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Rising from the ashes of war | Prof. M. J. Farah

Rising from the ashes of war

Rising from the ashes of Somalia’s devastating civil war is an image so powerful, it could help provide a solution to the never ending devastation: educated Somali women. Women with the power and knowledge to pass their education to their offspring have the chance to construct a healthy and successful society from the chaotic rubble of war. Civil war, centering around the capitol city of Mogadishu, began on the morning of New Year’s Eve in 1991 and has evolved into a huge life-sucking black hole, from which there seems no escape. But, that’s what black holes do; they devour everything around them, and nothing gets out.

A woman named Asha, 19 years old on that New Year’s Day in 1991, and her family were amongst those swallowed up by Somalia’s swirling black hole. Like most of Somalia’s young women, she was uneducated, married, and already the mother of two sons. As the fog of war engulfed Mogadishu, she and her family decided to stay, rather than move away. As often happens in tribal conflicts, Asha encouraged her husband to fight for their tribe’s honor and dignity. After all, that’s a woman’s role in Somalia.

Shortly after joining the fight, Asha’s husband was killed, another casualty of the civil war. His death created three more casualties; Asha and her two sons, left without a father/husband to survive on their own. Instead of fleeing Mogadishu, Asha decided to stay there, while her sons have become warriors and potential future casualties of war.

With no particular skills or work experience, Asha, like most Somali women, was a stay at home mom, while her husband was the bread winner. While marriage and raising families is certainly encouraged in any society, it has become equally important for young women to seek higher education in many countries of the world…but…not in Somalia.

It is time for this to change.

If Asha had been able to seek an education, her sons might likewise have carried schoolbooks instead of AK47s, which they’ve been doing now for four years. Even today, there are exceptions to Asha and 99% of her countrywomen, and Asha Geele Diiriye, a Minister of Women’s Affairs in Puntland, a regional state of Somalia. In December of 2008, she initiated a meeting in order to persuade a group of rival presidential candidates from engaging in war. Armed to the teeth, they could easily have used battle instead of ballots to settle their differences.

Diiriye asked that they engage in a civil political discourse, and to respect the outcome of planned elections. As a result of that meeting, the candidates held a joint conference and publically announced they would set aside their differences and respect the election results. Diiriye’s direct involvement, telling the candidates, “You can respectfully disagree, but do not resort to violence and respect the outcome of the election,” had turned the tide. She spoke…..they listened.

Had 19-year-old Asha been given the opportunity of education, perhaps her two sons would have been influenced by a speech similar to Diiriye’s. Or, her whole family may have moved away as the fog of war rolled in, and her husband would be alive today. Mothers are the foundation of every family. It is known that behind many successful men, there is a strong woman. For instance, President Barack Obama is married to a remarkable and intelligent woman, Michelle Obama. Michelle holds degrees from two Ivy League universities and is an asset to both the President and their family. Also, she is a role model to women worldwide.

There is an African proverb that says, “If you educate a boy, you educate an individual, but, if you educate a girl, you educate a community.”

For the sake of Somalia, let the education begin.


Prof. M. J. Farah


M. J. Farah is an independent analyst, lecturer, writer, entrepreneur, and he currently reside in the Unites States.

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2 Jawaabood " Rising from the ashes of war | Prof. M. J. Farah "

  1. hassan abdi says:

    where have you obtained all those titles at that tender age.in accadecic world for you to be a professor you have to achieved the following:
    A)obtain bachelors,masters and phd degrees from arecognized university not from quack istitutions
    B)must have taught in the rank of tutor,lecturer,assistant lecturer,lecturer,associate professor and full professor for a period of 10 years at least.
    C)must have done alot of reserch that appear in intrenational recognised accademic journals
    D)must have supervised phd thesis for 5 years
    E)must have been a fellow at higher accademic institutions with alot of reputatios
    f)must have brought a new idea in to the world through research and accademic excellence
    in all those undertakings ou dont do within few years of imagined professorship.so my take is that it is dishonest to impuond so many titles that even your age cannot accomodate the somali way.in somali society every high school teacher is a frofessor. when will you people be honest even for one day?

  2. M.P OF MOG says:

    Prof. M. J. Farah


    M. J. Farah is an independent analyst, lecturer, writer, entrepreneur,.

    Woow with all those titles maybe you should go back home and help you people in your City of MOG-DISH. Something you missed : It a well known fact that all the War-loving so-called MPS in the world largest Parliament (550) are all fake PHD,SHEIKS and Generals IN the imaginative Villa of Sumuleya.