Many nations of the world became independent in 1960, as it marked the widespread end of European colonialism over much of the world’s surface. One of the nations that got their independence fifty-one years ago today, on June 26, 1960, is independent today but few know about it: the nation of Somaliland. For five days the nation of Somaliland, which had come out of the old British colony of British Somaliland, had an identity as an independent nation before it rushed off Vegas-style into a marriage with independent Italian Somaliland to form the nation of Somalia. Like most Vegas marriages, it was a mistake. Unlike most Vegas marriages, the international community has not seen it fit to grant an annulment so that Somaliland can regain its rightful position as an independent state.
Why so many marriage analogies in a post about a nation? Astute readers of this blog will now that I have a longstanding and deep interest in supporting the interests of Somaliland as a recognized state. It is my fervent belief that any state that can find order and stability and a legitimate government out of an asabiya black hole of anarchy like Somalia (or Afghanistan, or any other state that has a similar and total lack of legitimate authority) ought to be given all the recognition and support possible. I am also of the belief that peoples should not be punished for decades by being forced to remain a part of a “nation” whose identity is nearly entirely honorary (as is the case of Somalia) simply because of what their forefathers mistakenly did in the flush of freedom from colonial rule, in the heat of rhetoric about “Greater Somalia” under democratic rule, dreams that could not survive even a decade.
Egypt and Syria once formed a republic, but when they separated no one forced Syria’s existence to be shadowy and unofficial because of the mistaken union of those states. When in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union nations from Tajikistan to Estonia declared their independence the international community was not slow in recognizing those nations, some of whom had never had an identity in the modern world as independent states (see Moldova), with spots in the United Nations. Nor was the world slow in recognizing the independence of the states that survived the fall of Yugoslavia, from Slovenia to Montenegro to Kosovo (except for those nations who for political reasons wished not to see an independent Kosovar state). Currently South Sudan, a nation that has never had an independent status of any kind in known history, is being recognized as a state. Why not Somaliland a nation that was a separate colony from Somalia for nearly nine decades of British rule, and which has twice been an independent nation from Somalia (for five days in 1960, and since 1991). Nations, like people, make mistakes at the altar. Sometimes it’s better just to let people have a mulligan and annul a rushed and inappropriate marriage, a little sadder but wiser for the experience.