"Be not, then, faint of heart, and grieve not; for you must gain mastery if you are (truly) believers”
"Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves shall never tremble"
I have been told often enough that my writings and contestations transpire to be; on one hand, opaque, esoteric, contemptuous and pluralistic; on the other hand, texualization that persistently invites courage, indeed audacity. Audacity that endorses deeper, broader and higher intellectual endeavor resuscitating gifted minds and the pure human spirits of Somali people. Nonetheless, grand deficiency of my texualization is a crucial constituency that most Somali articles possess and reflect in abundance: unspoken oath and reference of particular political, genealogical and ritual allegiance, which indeed extinguishes (according to most Somali predilections), the quality of stimulusness, intensity and excitement of my articles; and thus uninspire numerous august Somali readers. In other words, majority of Somali learned people are not free from parochial Somali micro-politics, and every oeuvres and readings about Somalia should encompass interior virulent alienation and political fragmentation.
I was indeed disturbed by lack of resistances and protestations regarding Somali constitution objectionists, to my knowledge, with the exception of two admirable contributors to WardheerNews website (Abdirahman Tamaam and Qali Farah). In contrast, if undeniably the discussions were regional issues or particular communities, their frivolous and decadent assertions would be inundated, their egotistical and sentimental calculation would be advanced, their dysphemisms and vulgar rhetoric would be vociferous with colorful aesthetics and inexhaustible intellectual wealth.
Let me say this that no one knows the mysteries of the future as it is God’s constituency, nor can anyone utter positively what is in store for us tomorrow, but I can say with conviction, today, we as Somali people, are standing at the crossroads, and the mournful consequences are self-annihilation as everyone everywhere stare us in the face; or glorious consequences as the noble people sow noble seeds, and thus rich harvest they reap. I was deeply thinking what could be the corollary of denunciation of Somali constitution, and what it might mean in long term for us, Somalis; Alas! I could not contemplate better than a poem encapsulated in Leo Tolstoy’s book; What is Art? And that poem stated:
Two warriors rushed at each other; their weapons
The blades are broken! Like our youths,
For the last twenty years, one thing had become fashionable in Somali elites – despairing and insidious affiliation with western institutions; most prominently giant media cooperation, think-tanks, foreign departments, security and military offices, churches; in contrast of academic institutions, which are rare institutions that Somali people used to associate with. These desperate affiliation enforced alteration of systems of thought, of logic of equilibrium, of unrealization of the writings on world map, and as a result, converted our noble physicians, layers, parliamentarians, Imams, poets, people of science, traditional leaders into sickly money-soul, cheap paid wage-labors and therefore as we had truly experienced, prolongation of social, political and cultural degradation. In the context of aforementioned articulation, I mean the institutions that historically represented and reflected imperialism, and hitherto celebrate and promote hierarchalized western national culture.
There are innumerable numbers of western mediocre analysts who make professions out of Somali wretchedness, and Somali elites, for one reason or the other, settled with end of striving and struggling; to be peasant workers and endorse this kingdom of merciless culture, to escape hunger and isolation. To the delightfulness of these mediocre analysts, it is priceless source of information to further exploitation, destabilization and prolongation of Somali wretchedness. Theodor Adorno, German theoretician and philosopher, had firsthand experienced and his circumstances resembled what Somali Diasporas are enduring contemporaneously, when he fled to America during second world war as he eloquently expressed in his encyclopedic book, Minima Moralia, beautifully and sagely subtitled Reflection From Damaged Life, and believed “while they may bring their protector trivial advantages, they drag him down the moment he accepts them, he is ceaselessly seduced to do by his own helplessness in a strange country”. In addition to our perennial emotional and intellectual embarrassment, I had recently heard that one British Diplomat and Somali analyst stated that being “exasperated” from Somali Diasporas asking their friendship and opportunity to labor. May be it is not merely individual that is discontented, but the whole world is malcontent with us as we are indeed dissatisfied with each-other.
There might be understandable rationalization behind Somali elites’ desperation slouching towards degradation and disdainfulness, however I beg to differ that elites’ reasons under these circumstances exist in rational form; if the real reasons are avoidance of huger and isolation. Yes! Somali people, especially Diasporas, exist with veil and confusion; secondly in Occidental, Oriental and African world, Somali people indeed feel emptiness with no true consciousness or rather dual consciousness, which make them feel lost souls and can only “see [themselves] through the revelation of other world” to borrow Dubois’ resourceful wisdom. Therefore desperate affiliation and endorsement of slouching towards disdainfulness might be due to searching oneself through the eyes of others: to be someone with established nation, culture, language and existence. Alas! I wonder how long we shall continue feeling these “two-ness”; on one hand, British who successfully integrated with western intellectual and material advancement, with relatively thriving academic and professional credentials; and on the other hand; Somali lost soul, sorrow heart, inhabiting sad and solitary confinement, desperately struggling to rescue and sustain Somali traits on world map: two irreconcilable thoughts and perspectives; most fortunate, yet it is most unfortunate in same breath, which necessitate “self-conscious Manhood”.
There is also understandable rationalization behind slouching towards counterfeit western quackery and dishonest demagogues within Somalis hence our existence resembles emptiness desperately endeavoring to attain desired role in this world. Who knows? May be hope is in the hopelessness, cure is in the pain, patience and perseverance, and good things from evil experiences. Nonetheless good things do happen by action, not by contemplation, and we need to do a lot, most importantly, we yearn for adjustments that satisfy two double-aimed struggles, two irreconcilable emotions; we need to adjust our education and expertise to our national political solutions, to our real life; we need our sovereignty on our right fist to endeavor collective social responsibilities fostering Somali traits and talents, and then realization of the meaning of progression; most crucially we need acceptance of the reality that we are stately, economically, socially, politically, culturally and ritually “diseased and dying” and an importunate remedial durable solution is paramount.
Other perilous effects, prolonged agony of desperate affiliation of particular institution, engenders abandonments of intellectual freedom and independence, of individual perseverance, of stating truth to powers, of self-clarification, as one might romanticize particular cultural industry. Albeit very few Somali elites can fulfill professional positions for affiliation with the State Department or Foreign Offices but even these handful intellectuals will never be employed unless they conform and become loyal, whilst resembling same assumptions and speaking same languages. If you dare to differ, you will never be close to policy formulation, policy goals of conglomerated institutions or be informed any real decision making stratagems. What Somali Diasporas are desperately salivating are mediocre think-tanks, paltry cooperation to labor as source of free information, which might make them appear worthy intellectuals, without realization of how the real information they gather, is being operationalized. One can say that all Somali intellectuals had either learned or are “learning to labor”, nothing more. Let me conclude by stating that human conditions are subject to historical and circumstantial changes and thus emotional and intellectual evaluation change accordingly. We always examine what is socially healthy as it is the basis of human intellectual healthiness as well as becoming main component of man’s historical self-awareness.
Jama Hersi is an Activist and Autodidactic in Somali Affairs. He can be reached at E-Mail: email@example.com
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