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TALKING POINT : LIFE IN THE DIASPORA
TAKING POINT BY
M.M. AFRAH
Toronto (Canada)

24, May 2003

LIFE IN THE DIASPORA
Email: afrah95@hotmail.com
M. M. Afrah

Many of us are sometimes homesick for a country that's not our own. Had it not been for Somalia's devastating civil war, the overwhelming majority of the Somali people, including yours truly, would not have been where they are today, in countries where we are welcomed for humanitarian reason, but not tolerated, encountering various road pumps, including the tearing apart of our culture, language and traditional family value.

Theorists say that the character of Somalia would change dramatically by the return of the Somali Diaspora with their know-hows and expertise. They would embark on the establishment of industries from the ashes of the civil/clans wars, intensive soil conservation, and productive irrigation schemes. They would also exploit the rich marine resources in our long territorial waters, which is now being poached by foreign fishing trawlers, taking advantage of the lawlessness in the country. And whenever the local people apprehend these international poachers they are considered as pirates. If that's not double standard I don't know what the hell it is.
This question kept me bugging.

However, the theorists predict that there would be a conflict in language and standards among people born and educated in the Diaspora. For example, children born in Western Europe with a mixed bag of European languages and those returning from English speaking countries, such as North America (Canada and USA), Australia, New Zealand and other British Commonwealth countries, would have hard time working as a team. They would also face communications barriers with the local people, as most of them, if not all, lost their native language.

One country that has successfully surmounted this hurdle is Israel. It was mandatory for immigrants and refugees from all corners of the world to attend state-sponsored Hebrew classes in order to blend with the natives and to overcome communications bottleneck before starting their new life in the state of Israel, then known as Palestine.


GENERAL BARRE'S LEGACY

Major Mohamed Siyad Barre's lasting legacy was the writing of the Somali language, despite opposition from certain Arab countries as well as some homegrown religious zealots who in their Friday sermons alleged that Latin (they called it Laadiin, without religion or abandoning Islam in Arabic). On the other hand, those who favored the Latin script said that Muslim countries, such as Turkey and Indonesia have also adopted Latin for their own scripts.

Obviously the Latin script will facilitate every Somali, or even foreigners, to quickly grasp the rudiments of the language without much effort. Besides, unlike English and some European languages with many silent letters, it is phonetic and had no silent letters.
As every language, there are of course some similar words with different meanings and sounds. For example:
Waan duulayaa I am going to fly
Waan duulayaa I am going to fight (or go to war)
Dameer Female donkey
Dameer Male donkey
Walaal for male and female (a sign of brotherly/sisterly affection)

As old Somali national (some called me a Dinosaur in their emails), I will remember forever General Barre's courage and his blissful catch phrase "Bar ama Barro" and the nationwide campaign to teach nomads the rudiments of the Somali script in 1972/73. I also vividly recall Xiddigta Oktobar coming out in Somali for the first time in our history. It was sold like hot cakes and by eight in the morning the paper disappeared from newsstands in the city.

The savages a.k.a. the Mooryaan destroyed irreplaceable textbooks, the noble work of the Somali Language Committee, toppled national monuments, ransacked the museums, the nation's archives and looted the banks, among other vital national treasures.

Some of my patriotic readers often beseech me to write in Somali, instead of English. They have a point there. But as we are now in the process of projecting Somalia's image worldwide, both in its dark side and bride side, and who was responsible for the destruction of a whole nation, the Webmaster of banadir.com concluded that an English spot was essential to inform President George W. Bush, among others, that there are no terrorist cells in Somalia, but only homegrown terrorists who are more lethal than the international terrorists, because they had destroyed a whole country and its people. They still do, because for one thing these guys are unyielding oddballs and eccentrics.

I would also like to emphasize last year's United Nations Report, which declared that there is no evidence that international terrorist groups were based in Somalia.

Obviously, no international terrorist worth his salt would end up in a country where homegrown terrorists continually shoot at each other Mad Max-style. It is a hell on earth. It is safe to say without being labeled as "unpatriotic" that poverty and terrorism are the twin evils. For example, the sprawling slums in the third world countries are the breeding ground for recruiting terrorists. You might say that most of those who committed the heinous crimes against the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon were from affluent Saudi society. But that's another story.

Some of you may recall my Open Letter To President Bush asking him to help the Somalis get rid of the warlords and their aficionados, the deadly Mooryaan. This letter demonstrated to the President some interest in that, apart from calling Somalia a failed state, he no longer links it with Osama's al-Qaeda (the Base) network or what he calls the "axis of evil."

The Webmaster also suggested that the English wordings should be simplified for a person with English as his/her second language. And it certainly worked; when we consider the number of feedback we receive daily from our readers.

We tell anyone who is seriously interested in peace and stability that in Somalia violence and horror awaits people in every corner since 1991. Yes, the Somalis are resilient. They outlasted colonialism; military dictatorship and they will eventually outlast the warlords and their earth-shattering gun totting Mooryaan.


A NOTE OF THANKS

Thanks from the bottom of my heart for your ongoing votes and the confidence you have shown in my modest articles on this Website. I ardent believe that continuing to have a platform to speak to you and to the world at large is the cool things to do. And of course the overwhelming majority of your comments also expressed that it is the right thing to do at this time when our native country is in a crossroad.
We shall overcome.

By M. M. Afrah©2003,
Email afrah95@hotmail.com


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