Garowe, May 26, 2019
I receive multiple long distance phone calls, text messages and emails almost on daily basis from friends and colleagues living overseas within the Somali diaspora around the world. To sum up the contents of these messages, their overall inquiries boil down to the above question: “Will Somalia rise up again?” How would you answer that question? Think a bit about it.
Personally, I have found out a genuine way to answer it. How? Well, ask them critical questions. What are they?
In your own opinion, is Somalia better off today than what she was ten years ago?
Does Somalia have a recognized government engaged with the world community today?
Is Somalia an active member state again in all major international and regional bodies as a sovereign nation?
Does Somalia talk about elections and building public institutions these days?
Is Somalia fighting back against extremism and wanton violence?
Is federal system agreed upon already, at least, half done?
Now, you guessed my method and approach to ask close-ended questions.
What about if you ask them open-ended questions. How?
What is your own take on Somalia’s situation today?
How would you, yourself, describe the performance of the Farmaajo-Khayre Government?
What would you like to know about Somalia?
How would you evaluate the general public opinion of Somalis living in your part of the world?
Now, I think, you can figure out the big difference between the two methods of questioning.
The first method is a critical approach to an organized fact-finding and quicker way to cause the inquirer to think critically and ask you intelligent questions too.
The 2nd method is to solicit for information and personal opinion of your interlocutor.
So, decide upfront which method of informing your colleagues you will use for a mutually satisfactory exchange of information.
Both methods are useful, depending on what you want out of these communications.
What I don’t want you to do is to lecture your friends and colleagues about your own take or opinion on things in Somalia. Be open-minded and listen to any concerns and misperceptions people have on many things. You will not be able to correct misinformation and biases if you don’t listen, acknowledge concerns first, paraphrase their opinions to let know them that you understood them, and try to answer to a reciprocally listening and attentive person on the other side of the world or infront of you across the table- a pleasure session to conclude.