By Abdi Mohamud (Awabdi)
Global Somali Diaspora (GSD) came into being about four years ago, probably born out of the ashes of the defunct Israac. I became aware of the existence of Israac about a decade ago through some articles posted on Somali websites. The articles gave the impression that Israac was founded and operated by patriotic Somalis who intended to play a significant role in tackling multiple challenges facing their country. The Israac writings never, at least to my knowledge, articulated for or presented to its audience any vision, plan or strategy related to its objectives, scope and work. It never sought the support of or engaged the fellow Somalis and other well wishers to achieve its goals. Israac was non-starter and finally ceased to exist.
One may wonder why Israac was fated for failure. No one knows for sure, other than those who founded and ran it. Considering Israac’s abysmal accomplishments and short existence, we can only speculate that lack of commitment and action by its members hastened its death. It is fair to say that those involved were loosely connected group whose priority was to enjoy each other’s conversation, friendship, company and camaraderie. It is likely the whole purpose was to enable childhood friends to stay in touch with one other, an endeavor that ultimately fail to materialize after each one got busy with own business.
Now, we have Global Somali Diaspora also known as Horusocod. Horusocod caught my attention June this year when it had its yearly conference in Turkey. Horusocod appealed to me in part due to its global outlook. Somalis have become global communities and citizens and they need organizations with global scope and reach that are capable of articulating and defending their interests in the world over.
Somalis in the diaspora face many challenges. They are still new to their adopted countries so they are yet to be fully integrated and establish fully fledged bodies that represent their interests, and help them cope with the racism and islamophobia that they encounter among other things. So apparently Horusocod has a role to play and responsibility to assume. It has to reach out and establish itself as in many communities as possible by familiarizing itself with the challenges they face and opening chapters there. It also has to roll out workable, actionable plans that communities will appreciate and own.
Horusocod is well positioned to guide and get communities organized and strengthened to fully contribute to, and participate in all spheres of life in their respective countries. Horusocod is also expected to mentor and prepare next generation leaders. This is very crucial if we have to retain our culture and heritage, and to continue remaining productive, respected members of the countries we live in.
In order for Horusocod to stay relevant, it should not repeat the mistake made by its predecessor. It has to bring its operations, energy and focus closer to the communities that it intends to serve.
I have made some efforts to know more about this organization. I have been interested in what it does, how one can get involved and if there are requirements for membership. There is a facebook page but no information about these things. The only information on this page is that two people, one in Mogadishu and other one in Australia are tasked with management responsibilities. There is also a youtube account with no current updates. I believe the last post was two years ago. Then, I sent a message through facebook requesting more details about the group. Unfortunately, I am still waiting for a reply.
Taking all these into account, one may wonder if this group, invoking the Somali name is another Israac. This also makes one question the organization’s credibility and seriousness. It is hard to fathom how a yearly gathering held in a foreign country will produce anything that will have a positive impact on the lives of Somalis both at home and abroad. Horusocod has to do things differently if it has to stay relevant and useful. Conduct some research, invite input from the diaspora communities, and also learn from the success of the established diaspora communities such the Punjabis, the Jewish etc to better serve and organize the Somalis in the diaspora. Changes have to be made structurally and operationally. Such strategies will be a welcome initiative.
Horusocod has organized three yearly conferences so far, all of which were held outside Somalia. The UK, Rwanda and Turkey were chosen to host those yearly meetings. NO figures available but if we go by the pictures taken of those in attendance, it is fair to say that each gathering drew about a hundred people. And it is highly probable that attendance was by invitation. Considering the scant information in the public domain, it seems that everything is shrouded in secrecy and it is not clear who is benefitting from the whole enterprise. It is also mind boggling why Horusocod has avoided allowing any of those conferences to take place inside Somalia.
Horusocod should have held those gatherings in Garowe, Mogadishu, Jowhar or any other city in the country. Horusocod should have done this deliberately to inject some life into the local economy, and to share expertise and knowledge with the locals. Horusocod has to pay attention to the little things in order to achieve desired higher goals. The organization has prided itself on securing some discount on flights for its members from the Turkish Airline. That is great but why not encourage your members to donate the discount received to a worthy cause in Somalia.You could have purchased with that money some medications, hospital equipment or pay the tuition fees for students from low income families. There are many such students who are struggling in Somalia. These are just examples.
There are many ways you can show that you love and care. I hope that charity will be part of your agenda going forward.
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