Garowe, May 28, 2019
A wiseman man once said that he had found out common sense was not so common.
That is a profound understatement, given the fact that one always encounters some people, who do not want to engage in normal mode of operation and common expectations of people. Some, for selfish ends and others out of personal echo that they don’t behave within the realism of normal human behavior in addressing issues of common interest that require collective approach to problem solving in regard to societal concerns. Very interesting topic, indeed, that needs expert help here.
Regarding Somali national issues, what do you think that presidents Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo have in common?
Have you noticed that they are all anti-federalism, anti-constitution, anti-regional developments, and they are all proponents of one City-state solution for Somalia’s state-building problems. Have you ever heard them talking about or promoting the provisions of the Federal Constitution from any of these presidents? Have you ever seen or heard them talking about regional development projects or promotion of decentralization of the powers of central state to the regions? But, why? Did you ask yourself why they all wanted to restore stronger Mogadishu and highly centralized authority, repeating the same grave mistake that brought Somalia down in the first place?
Multiple explanations for the malaise of these men abound. Let us count some of these narratives here:
1. They naively and innocently believe that having highly centralized state would solve all Somalia’s current predicaments.
2. They are all students of dictatorship and bent on being new authoritarians after Siyad Barre.
3. They are still lagging behind the people and didn’t get yet the notion that Somalia would never be the same again – that decentralization is irreversibly a defacto development than a dejure, a result of the Civil War. That leads to point (4):
4. They don’t have common sense to take all of the above into account as people expect of them.
Now you guessed it. That is why each of these presidents had problems working with federal member states, themselves imperfect. Why not, if they don’t want to respect the Federal Constitution with clearly enshrined provisions to work together as this is a federal republic with devolved powers.
That is why common sense is not so common. True statement.
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.
Garowe, March 21, 2019 – The banquet Hall is comfortable and fully air-conditioned in the hot and burning wheather of the Horn of Africa. It might be of interest to note that neither the bridegroom nor the bride was present in the ceremony, but their respective representatives. This family arrangement is known as marriage by proxy. The new episode in today’s marriage procedure was a condition or a request I heard for the first time that, and perhaps new to Somalia’s marriage tradition, upon a request to give her hand, the girl’s representative demanded that the bridegroom should take the bride to the Hajj in Mecca. The representative of the bridegroom had to accept this request without much fuzz. Based on my enquiry, both the bridegroom and the bride were happily married with this novel arrangement. I also noticed that there was no need for women to be present in a marriage ceremony by proxy. It was only men’s business.
Ismail Warsaw Blog
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