This post was written on September 10, 2011,on my brother's website (check it out), http://thesocialcartographer.org/. I felt compelled to post this as I interact in a dynamic context with many youth, some of which are Somali, and it brings a general sentiment to mind when discussing the topic at hand, advocacy. Many youth are simply not involved in any social change movements. It is not enough to simply use media outlets once in a while to passively comment on what is going on. The revolution in Egypt invigorated the the youth via social media, but this in my opinion, wasn't the driver. A prominent question in this post is, "Where are the people to create this future?" This reference, in part, is directed at the youth, particularly the Somali diaspora. Youth from generations past showed how dynamic political change is and demanded to be heard. This is simply lacking from today's youth. Enjoy the post. -a-
What Do We Have?
I have been think lately that a major cause to the continuation of the Somali conflict is due to the inactivity of the Somali civil population. There may be several organizations inside Somalia trying to change things but what about the millions of Somali Diaspora. Where is the strong framework for social change there? I do not see any. In fact the only advocates I see in this conflict are the Islamist, the TFG, and the Clans. Where are the people that wish to create a great Somalia for everyone? Where is the social movement that believes in a people's nation? Where are the people willing to fight for Somalia, not for themselves? Wither your an Islamist or TFG member, a great Somalia will not be born from the ashes of conflict. A great Somalia will only be born from the fire of dreams, the audacity of hope, and the will to imagine a greater future.
Where are the people to create this future? I do not see them. Where are the qualified strong leaders that can build this nation? I do not seem them. What I see is a group of misguided youth thinking they are part of a great struggle when they are only creating a greater struggle for others. I see young men and women who leave the dry and hopeless nation of Somalia to find a place where they can thrive to follow their dreams. What I see are mindless and morally corrupted organizations that feeds on the ills of others all in the belief that the ends justify the means and calls it a religion or politics. I see people who starve because they have no power. I see people who have power who are not worthy of such power. I see inequality. I see mayhem. I see fear. I see hate.
I truly believe that the children lead by the examples shown to them by their parents. But what have the last generation taught us? They have taught us how to hate our countrymen. They have taught us how not to build a nation. They have taught us how not to fight for the things we believe in. They have taught us how to fail. They have taught us why we should not to listen to them. But most of all they have taught us how to become grown men and women. This is most important because although we learn by example each and every one of us has the ability to choose our own way. I have learned what path not to follow. I've learned from others mistakes. But for the past two decades we as a nation have continually been making the same mistakes over and over and over. We are trying to build a nation from the top down. If you understand the basics of trickle down economics then you will understand that trickle down governance is just as slow and unreliable.
I believe the time has come for the next generation to solve the Somali Crisis. I believe that we can come up with a solution that has not been discussed yet because we will do this for Somalia not for ourselves. So is it time for an International Somali Youth Conference?
I've always been surprised by the extent, popularity, and network capabilities of other sociopolitical movements. Looking at movements like Free Palestine, Free Tibet, & Save Darfur, I've always wondered how they became so popular. By popular I mean well known with considerable network of supporters. Well, "The Free Palestine Movement" I believe is popular simply because a lot of Arab countries were embarrassed by Israel. The other reason is that the movement is in direct conflict with Israel which is basically an extension of the West into South-West Asia. The "Free Tibet" movement is a direct reflection with the West's distrust of China. It’s probably one of the few movements that would be (secretly at least) be supported by the US government as being in the interest of America. The "Save Darfur" Movement was a media blitz. The rebels in Darfur had presented themselves as "Africans" fighting "Arabs" and where able to get the sympathy of the white man. Having your government despised by the West also helps. The important thing to understand with these movements is that the popularity often (except for maybe the Palestine one) comes at the cost of the local population losing control of their own struggle. I've always asked 'what do white kids on college campuses in the United States understand about what’s going in Darfur?". The answer is nothing. But they put on a shirt that says "Save Darfur" & now their "world citizens".
We must also no forget movements that have not gotten the popular attention. The first one being "The Kurdish Movement". Probably the largest ethnic group in the world without a homeland. They are separated like the Somalis into multiple countries; Iran, Turkey, & Syria. The other movement I would like to recognize is "The Polisario Front". These people are mostly Berber or as they like to call themselves Amazigh (Free People). It’s considered Africa's longest conflict. Morocco got kicked out of the AU over this instance that Western Sahara belongs to them. But since 1973, they have been fighting to stop being the last major territory without self-governance.
The Silent Revolution
My immediate desire is to unite the Somalis into one National Movement. I will show the structure of the organization I am talking above.
Without getting too into it; the political parties on the left is just an example. I am thinking the Somali Solidarity Movement (SSM) would have both political parties & NGOs. The Revolutionary Intifada Army (RIA) is the Youth wing of the National Socialist Party (NSP). I believe every political party should have a youth wing controlled by the Youth. They cannot be an Army in the sense of soldiers with guns. The RIA can be best described as a Black Panther party for Somalia.
The other groups are self-explanatory. Media especially music is very important to a movement. But we must control the media about us. We need to have our own media. The National Prosperity Collective is basically the artist & civil society. Lastly the institutions are not normal Western institutions. These are vocational institutions based on experience. Students would go to the Pan African University for Peace & Prosperity & its branch the Somali Agricultural Institute, learn about simple farming practices. In 1 to 2 years would be out in the field helping farmers change their agricultural practices while still getting a 3 or 4 university degree.
I leave you with the words of the Senegalese environmentalist Baba Dioum
"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught."