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Somalia: Politicize​d Clan Addiction

Politicize​d Clan Addiction
Ahmed Said (Abwaan-kuluc)
March 25 2014


Ahmed Said

Ahmed Said

Somalia has been in a state of civil war since the overthrow of the military regime in 1991 by warring factions and then factions turned on each other. About 16, 17, national reconciliation conferences were held since then and most of them miserably failed. Out of the last reconciliation conference held in neighboring Kenya in early 2000s, the current federal government was born with interim status. In 2012, permanent federal government was elected through a long process. The federal government forces and the African peacekeeping forces in the country are now jointly fighting with the Al Qaeda-linked group, Al Shabab.

In a nutshell, Somalia has become a virtual orphan, a waif, a stray neglected by its guardians. Howbeit, the guardians, the Somali people in this case, have still the chance and the opportunity to fix more than 20 years of political disaster in Somalia, no matter the duration and the complexity of it.

Usually the Somalis are considered the only one homogeneous nation in Africa in particular and in the world in general, because they speak the same language, hold the same religion and possess almost the same identical features. The Somalis are also considered one tribe with clans and subclans. Paradoxically, the homogeneous reality of Somalis highlights the complexity of Somalia’s problem in the fact that in this modern era of community of nations, and since the the United Nations phrase was coined by United States on January 1st 1942, Somalia is the first country that has experienced for decades a spectrum that interminably ranges from loss of fully working government to self-inflicted subversion, self-inflicted destruction at the national level, and self-inflicted ruination of internationally unprecedented magnitude with ultimate horror.

The present ambience of Somalia, however, is primarily caused by the Somalis themselves. Foreign entities have for sure hands in Somalia’s affairs to varying positive and negative degrees, but Somalis should desist at all costs from entirely blaming the mess of their country on anybody else–both the blame for the crux of the country’s chronic ills and the responsibility to sort out the crisis lie squarely on the shoulders of the Somalis themselves.

Politicized Clan Addiction

Given its endless spiral, its crazy impulses or its illogical spontaneity in the social fabric and political landscape of the nation, the politicized Somali clan system is cancerously nonpareil, while it doesn’t have understandable principles or rules except aphoristic representation of random evil, nonsensible destruction and lack of reasoning. For instance, the clan system has ambiguous, confusing genesis in politics with susceptibility to abuse by so-called individual politicians, who usually beat the drums of unfounded fear against other clans so that they can advance their own selfish interests while disguising that they’re acting in the interests of the clan.

What is more alarming and foolish is the clan itself falling victim to the thinly disguised actions of the egocentric, greedy, so-called politicians. The clan never questions what is the real motive of why those so-called politicians, warlords and crazy islamists so cleverly employ the clan phenomenon. The clan fanatics are creatures of emotion and blindly back the wrong horse while they see at the same time that this is not only the interest of the clan but this really destroys clan in the form of killing, raping and displacing of clan population, with clan doing the same or worse to other clans and the list of reciprocal atrocities is long. Almost three decades of civil war in Somalia, within the UN existence time span, never-seen-before impasse and gridlock in other civil war affected countries have abounded in Somalia, and the clan fanatics sometimes seem to be possessed or under a spell by a witch– their brain powers in terms of logic and prudence seem to be withering and dying.

Pre-independence Non-political Clan Era (PNCE)

Pre-independent Non-political Clan Era in the nomadic life was pithily wiser than the current politicized version, which happens mostly in urban settings. The PNCE had credibility–it had breakthrough rather than impasse, where agreements reached under a tree were respected and whoever broke it incurred shaming in the strongest possible terms. Whoever broke it was called Gun in Somalia, which means the intouchables– the clan who broke agreements under the tree (where Somalis used to hold talks in nomadic life) was ostracized and used to be subjected to numbers of sanctions, such as not marrying from that clan for a certain period of time in which poems used to be created severely bashing the agreement-breaking clan. On the other hand, the Politicized Clan Addiction (PCA) since the start of the civil war and beyond from independence doesn’t care about that at all but it brags about wrongdoing–it is proud of breaking promises and mercilessly inflicting barbarity. The PCA has foes but not friends, and even it has friends, it is not real friends, whatsoever– but friends with a means to an end. In other words, in the PCA phantasm, clan constricts inward to subclans, ultimately to two groups of brothers and sisters, Bah in Somali, with a same father but with a different mother, and if they engage in a bitter feud over anything by any means, clan madness ensues with no exceptions.

With all above clan drawbacks, a political solution to Somalia’s unprecedented political and social problems is not in sight for now, unless the real culprit is caught, which is politicized clan addiction.

Ahmed Said (Abwaan-kuluc) is Somali American blogger and analyst of Somalia’s current affairs. He is based in Minnesota, United States and can be reached at abdinassirsomalia@gmail.com

This article first appeared in Eurasia

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