Sunday, December 15, 2013

Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave

Albert Einstein said, "He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice," in reference to the promotion of war and defining ones patriotism by the barrel of a gun.

Open market in Hargeisa

Whenever I visit Somaliland, I'm always struck by the political choices this small autonomous region made in the past 25 years to keep the peace and build a nation in the midst of endless violence in Somalia. As a student of international relation and political affairs, you learn that one of the key factors of achieving peace is forgiveness of your enemy through 'truth and reconciliation'. 

I find it worth while to observe the process of trauma, healing and story telling in post conflict zones, specially in the context of including political actors and ethnic groups in the peace-building negotiation. In the case of Somaliland, the SNM guerrilla, which liberated present day Somaliland were instrumental in ensuring the losing sides of the civil war were part of the political and military process of separating from Somalia, to build an autonomous nation.

There is little research done in how people express themselves in the face of human tragedy, in the case of East Africa (Somaliland and the importance of non-interference from international and regional powers), and how they respond to violence and reparation of such injuries. Somaliland in the east and Liberia in the west of Africa can teach us a lot about overcoming victimhood mindset and putting the interest of everyone above their thirst for rightful vengeance toward internal and external perpetuators.

I believe acknowledging the importance of mourning the loss of millions of life, which is the case in both Somalia and Somaliland, will be crucial in building a functioning, peaceful country, whether the two regions unite or not. However, such a social change that reflects on political and economic losses can only be realized with Somalis domestically coming together to address their own national needs, without Kenya and Ethiopia military presence, not to mention America's misplaced foreign policies.

 Somaliland Parlaiment building

 Hargeisa's version of a public transport, very efficient and cheap alternative to cars

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