By Hassan M. Abukar
Special report for WardheerNews
Mona al-Sharmani is one of the attorneys who have represented Somalia’s legal case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague, Netherland. Kenya and Somalia are embroiled in a maritime dispute that is currently before the International Court of Justice.
Mona’s name has gone viral on social media because many Somalis are proud of her and the way she has presented the Somali case. Unfortunately, I have seen many posts on social networks that are inaccurate and misleading. The goal here is to parse facts from fiction.
Who is Dr. Mona al-Sharmani?
Mona was born in Somalia in the late 1960s to Mohamed Ali al-Sharmani and Hawo “Sharmaan.” Her father, better known as “Sharmaan” is a product of a Somali Arab (Yemeni) father and Mirifle (Rahanweyn) mother. Hawo, Mona’s mom, is Shiikhaal (father) and Abgaal (mother). Sharmaan is a veteran Somali military officer and a diplomat. He was a classmate and close friend of Mohamed Ali Samatar (former Vice-President, Defense Minister, and Chief of Staff) and Abdalla Mohamed Fadil (a former Somali cabinet member). Sharmaan served as a member of the military tribunal established by Siad Barre’s Somali Revolutionary Council (SRC); he was posted to both Cairo and Moscow as a military attaché in the 1970s, and finally became Somalia’s ambassador to Iran and then Algeria. He is currently retired and living in Phoenix, Arizona.
Mona’s mother and her older brother, Abdulkadir, were also junior diplomats in the Somali embassies of Egypt and Sweden, respectively. Mona’s sister, Mulki, is a professor in Finland and was the main organizer of this summer’s conference of Somali Studies, which was held in Helsinki.
Mona has degrees from Egypt and advanced graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University and Harvard. She has also worked for a law firm in New York.
Mona and her family care a great deal about Somalia. Although Mona left Somalia as a child and grew up in Egypt, she has always been committed to serving her country and offered her legal services to Somalia’s Permanent Mission at the United Nations. Her father was the main force encouraging her to help her native country, and he has always been proud of her. Mona excelled in her education and is fluent both in Arabic and English.
Several years ago, Mona’s family suffered a tragedy when one of her younger brothers joined the al-Shabaab recruiting ring in Seattle, Washington. He was later killed in Somalia. The loss was devastating to the family, which was caught off guard by the young man’s radicalism and ultimate demise.
In a nutshell, Mona represents what is good about patriotism, national service, and work ethics. She has made a name for herself through her education, extensive legal experience, and service. She is not from a “minority group” as some have said, but rather she is a symbol of an entire country and a nation. She is too big to be pigeonholed to a simple and iniquitous tribal classification.
Finally, Mona is a proud daughter, sister, and aunt. We have only seen the beginnings of what she can do for her native country. There is more to come. Stay tuned.
Hassan M. Abukar