Somaliland Update: Risk & Opportunity: The 2012 London Conference

Surprisingly, not everyone in Somaliland’s parliament is thrilled about Somaliland sending an official delegation (which required that an international ban on Somaliland participation in international conferences be removed) to an upcoming conference on figuring out new and improved solutions for the asabiya black whole that is Somalia. Three members of parliament were concerned that Somaliland’s participation in this conference means that Somaliland would get stuck in the quagmire that is Somalia with no hope of remaining extricated [1].

This reasoning is undoubtedly sincere, but it is also mistaken. Somaliland is already stuck in the quagmire of Somalila, because the rest of the world stupidly refuses to see that Somaliland has been and is currently an independent state worthy of international recognition in light of its indigenous democracy, its stability and order and legitimacy. None of these seem to matter at all for the international community at large, largely because everyone refuses to take the lead in supporting or endorsing Somaliland independence. The US or UK could easily do it, but both are led by craven and cowardly governments, it would appear, who prefer to lead from behind and are unable to make sensible and principled moral stands when it comes to international affairs. China seems to prefer that the regimes it deals with remain international pariahs because it means lower costs for the natural resources they crave than would have to be paid if such nations were fully recognized and integrated into global trade networks.

Likewise, Somaliland’s neighbors aren’t willing to do so. Ethiopia is the most logical choice to stand up for Somaliland independence, but the action would probably be seen as a geopolitical way of dividing its one possible rival for dominance in the Horn of Africa, now that Sudan has been divided. There is no question that a referendum on Somaliland independence would result in a ‘yes’ vote by a large margin, but there is a lack of political will among nations and international institutions (like the African Union, whose representatives have long slighted Somaliland’s cause, and instead supported Puntland pirates and other favored factions over Somaliland’s open and legitimate independence-minded efforts) [2].

Thankfully, not everyone is a tool in this regard. UK Independence Party MEP (Member of European Parliament) Godfrey Bloom offers some refreshing honesty in this regard [3]. He (and I) wonder why nations that have no historical connection to Great Britain are welcome in the British Commonwealth when the interests of Somaliland are completely slighted and not even heard. He correctly states that if we as a candid world wish to do anything to help the people of the Horn of Africa to improve their condition, we have to help Somaliland become an independent nation. For it is only out of the decaying carcass of Somalia that new and better institutions will be made.

Somalia isn’t a nation, and there is no group within Somalia that has the strength and legitimacy to make Somalia a nation because there is an absence of social cohesion among the people of Somalia themselves. If you want a real nation, you have to build up common feeling among the people of different areas so that they feel themselves as part of a greater whole. You cannot make nations by drawing borders on a map, as the European imperialists of the 19th century so frequently and foolishly did, ignoring realities on the ground. And you can’t make nations by granting UN seats or membership in international institutions if there is no nation on the ground to represent, and no government of the people, by the people, and for the people to represent the interests of that nation.

In the Roman Empire there was a dreadful form of punishment [4] where murderers were condemned by being chained to a dead body, and having to drag around that dead body wherever they went, unable to be helped or released from the torment or infection that came from the rotting corpse they were chained to. Such was the penalty of tyrants in bygone times, but what crime has Somaliland committed to be shackled without hope of release to the decaying carcass that is Somalia? Somaliland has a legitimate government, a functioning multiparty democracy, the rule of law, including punishments like imprisonment given to pirates who run free in the rest of Somalila’s rotting corpse. Has Somaliland committed crimes worthy of being stuck in a totally failed and collapsed state? No. The only crime that Somaliland has committed was the crime of stupidity in rushing to marry too quickly upon its own independence with Italian Somaliland in the hope of creating a bigger and unified Greater Somalila. It regretted that move for forty years of mostly dictatorial rule, but unlike an abused spouse who can find relief from the courts by divorcing a spouse who has abused or abandoned her, Somaliland remains chained to the corpse of a dead Somalia, and the uncaring outside world refuses to free Somaliland from its torment and from its unjust sentence.

In order to help bring this issue to the minds of the participants at the London conference, there is a rally in a week and a half planned at 10 Downing Street, at 11AM on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 [5]. The goal, of course, is for London’s large Somalilander population to mobilize on behalf of their nation to bring their cause to the attention of the government in an orderly but persuasive manner.

Thus, with Somaliland’s decision to enter the high stakes world of international conferences, there is risk and opportunity. But as of right now, however successful Somaliland has been at establishing an independent regime with rule of law, it still suffers from a lack of international recognition, it still labors under arms embargoes that prevent it from arming itself against pirates, and it still is chained in the eyes of the international community to the rotting carcass that is Somalia. The risk that it will be influenced to involvement in Somalia’s affairs is small compared to the opportunity that greater visibility will allow its own independent achievements to be seen and recognized for what they are. And it is in that hope that Somaliland has become involved in this 2012 London Conference for Somalia, in the hope that the solution of independence for Somaliland will be accepted as part of the way for Somalia to resolve its divisive history through recognizing that escape from Somalia offers some of the only hope for improvement that can be found in the Horn of Africa.

[1] http://somaliland247.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/london-conference-an-opportunity-for-somaliland/

[2] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/book-review-somalia-the-missed-opportunities/

[3] http://somaliland247.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/call-to-recognise-somaliland/

[4] http://www.preceptaustin.org/romans_721-25.htm

[5] http://somaliland247.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/uk-somaliland-pro-independence-demo-at-10-downing-street-on-wednesday-22th-feb-2012/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in International Relations, Somaliland and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Somaliland Update: Risk & Opportunity: The 2012 London Conference

  1. Pingback: A Modest Proposal For A Plebiscite To Resolve The Status Of The Republic Of Somaliland | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: On The Applicability Of Divorce Law To The Recognition Of New Sovereign States | Edge Induced Cohesion

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