From now and until 2027, forget about something called Somaliland Recognition. That’s why I’ve closed my Twitter account and I am in the process of leaving several Somaliland groups and organisations. I didn’t want to share this publicly, but I owe friends some explanation. The close ones know that I have been aiming to quit for some time. So this has nothing to do with any argument with someone but everything to do with Somaliland’s foreign policy both from government and opposition.
If you noticed, things are not the same. When I started this advocacy our audience was the western elites (IR experts, MPs, journalists influencers etc). The challenge was to first let them know about us and then address any misconceptions they have about Somaliland’s unique position in the world. At the same time, several geopolitical events have opened up a very rare opportunity for Somaliland’s recognition. Stars were aligning truly for us. That’s from civil war in Ethiopia to chaos in Somalia and last but not least the relations with Taiwan. The Waheen urban fire and opening of the new Berbera Port with DP World are also major events although the gov did not seize those opportunities to highlight the ever high importance of addressing Somaliland recognition globally. Put it all together, I saw the best use of my extra time as a Somalilander living in the diaspora is to enable every step that can make our recognition a reality.
Unfortunately, there have been signals even before the US visit that the gov and opposition are not sincere about our recognition which is absolutely shocking beyond belief. That window of opportunity might never come back. Our audience in the past months has changed from the west to our internal folks: the gov, foreign affairs, opposition MPs etc. Not only do we look stupid arguing on Twitter among ourselves in front of a confused global audience, but we are also wasting our time and energy on these call-outs that are completely ignored. They’re right to ignore diaspora since we do not vote. They’re right because we’re still communicating in English and forget that our new audience is Somalilanders back home. To show how ineffective we’ve become, it took a foreigner and a senior analyst from Heritage foundation to reply to a known Somalian troll. Not only we’re playing a catch-up game, but we are also falling behind in doing the bare minimum level of advocacy.
Forget online activism, let’s talk about working behind the scenes and engaging with policymakers in western countries. Our efforts to make the case for our recognition have been let down by an incompetent/corrupted gov that repeatedly says “Forget recognition, we want just engagement”. Is there treason bigger than that? Who in their right mind seeks de facto recognition from the west just when the stars have aligned up for them?
Then you have the opposition who are happy with the no-recognition policy and further calling for more talks with Somalia saying they will recognise us. At least they’re more honest and clear about their plan to waste another 10 years of Somaliland’s future while eroding our sovereignty in the process.
For Somalilanders back home, I do not know why they’re not taking it to the street and demanding this gov to change its policy. For the Somaliland diaspora, I sincerely believe what is left for Somaliland advocacy is to allow yourself to become a propaganda tool for the gov that gives false hope to the public while they exchange money and greetings with Somalia.
That doesn’t mean we are giving up. It is time to pivot to something else. As a member of the diaspora, I think the best role model is Ismail Ahmed. Leave activism all behind at least until there is a sincere force back home that cares about our cause. Until then let everyone work on their own recognition as individuals. There are so many opportunities here in the west that our people back home don’t have.
If you really care about Somaliland’s sovereignty and recognition in 2022, then you need to move back home and join the new parties such as MIISAAN, the only political group that values what we talk about. Otherwise, you should log off of Twitter and ask why are you away from home and family in the first place!