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Tigrean In Sheep’s Clothes | Mohamed Heebaan

Tigrean In Sheep’s Clothes…………….!

Abdul Ahmed III is an odd name for a Somali, or for that matter for a Muslim. But he could be neither. In either case, the name is the least problematic about this writer. The writer posted on some Somali websites an article titled “Understanding the collapse of Somalia: opportunities and challenges of restoring a nation state.”

The impression one gets from the title is that the writer would perhaps shed some light on the reasons behind the collapse of the Somali government, and possibly suggest some of the best ways to tackle the fragmentation prevalent today, and restore the unity of the country. Unfortunately the writer says something in the title, and the opposite in the body of the article. In other words, the hopeful title of the article is a deliberate deception of the sinister message delivered in the body of the article. An accurate summary of the article and appropriate title for the message it conveys would be “Somalia is dead, and it should forever remain that way!”

The writer obviously harbours deep antagonism towards Somalia, its country, and its people. His antagonism shows NOT in the superficial forms of trashing and name calling, but the careful choice of his words, and policy proposals he advocates.

For example, his name of choice, that he uses over and over, for our country is NOT Somalia, but former-Somalia—as though Somalia and its people and its country have vanished from the face of this earth! The prescription he penned for Somalia unequivocally underlines the writer’s deep animosity against Somalia and its people, because line after line, paragraph after paragraph, the writer emphasizes two reinforcing points: Somalia’s demise is irreversible, and the attempts to restore the unity of the country are doomed and hopeless: “The collapse of Somalia is irreversible, restoration of Somalia is beyond mechanistic policy design”1 He wrote. In other words, Abdul Ahmed III is saying that Somalia’s demise is permanent, and all the efforts to restore the unity of the country are an exercise in futility!

And if the death sentence that he given Somalia wasn’t clear enough, he writes it in block letters for everyone to see, “For the Somalia that once was, the nation state that existed from 1960-1991 may not be restorable at all to its original state.” He declares.

In the two examples that I have just given, the writer had given Somalia a death sentence, and was saying that no one should try to resuscitate it, because it is hopeless. But the writer moved from describing Somalia as a dead entity, into devising and proposing a sinister policy of dismemberment, which he euphemistically calls “Decentralization”, that he clearly knows would kill Somalia for good: “If empirical evidence is a guide and an authority for devising a solution to Somalia’s problems, then one would most certainly and at a minimum explore a solution based on DECENTRALIZED, traditional or regional authorities.” He writes.

And again, if the writer’s aims and intentions towards Somalia were not clear enough, he expresses his agenda in an explicit manner that would leave no doubt in anyone’s mind, when he says, “The de facto partitioning of Somalia is a real outcome that may be just irreversible.”

The writer dismisses as wrong headed the international community’s policy of treating Somalia as a one country, because he says Somalia had been a unified country only for 31 years, from 1960-1991: He writes, “The international Community uses a rather obsolete paradigm based on viewing Somalia as a single entity. In reality Somalia has been single unified entity only for 31 years (from 1960-1991).”

The above point clearly underlines Abdul Ahmed’s ignorance about world history, and how tribes, clans, communities, towns, and regions evolved into states and nations. Tell me any country in the world, and I will tell you when the people in that country evolved from communities and disparate towns and regions into a unified state.

The writer time and again criticizes the UN, the US, and the international community for supporting the effort to create a central Somali government that may unite the country. Instead he wants the Dismemberment that he euphemistically calls Regionalism must be given the focus: “The international community must realize that Somali regionalism (whether it is a virtue or a vice) must be acknowledged. It must also be a parameter to consider when devising a policy for reconciliation and post conflict institutional building. From policy design perspective, regionalism is an essential element to consider. US, UN and the international community must view the former-Somalia as a country that consists of distinct and divided regions.”

In the very next paragraph, the writer abandons the rhetoric about regionalism, and calls upon the world community to stop treating Somalia as a single country, when he says, “It is therefore sensible for the United States, United Nations, and the EU to abandon the premise of Somalia as a single monolithic entity.”

Now, there is an unavoidable question here, and it is this: why is it bothering Abdul Ahmed III if the world keeps treating Somalia as a single country? It is bothering him because, apparently, he wants to Somalia to become several little Bantustans, all of which are controlled by the Tigrean regime in Addis Ababa.

But he didn’t stop there. Instead the writer openly and explicitly called on the US to lead the way for partitioning of Somalia, when he says, “The United States in particular has a unique opportunity to treat Somalia as decentralized(i.e. dismembered) entities without officially affirming the country’s dissolution.”

In other words, the writer is calling upon the US to dismember and partition Somalia, but should refrain from stating that publicly!!

As an introduction for his proposal for dismemberment and partitioning of Somalia, the writer says Somalia’s problem has its root in “A complex social problem with broad political implications. It is particularly an acute social problem in managing and maintaining modern state.” He uses I. M. Lewis as a scholarly source to solidify his claims and says, “As far back as 1993, the world-renowned Somali affairs expert and anthropologist I.M. Lewis stressed the importance of recognizing the social clan structure.”

I find it interesting the writer cites I. M. Lewis for two reasons:

1—I. M. Lewis is one of the few people on earth that would agree with the dismemberment of Somalia that Abdul Ahmed III is advocating.

