Why Somaliland is not Viable, and Will Not Exist for Long 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, Balochs 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
May 21, 2008
Almost three years ago, I published a series of articles, focusing on the Pre-Islamic past of the part of Somalia that is unreasonably claimed today by the breakaway pseudo-state of Somaliland.
When last year I denounced the treacherous policies of the illegitimate president Riyale, rejecting his servility toward the Neo-Nazi Abyssinian dictator Zenawi, a few Northwestern Somalis reacted, thinking that this was a new position of mine, namely that I had meanwhile changed my earlier, supposedly pro-Somaliland, position. Quite indicatively, I mention a discussion that took place in a forum: http://www.somaliland.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=6473&sid=034a6b5ec4b264e2251b118abeab99d3.
I think I owe an explanation. In fact, people did not understand my ´second´ position because they had already misunderstood my ´first´.
Beyond all political and military occurrences, the undisputed Abyssinian involvement, and all the sorts of illegal trade on which the main finance of Somaliland relies, there are two basic reasons that either my vulgar insulters like it or not predestine Somaliland to doom. Of course, the same is valid for Puntland too.
I will not introduce new approaches and I will not write a new text in order to underscore these realities that not a single person from Somaliland and Puntland can refute or reject. I will simply re-publish my 3-year old text, stressing the two points that were discussed in it. As I want to demonstrate my unaltered position, I will place within brackets the republished text, thus quoting myself.
Reason 1. Somaliland does not have and will never have a National Identity.
National Identity cannot be found in the supermarkets; my uncouth insulters and slanderers, who idiotically think that they can oppose a single word of mine with their disgrace, know very well that Somaliland does not have and will never have a National Identity.
National Identity means differentiation in terms of Culture, Language, Religion and History; Somaliland is not different in any of the aforementioned aspects from the rest of Somalia. I add here an excerpt from my earlier article (published in August 2005) in which I had stated precisely this.
"A New Country, a New Identity, a Millennia long History
With the formation of a new country, anywhere on this world, basic nation-building needs come to surface: central bank and national currency, central administration, government, police, army, health system, primary and secondary education, universities, museums, tourism, sports, etc. Every new country strives for international recognition and presence in the various international fora and organizations. International recognition is based on basic elements of the International Law, Human Rights, Democracy, National Identity, etc.
National Identity emanates from Culture, Language, Religion and History, various expressions of a people´s material life and delineates the people in question as different than the neighboring.
One has however to bear in mind that the concept itself of the ´nation´ is relatively recent in the World History, and in any case ´Nations´ do not antedate the Lumieres philosophers, and the 18th century Age of Enlightenment, when it was stipulated that ´political power´ should be conferred on ´the people´. It was widely propagated that the nation does not derive from a ´monarch´, and in this way the various ´peoples´ of the world should be (and after two centuries of fights and struggles finally got) independent of the contingencies of dynastic or military history. This new concept in the World History contributed a lot to the rise of Democratic Rule, but relied heavily on History, Historicity, and what could be described for an entire people as ´Loyalty to the Past´.
In Europe, nations have been formed around two opposing concepts: the French concept, based on free, rational allegiance of the individual to a political collectivity, and the German concept of objectively determined membership of an organic body. However, most of the European nations have been formed on the basis of a mixture of these two concepts, although the proportions have varied according to the political and social context".
Reason 2. Somaliland´s servility toward Abyssinia disrupts ´Loyalty to the Somali Past´.
Beyond the fact that Somaliland is not different from the other parts and provinces of Somalia, Ogaden included, the illegal country around Hargeysa, due to its servility toward Abyssinia, disrupts any notion of ´Loyalty to the Past´ which is conditio sine qua non for a nation to effectively survive.
The majority of the local people feel a certain ´Loyalty to the Past´, but this is felt as ´Somalia´ because precisely Somaliland never existed before. Somaliland as British colony is not an existent past for Somali institutions. However, the ruling gang knows that if ´Loyalty to the Past´ is historically correct, politically it is prohibited to them by their bosses, namely the Abyssinian state terrorism. So, the state of Hargeysa consists in itself in a self-contradictory element able only to destroy any real nation building effort; and this in and by itself shows that Somaliland´s days are numbered.
The following excerpt is taken from my earlier article, immediately after the first excerpt. With references to other nations and historical consciences, it clearly shows what Somaliland missed during the 17 years of its precarious, ephemeral, and almost terminated existence.
"In all the cases, ´Loyalty to the Past´ played a key role, and at times, when the poor educational conditions of a people did not allow a high degree of Historical Conscience and National Identity would not easily hinge on ´Loyalty of the Past´ intellectuals and erudite scholars from other countries made theirs the role of National Awakener. The case of the French Claude Fauriel for Modern Greece and Greek National Historicity is quite indicative.
