Somaliland: A letter of advice to Ahmed Samatar.


There was a character in the history of Italy called Cola de Rienzo . He was a knowledgeable and eloquent person. He mesmerized all of Italy one time and everyone followed him . They chased the Barons out of Rome , and Cola was made the head of the country. Soon people got tired of his vanity, boastfulness and transgressions. People rebelled against him and the same mob that gave him the glory, captured him and torn him to pieces. I do not want that fate to happen to Ahmed Samatar. A man that I admired all my life . A great soccer player , a musician , a wonderful journalist and broadcaster and a formidable academician .

Years ago I used to criticize Ahmed on his stand of maintaining the union with the south . ( Read my article . Thousand Questions to Prof Ahmed Samater ) . Now that is past and Ahmed is back to Somaliland , I welcome him again to the family and congratulate him on the superb job he is doing in soldiering for Somaliland and joining many others before him in the lines of the good fight for the great cause. Yet nowadays I am worried about him , therefore I want to give him a bit of a necessary advice on how to blend in to the quasi telepathica environment of Somaliland intellectual enterprise . As an old hand in that business I will try to give my novice friend a bit of brotherly tips so he might fit in , and does not get frustrated in the high capacity performance of Somaliland philosophical exercises..

1- People are saying that the professor is always preaching. Preaching is always tiresome to the people. To tell human beings what is good from bad , and what is smart from dump , what is fashionable from outdated would always appear to the people as offensive. Furthermore if the preaching is one without a Gospel in hand it is very dangerous. Once you depend only in your knowledge and wisdom to preach a crowd , you only make sense once in a blue moon. even wise men like Ghandi and Mandela have only small dozens of quotable quotes . Preaching without substance will only make some one look like a fool. I would therefore advice the professor to change from preaching people to enlightening the people and talk about subjects that he knows well and teaches at the universities. That would sound better. It will also be preferable if he does it less frequently.

2- It is not always good to talk about yourself. Human beings detest someone who all the time talks about his job , his degree , his salary , his house , his car , his shoes , his mother ,his brother, his cat his his his. People come to listen to a professor so he might tell them about what is written in all the books that they never read . To tell them about knowledge mysteries. They want to get answers to what they wonder about in their times of reflection. Everybody can talk about how tall their brother is and how much money they make > I hope Ahmed would stop doing that . There is a saying ” A simple person talks about himself and other people. An ordinary person talks about events in the news . An intelligent person talks about Ideas ” . I would be expecting the professor to talk about ideas . I was not expecting him to talk about his clever mind and despise other peoples minds. I would humbly seek from the professor to talk more ideas.

3- I am beginning to understand that Ahmed Samatar does not understand Somaliland and why . Professor Samater did not become a Somaliland supporter as a result of an academic research and reflection. He did not make a soul searching analysis and found the truth and went back to his roots. No it was not that way at all. For twenty some years Ahmed was in love with a girl called Somalia . All the time another girl called Somaliland was waiting for him. He would not give her a chance. At the end of twenty and more years Somalia rejected him . With a great amount of anger and vengeance he threw himself on the arms of Somaliland. Somaliland embraced him and gave him a big hug . However Ahmed has no passion and no love for Somaliland . To be able to defend Somaliland academically and otherwise , you have to first love Somaliland . His is a marriage of fate . That is why he is frustrated. I would advice Ahmed to take a time out . to retie his umbilical cord to Somaliland . to cultivate love and understanding and only after that to return to the playing field .

4- I am afraid that the whole project would look like a theatrical performance of a gangster style . Someone has written one time ” Amilcar Cabral said that the crisis of the African intellectual is a crisis of knowledge . It is a crisis of Ignorance . Look at our Somalilander PHDs . Galeyrs , Buubas , Samaters .Sifirs and those of them inside the country are more of a nuisance than good. ” I was shocked that night when Ahmed Samater in his big reception here in Ottawa, hundreds of Somalilanders listening and clapping for him saying this. ” The recognition needs ten million dollars” . I smelled a rat . I asked myself two questions . Is the guy proposing a contract to Somaliland ? Well , if the ten million is given to him, what guarantee do Somalilanders have that he will deliver ? Is this con artistry . I am really out of my imaginations. I would advice Ahmed no to advertise himself in dollar terms .

That is my two cents worth of my advice to Ahmed Samater . I hope that it produces positive results.
Mohamud Tani



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