2—I. M. Lewis is perhaps the last person on the planet whose views would be given any merit when the interest of the Somali people are seriously considered, as I am going elaborate shortly.


Many Somalis and particularly those in the secessionist north have been scratching their heads, unable to understand why the chaotic southern Somalia has been receiving so much moral and material support, while the stable, reasonably democratic north had been shunned by the whole world? This is somewhat astonishing because whatever government concocted in southern Somalia is immediately and always supported by the whole world. But the stable, democratic, and peaceful secessionist north had been completely shunned, and all of its appeals for recognition have fallen on deaf ears!

However there is a good reason for this seemingly strange action by the international community, because the world community knows secessions for what it is: secession means dismembering and destroying a country! And that is the very reason why all the international organizations such as the UN, African Union, the Arab League, European Union, Organization of Islamic Conference, ASEAN, OAS, and all the countries in the world, east and west, north and south, big and small, have shunned the secession of Somaliland, because no country wants the destruction and the dismemberment of Somalia to be registered in its name! Even the Tigrean regime that fully supports the secession and the dismemberment of Somalia is, nevertheless, very careful not to offer any public recognition to the secession.

Ignorance is the source of animosity. And familiarity breeds friendship. It is an established fact that the more we learn about a people of a certain country, and learn their language and culture, the better related, better understanding, and much friendlier we become towards the people of that country. That is the reason why many of the students who study in foreign lands be it in Australia, China, US, Malaysia or Egypt develop connection and loyalty towards the country in which they studied. And what goes for foreign students also goes for Orienatlists, who also develop strong connection and loyalty towards the peoples and countries whose culture and language they studied and mastered.

Now like the orientalists everywhere, and as someone who studied the Somali society, its culture, language, and history, I. M. Lewis was naturally expected to have a feeling and loyalty for the Somali people. And when the tragedy struck and our nation fell apart, I. M. Lewis was expected to be one of the leading advocates for Somalia’s unity, and the safeguarding of its national interests. Unfortunately, I. M. Lewis did no such thing. Instead, the supposed friend of the Somali people has become a cheerleader for the secession, and a leading advocate for Somalia’s dismemberment and destruction!

Somalis are one people, and one body. You either like them, or you don’t! And I. M. Lewis’s logic of being in love with one region of Somalia and of hating the rest—hatred manifests itself in the advocacy for the dismemberment and the destruction of the country—is contradiction in terms! The fact that I. M. Lewis embraced the destruction of Somalia, a project rejected by the whole world, shows the orientalist’s true colours. And it is when viewed his actions in that context that I. M. Lewis’s treachery against the Somali people becomes ever so clear!

In conclusion, Abdul Ahmed III is his own worst enemy, because he forgot or perhaps doesn’t know the first rule of writing, which is to know your audience! Had he delivered his piece as a lecture to some Americans in the Arizona desert, or to the Tigrean regime in Addis Ababa, he would have had a better luck. The Americans, not knowing much about Somalia or African clan structure, would have found the whole speech exotic and interesting. And the Tigrean regime would have enjoyed it because it reinforces the designs and policies they have been pursuing against Somalia for close to two decades.

However to concoct a Tigrean agenda laced with hatred of Somalia, and of all the people on earth, to come to the Somalis themselves, and lecture them on how better off they would be to have their country dismembered and partitioned, is nothing short of utter stupidity!

If Abdul Ahmed III wants to be taken seriously, he first needs to be original. Rehashing Males Zenawi’s tired policies is no way to earn respectability!

Mohamed Heebaan


Disclaimer: The opinion expressed here are those of the auther

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2 Jawaabood " Tigrean In Sheep’s Clothes | Mohamed Heebaan "

  1. Mohamed says:

    There is no empirical evidence that Somalia is dead; You are misusing this word “embirical” for your own wish. Somalia is a nation that exists physically a
    Even if you say everything in this world has a limited life or existence; Somalia is life and kicking.

  2. Jane Britt says:

    Dear, Mr. Mohamed Heebaan

    The article you refer is one of many pieces published as an excerpt form a collaborative research work that uses a large data sets on Somali clans, ethnography, social association data and large historical data.

    The article presents in part an analysis of why the former Somalia has disintegrated; we derive the powerful clan based mechanism that leads to self segregation by the clans and shows verifiable ground truth that what use to be Somalia is no more.

    Please note that Somaliland, Puntland and the Southern Somalia are part of the greater Somali peninsula populated by ethnically Somali people. The collapse of the former Somalia is a reality; our study and article are not responsible for the collapse of what use to be Somalia (1960-1991). Nor do we do prescribe a solution for the former Somalia. The intention was simply to emphasize the empirical evidence that Somalia is no more.

    While we believe a fair and intellectually sound critique is acceptable, we believe that the citizenship or ethnicity of the author is inconsequential to the argument of what has transpired in what we purposefully for semantic reasons call “the former Somalia”.

    Finally, we encourage you to share your or any data that technically presents a solid counter-arguments to our work (if any at all). If you would like to see our mathematical models or are interested in our work please do contact me at janet.britt@asu.edu

    Thank You
    Janet B