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Are Somalis Far Too Emotional To Debate Rationally?

The Somali people, wherever they may live have many admirable traits and 
share a common language, religion and culture. However, we as a people are 
far, far too emotional to ever debate or negotiate rationally. From 
grassroots discussions at rural level to high political debates, we are not 
able to put emotions aside and deal with the issues facing us in a rational 

I must admit, I am on occasions guilty of such high emotions. I am a 
fervent Somalilander, and I make no apologies for that. However, that 
doesn’t mean I do not wish the best for all Somali people wherever they may 
be, both in the Horn of Arice or in the diaspora. I take great pride and 
pleasure in the success of those whom we share a common ethnicity with and 
commiserate with those who suffer the trails and the tribulations of daily 

Having said that, it is worth remembering that it was extreme emotionally 
ecstasy that led to the ill-considered and ill-fated union in 1960, and 
truth be told, more ecstasy on the Somaliland side than in Somalia. History 
is a great teacher, and those who pay attention to it and learn from it 
will progress and prosper, and those who don’t, will be forever condemned 
to repeat the same mistakes.

Just recently, I watched a debate in Djibouti, with participants from both 
Somaliland and Somalia. These debaters considered themselves the 
intellectual elite. Fair enough. There were more than enough professors, 
doctors and MBA’s present. However, rationality and sensibility are 
something either one is born with or learns from life experience. As I 
listened to both sides of the debate, and heard the same narrative repeated 
over and over again, the need for a new dispensation, the need to respect 
and understand each other and so on and so forth. There was one young woman 
from Somaliland on the panel, who hit the nail on the head. She said “We 
should never deny history, what has taken place, why it happened and it’s 
consequences” that in a nutshell is the whole essence of the debate between 
Somaliland and Somalia.

We come together as two separate independent entities in 1960 to form a 
union that we hoped would benefit all Somalis in the Horn of Africa. That 
ambition was not realized and subsequently, the union failed. So, the 
question that faces both Somaliland and Somalia, is where do we go from 

The overwhelmingly majority of Somalilanders are happy with their lot. 
Somaliland is not perfect, no nation is, but what is has achieved on it’s 
own, among it’s people, through dialogue, discussion and consensus is 
undeniable. There will always be cultural, social and economic ties between 
Somaliland and Somalia. However, in order to move the relationship forward 
to it’s inevitable conclusion; two independent states, enjoying brotherly 
and neighbourly relationship; We need to have meaningful and honest 
dialogue, with substantive discussions and accept and honour the conclusion.

At the end of that debate, a gentleman originally from Somaliland and 
currently working for the federal government of Somalia, gave a speech full 
of emotion, hyperboles and invective. He quoted from Quraanka Kariimka and 
Karl Marx at the same time! He quoted from Hadraawi and many other 
distinguished Somali scholars. Sadly, however heartfelt and emotional his 
speech was, it was not rational and did not offer any meaningful way 
forward. This was exactly the kind of emotional rhetoric designed to appeal 
to the core of Somalis and hide the truth. This is not the way forward. It 
was not in 1960, or 1969 nor can be the way forward 2019 and beyond. 
Somaliland and Somalia need to have discussions based on the truth and the 
reality on the ground. It is the only way.

The people overwhelming majority of the Somaliland people are not missing 
or longing for another union with Somalia. The people of Somalia have to 
accept that and respect that decision. Then we can proceed to what our 
future relationship will be.

Allaa Mahad Leh

Axmed Kheyre

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