Loyalty to the Past: Delving into Pre-Christian Antiquity
This academic and intellectual attitude started in Europe several centuries before the Age of the Lumieres; it actually dates back to Quattrocento and Cincuecento, the momentous period of Renaissance. As an erudite concept and approach, it was not unknown in other civilizations: Search for, Delving in, Knowledge of, and Loyalty to the Past characterized the top of every great civilization. Such attitudes can be attested in Islamic Istanbul, Samarqand, Ispahan, Cordoba, Baghdad, and Damascus, and proceeding retrospectively in the Sassanid Empire of Iran, the Roman Empire, the Hellenism of Alexandria, the Late Antiquity Judaism, the Achaemenid Empire of Iran, the 26th ´Libyan´ Dynasty of Egypt, the Sargonid Empire of Assyria, and even in the Neo-Sumerian times of Urukagina, at the end of the 3rd millennium BCE!
Renaissance in Europe was precisely the effort to ´be loyal to the past´ even at the price of rejecting the (Medieval) Christian ´present´. The model proved to be very successful, and because of this, it was not exported to the colonized countries.
Consequently, the Mayas and the Aztecs of Mexico and the Incas of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia ´should´ not delve into their past, but should forget it and accept the colonizing peoples´ past and culture. Ever since, the colonized peoples of America should not aspire to a ´Renaissance´ of theirs, and their slightest effort towards this direction was met with unprecedented oppression (Haiti being one excellent example in this regard).
When the Colonial Powers´ competition was transferred in Africa and Asia, local colonized peoples were not allowed to proceed in the European way of delving into the Past and accessing a thorough level of Historical Conscience.
Quite indicatively, despite so many excavations, expeditions, researches, publications, and academic labor, for more than 100 years after Champollion deciphered Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics there were not a single Egyptian scholar and intellectual to have got the interest to study and learn Hieroglyphics, investigate the Egyptian Antiquity, and codify his National Historicity into terms that would be later analyzed and diffused at the level of the national education and culture.
What happened to Egypt occurred – with variations and similarities – to Algeria, Sudan, Iraq, India, Abyssinia, and Yemen. And the situation was perpetuated down to our times, with the colonized countries remaining mostly ignorant and unconscious of their past, relying on European and American scholarship for its reconstitution and study, and certainly disconnected one from another (there is no Egyptian Assyriologist in the same way there is not Iraqi or Syrian Egyptologist).
There have been four exceptions, but after the late 60s we can truly count only three. Turkey, reborn out of the ashes of the Ottoman Caliphate, had kept reminiscences of the Islamic interest for past civilizations that was limited at the times of the Ottoman decay (after 1700). Applying Western methods of government and culture, M. K. Ataturk led the Turks to the rekindling of the Search for the past, and to passionate debates about the true identity of Modern Turks: Turkic (going back to Central Asia) or Anatolian (and therefore related with the Hittites and the Ancient Greeks).
Iran, similarly to Turkey, was never colonized or even influenced by colonial powers; in addition, there was always a kind of Iranian Nationalism with Sassanid Emperors representing themselves in bas-reliefs in sacred places of the earlier Achaemenid Shahs, and with various Islamic rulers and shahs of Iran (Safevid or Qadjar) pursuing the same attitude in places like Naqsh-e Rustam (nearby Persepolis) and Tag-Bostan (nearby Kermanshah).
China and Japan are the other two cases, but the notorious Cultural Revolution in China, geared by Mao in 1967 to create the ´new, communist man´, led to an unprecedented destruction of monuments, temples, palaces, manuscripts, steles and other epigraphic evidence, depriving modern Chinese from the largest part of their National Heritage, and uprooting even the feeling of ´Loyalty to the Past´.
Somaliland and the Need for National Conscience and Historiography
Emerging from the ashes of a long and most devastating Civil War in Somalia, Somaliland has the need to shape its National Conscience through delving into its Past, and to establish a Corpus of National Historiography Sources. This is the equivalent of establishing an ordinary National Service of Antiquities´ Repertory; but whereas the latter is of purely archeological importance (as record of the national antiquities of the country), the former is not of purely philological interest".
All the members of the gang who still rule in Hargeysa, and their ludicrous scribes, forget – if they ever knew – that political willingness and even economic success are not reasons that can guarantee the national continuity of a distinct country. They never felt "the need to shape" a "National Conscience"; they live one day after the other without any perspective. Their social, political, and economic desires and interests are swept over by great historical realities and by the force of the historical determinism that both are still unknown to them.
That´s why the majority of the Somalis who call the Hargeysa gang ´national shame and blind puppets´ are right. Somaliland is not a country, and because of this it cannot exist as such. When Somalia will be reunited and pacified, and Somaliland will have been forgotten, historians will have the chance to define what Somaliland has permanently been during the period of its brief existence: a simulacrum of state.
Picture: Schoolgirls in Hargeysa do not believe in Somaliland´s unknown tomorrow, but in Somalia´s Great Future. They know very well that Somaliland is a simulacrum.