Somalia has changed culturally – forget the old days of national celebrations, flag waving and song of national anthem. No talk of significance of national independence. Historical songs of patriotism are suppressed and celebrated singers are things of the past, only to be remembered by 70-year olds. The entire history of Somalia is being erased or has disappeared from national discourse and school curriculum.

Any signs of globalization and Western influence are being discouraged or eroded. Women can’t walk along the streets in towns without complete Xijab – any woman seen in public without heavy veil is automatically assumed blasphemous by the majority of population. Girls as old as five years are subjected to the strict rules of their mothers in dressing up. Fathers are bashed or looked down whenever they escort their daughters in public without following strict religious culture of today’s Somali society. The very name of Somali identity is fasting losing relevance in the country. The whole country appears to look different and disconnected from its past profile of liberal culture and religious tolerance. Time-tested traditional customs are looked down as pagan and un-Islamic. Somali society is fundamentally changing to a status of big X and cultural uncertainty.

It appears that academic descriptions by many foreign scholars and travelers of Somalis and Somalia have no relevance today. New studies in anthropology and sociology are required to reflect on the rapidly changing nature of the new people being created in Somalia. Years of Wahabists’ indoctrination is almost done and successful. This has been made possible by repression of the Military Dictatorship of Siyad Barre before its final collapse in 1991, whereby the oppressed people of Somalia sought salvation in religion during his reign. Saudi Arabian Wahabism teachings, its institutions of charity organizations bent on spread of Wahabism to counter-act Iranian Shia influence in Sunny nations and opportunistic nature of Somali nomadic character had been a deadly combination of sort to transform Somalia into a nation in identity crisis, now in every aspect of life.

Deterioration of environment, livestock and fish habitat is in a state of alarm and emergency. Religious groups dismiss this man-made disaster as curse from Allah. This is another area of grave concern for the survival of life in Somalia. Public awareness and action are required to reverse the dangerous trend.

[This article has been updated since posting]


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