East or West Home is the Best
When I was a kid I never got the chance of living under protective central government who looks after its people. But again I was so lucky I didn’t live under the dictatorship regime that seized the power after the assassination of the president in 1969 and ruled the country between 1969 till 1990.
Although the dictatorship regime was so harsh, killed and imprisoned many people but it really developed the country’s military, education, health and also improved social economics and politics. It provided free education up to higher level and forced every family to send their children to schools both boys and girls. This helped many girls get higher education.
Somalia is situated in the Horn of Africa and lies along the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. It is bounded by Djibouti in the northwest, Ethiopia in the west and Kenya in the southwest. Somalia has got the perfect climate. It is not too hot or too cold. The country is rich with natural resources and minerals that make its fruits very sweet.
Opposition groups threw the dictatorship regime in 1990, but instead of getting better life and government, the country rocked in to civil war. Community centers, government services and almost everything have been destroyed, leaving the country with no hope.
Since there was no government to protect its country and community people started emigrating, some reached the neighboring countries while others died as a result of hunger and thirst before they reach their destination. While others suffered and still some of them suffer in the refugee camps with no food, neither education nor health cares. On top of that women and girls faced almost all gender based violence including rape, sexual exploitation and abuse and many more.
Some foreign countries started fishing illegally and depositing poisons in the country’s shores, as well as harassing the Somali fishermen. This wasn’t only their will but some selfish Somali people took some money from them and signed agreements authorizing they can bury these poisons in the shores. Due to this, young Somali fishers organized themselves in order to protect their coasts and they ended hijacking some foreign ships and demanding for ransom and a huge amount of money have been paid to free those ships.
Since the foreign countries were paying huge amounts of money to free their ships and its crew and the high rate of unemployment in the country triggered many youth to join these groups and finally turned to be pirates. Due to this multimillion job it influenced youth where every boys says “I will join the pirates if I don’t get higher education or job” and “every uneducated girl dreams of marrying a pirate” since these guys earn thousands and millions of US dollars.
Although the country was without a central government for almost 2 decades, still things look fine in most of the places. People die as a result of the heavy fights between the opposing parties in Mogadishu while others go to schools, universities and work places. There are stable regions which has its own administrations like Puntland and Somaliland.
When I was young and the country was rocked by the civil war, every time I ask my parents why cant we emigrate and leave the country they used to tell me “Lama huraan waa cowska jiilaal” translated to “East or west home is the best” meaning wherever you go you will never find a place like your homeland no matter what.!
In your country nobody is asking you Where is your Identity Card? Why are you here? Neither will they see you as a refugee. But soon you leave your country everyone in those countries will see you as a refugee or these days it’s even worse they will see you as a “terrorist”.
I have a dream for my country and will work on it until I reach it. My vision is to empower youth in my community (both boys and girls) and train them to be the change agents and become the future leaders of the country. Reduce poverty and eliminate ignorance. Give them vocational trainings so that they don’t think of joining neither pirates nor the armed groups. And also reduce human trafficking and all kinds of violence.
Creating vocational training for youth will help both boys and girls. As for the boys it will help them become entrepreneurs. Getting skills will help them sustain their lives and they won’t think of joining pirates or any gang groups. As for the girls it will help them get jobs, help themselves and their families. It will help them not to tolerate violence just because they don’t have what to provide for their kids in case they leave their husbands.
If I ever have the chance I will definitely argue with the international community instead of paying huge amounts of money to the pirates to free their ships, it would be better if they create skills for the youth so that they won’t think of getting in trouble looking money or to train the Puntland coastal guards because piracy starts from the land not in the seas.
Furthermore, people who caused the genocide in Somalia, those who signs such agreements and those who still massacre the innocent civilians are walking in the streets peacefully and some of them are living abroad carrying luxury lives. The big question that always comes to my mind is whether the ICC could ever charge these people with their crimes or if they will ever face death penalties for what they have caused?.
Although I am living under the protection of our state government (Puntland state government), but every time I hear there were people who died or injured as a result of the clashes in Mogadishu and the neighboring towns. I always feel sorry for them and I pray that they get a chance like I do to live peacefully.