Kosova and Somaliland: the Impossible Equation Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
Orientalist, Historian, Political Scientist, Dr. Megalommatis, 51, is the author of 12 books, dozens of scholarly articles, hundreds of encyclopedia entries, and thousands of articles. He speaks, reads and writes more than 15, modern and ancient, languages. He refuted Greek nationalism, supported Martin Bernal´s Black Athena, and rejected the Greco-Romano-centric version of History. He pleaded for the European History by J. B. Duroselle, and defended the rights of the Turkish, Pomak, Macedonian, Vlachian, Arvanitic, Latin Catholic, and Jewish minorities of Greece. Born Christian Orthodox, he adhered to Islam when 36, devoted to ideas of Muhyieldin Ibn al Arabi.
Greek citizen of Turkish origin, Prof. Megalommatis studied and/or worked in Turkey, Greece, France, England, Belgium, Germany, Syria, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Russia, and carried out research trips throughout the Middle East, Northeastern Africa and Central Asia. His career extended from Research & Education, Journalism, Publications, Photography, and Translation to Website Development, Human Rights Advocacy, Marketing, Sales & Brokerage. He traveled in more than 80 countries in 5 continents. He defends the Right of Aramaeans, Oromos, Ogadenis, Sidamas, Berbers, Afars, Anuak, Darfuris, Bejas and Tibetans to National Independence, demands international recognition for Kosovo, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and Transnistria, calls for National Unity in Somalia, and denounces Islamic Terrorism.
Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
February 22, 2008
These days, to follow portals, websites, fora, and blogs through the web is truly impressive; it helps understand very quickly the splendid radiation of Kosova, and the impact of the proclamation of independence of the last, sixth, seceded member of the former Yugoslavia.
Developments in Kosova are monitored and then used for all sorts of interpretations of, and adaptations in, cases that vary tremendously. Asia, Africa, and Europe monitor the young Balkan nation that will soon become a fully accredited member state of the UN and other international bodies, notably the NATO and the EU. But is Kosova the magic solution for all, the epitome of the varied needs of diverse political elites and leaders? Most probably not.
Confusion around Kosova, and its real meaning
Why are so different politicians, statesmen, and liberation fronts´ leaders referring to Kosova these days?
Can there be a per case parallel between Kosova and all the rest, who claim similarities, namely Trans-Dniester, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Somaliland, Puntland, Maakhir, Nagorno Karabakh, Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraqi Turkmenistan, Western Sahara, Darfur, South Sudan, Ogaden, Oromia Republic, Sidama Land, Anuak Land, Baluchistan, Tibet, Eastern Turkistan, Chechnya, Dagestan, Catalonia, Corsica, Scotland, and many others? Most probably not.
Among the aforementioned names that represent only a small segment of all the post-Kosova claimants there are already many different categories:
1 - Existing, real states that have been supported and/or recognized by only few other countries (or just one)
2 - (Semi-)autonomous provinces (or lands) that are parts of other countries in disarray
3 - Nations that, through devolution, attempt to peacefully achieve their goal of National and Formal Independence
4 - Oppressed nations striving to eradicate the illegal rule of the invaders
5 - Secessionist movements that have no other reason to exist except to promote inimical biases against the nations from which they secede
This says it all; the various claimants have few, if any, things in common. Then, what makes them all contribute so greatly to the international confusion? In fact, some among them have fully pledged right to national independence and international recognition; others not.
Due to this, the latter misinterpret the historical proclamation of Kosova´s independence in order to use it for their benefit. This proliferates the international confusion, creating fears about eventual conspiracies, plots geared to destroy ´large´ countries, etc. All this explosive situation can be described in very few words.
Lack of Moral Principles in the International System
There is a dramatic lack of principles and moral standards in today´s world. Only a new, Global Convention for Democracy and Freedom can truly solve the problems due to the inconsistencies and inaccuracies of the International Law that was developed in a non-systematic manner, and is thus being variably interpreted (which means misinterpreted) by America, Europe, Russia, China, and many others.
