‘War helaa-tala hela’

This month I had the privilege of adding an interesting book in Somali, written by a renowned Somali politician and author, to my reading list.

To begin with, this book is different from the books I usually read in so many ways but one unique difference, other than the language it’s written in, is that the premise of the book is politics which I am not a big fan of. However, I learned from the introduction that the book offers insights beyond politics. As outlined in the preface, the book presents years of Somali political history from the colonial era to the fall of the Siyad Bare Government in 1991 and the subsequent efforts to rebuild the state. Through out the book, the author abundantly shares short proverbs and forward looking questions aimed at enticing the reader to think outside the box.

In my opinion, the author brings to light four key decision points in the history of Somalia that shaped the country’s future and additional three pending decisions that will have the same effect.

These are:

  1. The question of who was to become the administering authority in the trusteeship era (1950 – 1960) – Italy vs UK
  2. The question of who to align with in terms of ideology and alliance – NATO vs Warsaw
  3. The question of should Somalia use military means to reclaim the territories it lost to Ethiopia – the war of 1977
  4. The question of what form of government should Somalia adopt post civil war period – unitary vs federalism
  5. The question of Somaliland – a federal member or a separate country
  6. The maritime dispute with kenya – settlement at International Court of Justice or political settlement outside the court
  7. What if the draft federal constitution is defeated in a referendum? Unitary or devolution

In addition to that, in the end, the author narrates twelve instances of political instabilities that Somalia faced from 1960 to 1991.