Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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The Handover of Qalbidhagax and Ethiopia’s De-somalinization mission

By Balayax Magan

The prolonged absence of Somalia’s central state has been felt from within and periphery. It affected every facet of our social, political and economical aspects.  We have had warlords and kleptocrats as our leaders in the recent decades, thieving oligarchs controlling our economy while our sheikhs’ biggest engagement, among all that is happening in our midst, are producing fatwas on mundane issues like songs and music shows.

That is why the country is divided into clan-controlled enclaves subject to foreigners’ manipulation and patronage.That is why there are inter-contest and scramble among the political players in the country to placate Ethiopia – the eminence grise of Somalia’s contemporary political market place.

President Farmajo

Against that backdrop, the handing over of Abdikarim Sheikh Muse (Qalbidhagax), a prominent member of ONLF, to Ethiopian authorities is just a déjà vu story and is nothing new. It happened before because of the prevailing circumstances and is happening now because of the same existing reasons.

The only news, however, is Farmajo’s empty rhetorical tunes on nationalism and sovereignty that was interwoven with pseudo anti-Ethiopia narrative is brought to surface earlier than thought.  We have been told Farmajo rejected 80 million dollar for the sake of the same sovereignty and national pride, we have been told neighboring nations are advised to keep their interference at bay. But alas now the writings are all over the wall.

The cat is finally out of the bag and the true face of Farmajo is unveiled. Just like his predecessors, Farmajo duped and betrayed the gullible masses by ignoring their feelings and choosing to genuflect to that of their enemies. But perhaps the intriguing question, and the one missing from this debate so far, is why Ethiopia indulges in such illegal mission of abduction in the first place?

Security threat is of course there but not sufficiently the main driving motive. ONLF, or rather its remnants, do no longer pose genuine threat to Ethiopia . The group has been victims of their own faults over the years and had gone to political oblivion as a result. They are now almost defunct and at the deathbed.

Mind you also, Ethiopia doesn’t pressure neighboring states such as Kenya to hand her down fugitives of such nature. So the real intention of this whole saga comes down to two things from the perspective of Ethiopian side.

The first is about humiliating Somalia’s political leadership and creating discontent within the Somali public. It is called the Abyssinia’s modus operandi of politicking. It first persuades and sometimes coerces her surrogates to do the abominable so as they lose public trust only to unmask them publicly and drive a further wedge between them and the populace. At the end, when all is lost, the surrogate will be left with no other option but to seek refuge with her and remain her subject forever. The emerging pictures of Qalbi-dhagax (probably leaked by Ethiopia’s intelligence services to arouse further public anger) and the contradicting statements to that of Somalia’s account are just some of the steps taken so far towards that end.

The second motive is related to addressing the Somalis under her occupation. Ever since Ethiopia forcefully incorporated the Somali inhabited land into her territory, the Somali people including those from the region and Ethiopians (be it the regime or the ordinary citizens) viewed one another as members of mutually exclusive social universes. The regime was interested merely the land and never bothered with transforming the identity of its inhabitants, they were considered guests of their own land. On the other hand, people of the region neither accepted the popular sovereignty of the ruler nor counted themselves as part of its social identity. So it was a mantra of “You are not us” and “we are not you”

But since the accession to power by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the Addis Ababa regime has changed the tactic and became hell bent to launder the Somalis from their own identity and forge for them a new narrative that somehow makes them distinct from the larger Somalis. Ethiopia wants to rewrite the history of the Somali people in the region, who they are and how they relate with their pasts and presents. The erection of Sayid Mohamed’s statue in the heart of Jigjiga, the removal of blue spot from the region’s flag and the abolition of Thursdays and Fridays as public holidays are just part of this unholy assimilation process.

And even if the regime offers them little incentives to trade off their identity, nevertheless, the Somali political leaderships are wittingly very instrumental in that respect.

Abdirahman Faroole, the former president of Puntland State, is on the record of infamously claiming that the people from the region speak Somali but are not Somalis.

By making Mogadishu, Bosaso and Hargeisa her hunting ground for freedom fighters, Ethiopia wants to create disillusion and moral fragmentation to the people under her colony and tell them that there is nowhere to run. It wants to persuade them into submission and voluntarily give up Somalinism at all.

And the narrative seems to be working, albeit slowly, on both ends. The Ethiopian- invented term of Ethiopian-Somali is so regularly used by the Somalis in Somalia (as much as it may sound ironical) to dispossesses people in the region from their political and economical rights in Somalia.

But, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Our people are resilient and had soldiered on with this mess for too long and definitely will emerge victorious at the end.

Meanwhile, the struggle for our rights, justice and dignity will go on unabated.

The A luta will continua…

Balayax Magan
Email: [email protected]

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