Due to this situation, totalitarian and semi-totalitarian regimes oppose anything they view as an attempt to undermine their grip on power, to eliminate their illegal exploitation of occupied territories´ resources, and to generally destabilize their status. There are few chances that China would accept an international development that the Beijing rulers would view as a setback for their ambitions and traditional viewpoints.
The international relations are characterized by grave lack of trust and calamitous miscommunication that are partly due to persistence of traditional ways of politics and to pursuit of old dreams impossible to materialize. Political realism would bring all major players around a table where a moral order would first be discussed and then implemented in all cases.
Until the rise in force of a new global political system based on moral standards, do we truly have to accept the right of any political group, elite or population to secede from the country where it had belonged to? Certainly not!
To shape a morally and politically acceptable position as regards the Right to Secession, we have to consider what principles are evoked by the secessionist group (or population). In other words, we have to rephrase the question.
What makes a Secession Rightful?
International Law and politics are to serve the basic principles announced by the Renaissance and the Enlightenment philosophers, Freedom, Equity, Justice, Fraternity and Tolerance, as rules for the human societies of free people to abide by. What prevails among the free citizens of a country must abound among the society of nations at the international level.
As we stated in an earlier article under the title ´The Moral Victory of Kosova´ (http://www.newkosovareport.com/20080221635/Views-and-Analysis/The-Moral-Victory-of-Kosova.html) , the original concern and the epicenter of the interest of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment philosophers is the Human Being, and as a synecdoche the People (conceived as a human society), and the Nation (perceived as the diachronic existence of a People).
National Independence is the privilege of a nation, a people, an ethnic group. What characterizes a people, what makes a people different from another? Common origin, language, culture, and behavioural system, which comprises commonly accepted values. To all this we can eventually add the religion, although it is well known that within many nations co-existed for many long centuries followers of different religions.
This means that people, who share same values, one language, common origin, culture and religion, if living under another nation´s political, economic and military control, have every right to seek formal independence. It is absolute right of this people to exercise foreign and defense policy, to organize their society according to their traditions, and to reject another nation´s rule exercised over them.
One must bear in mind that the circumstances under which a nation was brought under the socio-political, economic and military control of another matters little in politics; even if a merger was effectuated with the two nations´ populations enthusiastically in favor of the union, the situation may be different after several decades. Then, a referendum for secession must be held and its result accepted as verdict.
Secession for religious difference and peace
Because of the fanaticism that many times emanates out of the religious belief of laypeople, religious wars have often befallen on otherwise peaceful nations; it is therefore wise to accept that a religious minority within a nation, particularly if inhabiting in a separate part of the territory, has the right to form a separate state so the people freely practice their religion.
Today, the most threatened case of religious minority is to be found in Northern Iraq; the Yazidis are one of the Kurdish peoples, the only non Muslim (according to either Sunni or Shia Muslims). The Yezidis have been repeatedly targeted over the past few years by either Sunni nationalists, Kurdish terrorists or Islamic extremists. Between Mosul and Dohuk, and further to the east, a territory should be delineated in order to become home to all the Yezidis, and thus a peaceful spot would be created for a population the size of Montenegro or Luxembourg.
A similar case with positive exit, thanks to the Turkish military invention in 1974, is the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The Eastern Mediterranean island was inhabited in the Antiquity exclusively by Phoenicians; until the Late Antiquity, when an advanced process of linguistic hellenization took place, the island´s inhabitants were typically Canaanite – Phoenician of culture. Successively, they accepted Christianity, and they became part of the Islamic Caliphate, the states of the Crusaders, and the Ottoman Empire.
The population that became Muslim turned to Turcophony, as there was no apparent reason anymore for them to speak Greek, a language that was totally linked to the Orthodox Christianity. Today, Cypriots are a Semitic people divided into Turcophone Muslims and Grecophone Christians. As the traumatic experience of cohabitation under Christian majority´s rule could get aggravated following the nationalistic putsch, the Turkish military intervention (20 July 1974) offered the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash the opportunity to found the Turkish republic of Northern Cyprus.
