inhabitants of Ethiopia.
The regime thinks the removal of the star and the shade of blue background from the not-so-scared flag will hopefully mean, all of a sudden, the people of the region will be insensitive to the atrocities committed in Somalia. It hopes it will end the desire to be a Somali and will usher the dawn of a new transformation. We think, beyond publicity, it won’t go far. Indeed, the stooges in Jigjiga all looked drunk with well contrived misapprehension when their dishonest leadership announced that this measure is a step forward in the birth of a new sense of ‘Ethiopianism’ in the heart of the people of the region. Rigging facts is not something new with the regime and their implants. But one may still ask if this gratuitous euphoria have any chance of being a reality?
|The people of the region are burdened by a severe famine to care about the imposition of unenforceable laws by a despairing regime|
The Somali people are one in culture, religion and are intricately tied together by blood, bonded in marriages and share common livelihood sources. A mere elimination of a star will never stop the relation, but on the contrary, might act as a catalyst to solidify the affiliation and bolster self-awareness. It may wake up those who were asleep, oblivious to the danger lurking. Therefore, the euphoria is short-sighted. It will never impact on the social, political, cultural, psychological and economic attachment and interdependence among the Somali nation in the horn of Africa.
The people of the region are burdened by a severe famine to care about the imposition of unenforceable laws by a despairing regime. A regime that is busy expelling humanitarians and media people so that the cries of hungry children and the grief of abused mothers is not revealed to the world. Add this to the well founded reports by credible international human right organisations on the extra-judicial killings, arbitrary detentions and burning of villages committed by the Ethiopian army; and one would wonder if massive starvation is the right tool to arm-twist the Somaligalbeed people to sing in praise and long for the tri-coloured flag of Ethiopia.
A woman sits with her family in Denan, Somali Region, Ethiopia amid signs of a major drought. Denan was the epicentre of the region's last drought in 2000. Somali Region, Ethiopia
That Friday is going to be a working day is part of the phased attempt at the assimilation of the conquered natives. Perhaps, the decision on the rights of women and men is the most far-reaching. Apart from the questionable motives and the challenges around the operationalisation of the law, whether good or bad, the issue is, will it be accepted by the suspicious Somali’s who see it as a dictation by the Christian highlanders? Even if one argues this particular decree was made for the welfare of the women and with good intentions, the method of delivery has sullied its value and reduced the chances for practical implementation. Not to mention the parochial and controversial nature of the law.
After the killings, arrests and mass starvation polices is this the latest weapon to subdue the ‘unruly’ Somali’s? The designers of these laws must have dug deep and read all the lessons from French colonialism, for there is no better way of vanquishing a rebel than to force him/her to reject his/her self!
This new invention is particularly dangerous as it is targeted against the soul and sacred beliefs of the people. Whatever physical pain and loss is inflicted upon the Somaligalbeed people by the colonizers will heal with time. But, the shame and loss that follows the absconding of our values and core beliefs will alter who we are and will have an eternal sore in our soul and that of our progeny.
Therefore, the people of Somaligalbeed and their Somali brothers elsewhere must denounce and oppose this denial of religious rights and the blatant attack on their identity.
From our side, maybe, it is time we remind the strategists of this wicked policy, the living words of the eminent poet Jaamac Kadiye:
The sound I understand is a Somali
The genetics of me is a Somali
The way God created me is a Somali
He who I greet is a Somali
He who I share food with is a Somali
He who I befriend is a Somali
The perch I sleep on is a Somali
The land I walk on is a Somali
You find a Somali If you cut my skin
I object to the dissection and dalliance – (of those who wish to divide us)
Never will we be kept apart
I am a Somali, I am indivisible!!!