Very often the viability of similar projects may be questioned; but this is part of today´s political biases and duplicity. Nothing can be compared to peace, concord and security for a particular nation, ethnic group, people, and religious minority.
No reason for Somaliland´s secession or existence
In the light of the aforementioned, we fail to identify any possible reason for Somaliland to exist. The population of the breakaway state is Somali. They are absolutely the same as the Somalis of Ogaden, Maakhir, Puntland, and the Somali South.
There is no linguistic difference between the Somalis of the breakaway state with ´capital´ at Hargeysa and all the rest; they have common language, culture and behavioural system that are nuanced by the same localism that makes the Germans of Berlin differ from those of Hamburg, and the English of Southampton contrast with those of Liverpool. But should there been states such as a supposed ´Republic of Hamburg´ and an imaginative ´Republic of Liverpool´ in Germany and England? We fail to see any use and any profit.
However, localism cannot be taken as reason for secession, as it is practically speaking meaningless, and it could end up with an international community established out of 3000 states!
Furthermore, there is no religious difference among the population of the breakaway and non recognized state of Somaliland and the other Somalis in Somalia and the illegally occupied (by the Abyssinians) territory of Ogaden; they are all Muslims.
Political reasons for secession
With the exception of the aforementioned, can there be a political reason to make us accept the secession of a part of an otherwise united nation? This happened in few cases in the past. Best known examples are North and South Korea, North and South Vietnam, and more markedly China and Taiwan. These cases are few and exceptional, as even in times of political confrontation and division, two opposed political parties have followers throughout the country, not in two particular, geographical parts of the country.
However, this did not happen in the case of Biafra´s rightful secession from Nigeria, an event that was due to national differences, as Biafra was the homeland for the Nation of Igbos.
Another case of national division due to political differences was Greece during World War One, when for almost a year the royalists in Athens intended to collaborate with Germany and Austria – Hungary, and the liberals had formed a separate state in Salonica, as they were committed to their alignment with Entente.
However, a political division is never a good omen for a country; at times, it is due to foreign involvement and support of one of the two conflicting parts. As a matter of fact, in this case, what prevails is the people´s will.
If the majority of South Koreans stick to their capitalist – liberal socio-economic system and the majority of the North Koreans, expressing themselves in well documented conditions of freedom, prefer to be organized in a communist society, the division must remain. Peace should then be sought after among the two parts of a nation whose ideas differ so deeply that they can´t live all together.
Even the case of political difference does not apply in the unreasonable case of Somaliland. They chose to have on their flag the Islamic emblem ´there is no god but God, and Mohamed is His prophet´; this is hypocritical and done in order to spread confusion. If they claim they are Muslims, they have to unite with the other Somali Muslims who also ascribe themselves to the aforementioned emblem.
There is no political difference, and even the most imaginative Somali would never think that Somaliland´s population invented a different political system that they want to implement in opposition to the Somali political system. Of course, the political leadership of Somaliland evokes the civil war in the Somali South. But is this a convincing argument?
Although many would understand easily that, if a part of Somalia has peace and is able to avoid the civil war, it is excellent that they do so, no one would accept this as reason for Somaliland insubstantial demand for international recognition.
If no back thoughts are in their minds, the leaders of Somaliland should just wait until the divisions are terminated in the Somali South and then unite with the rest.
Meanwhile, it would be very convincing, if they helped the South unite, and attacked Abyssinia´s mad dog, the criminal dictator Zenawi who sent his armies to the Somali South to radicalize the population and drag them – unsuccessfully – to Islamic extremism.
The only rival that Somaliland´s leaders are allowed to have is the traditional enemy of the Somalis, the racist Amhara and Tigray Abyssinian elites.
Otherwise, they should be eradicated as proven puppets of the Neo-Nazi cannibalistic regime of Meles Zenawi.