Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Somali Youth - Challenges and Actions


Background

Somali youth are at present face huge task in trying to restore order back to their beloved country.  This is not one with a simple duty but with many challenges and also countless rewards if successful. With over 75% of the population, Somalia has seen its youth participate in both positive aspects of the country and also negative. Youth have witnessed themselves being sidelined in decision-making forums while at the same time at the frontline in combat defending leaders who clearly have shown to have no regards for their wellbeing and future.

A young girl saluting the Somali national flag
History tells us the Youth of Somalia have been the driving force in establishing the state from colonial rule. 13 young activists formed the celebrated Somali Youth League (SYL) in which they had protested, lobbied for the rights of the nation. All over the country, SYL members are seen as iconic and were the drive for the nation as they had been pivotal to see Somalia with self-rule away from British and Italian ruling. It was a movement with a fast paced united action and the youth had regularly met with one another and build a support system amongst the public with nationalistic mindset awareness. We must remember at that time, patriotism was easily built, as they had not been any sort of federal or clan system rule not like today. The nation was young and so was its ambition.

With the revolution of the Supreme Revolution Council (SRC) taking charge of the nations affairs on 1969, newly commander of Chief Siad Barre was also very supportive in driving the youth of Somalia forward. Youth in Somalia were cautious with no challenge to the coup. The SRC promoted youths to education, creating a system to facilitate the newly graduates to set off from their homes to rural areas and began off the mass nationwide education drive. This was very crucial as it enabled youths to empower and educate those far and out on the Latin alphabet writing Somalia had picked. Youths, who had access to free education, felt that it was an obligation to educate their fellow Somalis and give back to the community.

As the years of prosperity had run on and a major civil war escalated in the early 90s, it was the youth who were leading the frontlines once again. The nation split into clan fragments and Somali youth had again seen themselves now being pushed as foot soldiers. Manpower was crucial for all clans with militias starting to form throughout the country. Militia groups needed soldiers and a destructive ideology was set upon to the youth forcefully or with promised incentives to support their clan. Meanwhile behind the scenes, it was the older generation who were gaining power and wealth on the back of the youth.

on the turn of the century, youths of Somalia once again had witnessed themselves as being the victims with dangerous ideologists sweeping the nation. As the early and mid 90s war destroyed the educational system and all aspects of institutions, children grew up with no awareness whatsoever to the cultural or religion life. This meant that ignorance was to be widespread right across the country. It paved way for those with another agenda to misinterpret teachings and drive youths from the regional and rural areas to their own advantage. Youths had once again seen themselves in the frontlines waging a war to fellow Somalis in a pretext alien to our society. Ignorance to the teachings of Islam and the beautiful culture Somalia possess sidelined, youths were driven to missions to destroy anybody who had disagreed with their teachers. A huge amount of blame to these acts can only be the collapse of all system.

Somali youth are now at their most pivotal era the nation has seen. The tasks are high and wide nevertheless one that needs for its youth to stand up united once again. The challenges are there for all to be seen.

Challenges Somali Youth face

  • ·      Disunited (There isn’t a clear one voice for Somali youth.)
  • ·      Clan loyalty more greater than youth solidarity
  • ·      Security challenges not only impact the youth but whole population
  • ·      Cultural aspects highlight for elders to take full lead in all aspects
  • ·      The system. (Youth are subordinate to adult elites who make political decisions)
  • ·      Unemployment had lead to very low moral and economic impact on youth.
  • ·      Migration is wide across the whole region in East Africa and affecting the lives of youth in the country.
  • ·      Frustrations and concern that reconstruction efforts in Somalia are not addressing the root causes of the 25-year civil war.
  • ·      Lack of institutions available to support and nurture youth
  • ·      Short spaces available for platforms to engage
  • ·      Lack of awareness amongst youths

Advantages for Somali Youth

  • ·      With estimation of 75% population of the country, Somali youth make up majority. Clearly a major win for Somalia if seen from a worldwide prospective view.
  • ·      With a united voice, this is force that cannot be stopped to gain on its needs.
  • ·      Highly active and conscious in political views
  • ·      Globalization means access to information is beginning to enter everyday lives of youths more now than ever.
  • ·      Engaging with huge Diaspora Somali youth across the world can only mean positive for future.

Actions to take for Somali Youth

  • ·      Create an atmosphere of unity amongst youth groups/unions
  • ·      Set up a united voice with the full intention of providing a louder voice
  • ·      Raise awareness campaign on the devastation clan separation has caused
  • ·      Reformulate and bridge the gap with traditional elders of youth participation
  • ·      Engage with leaders concerning future of the state
  • ·      Facilitate youth workshops to restore a sense of national identity
  • ·      Campaign and advocate for a youth quota in the parliamentarian representation
  • ·      Engage with women and minority groups
  • ·      Network and lobby Parliamentarians for legislations on youth rights
  • ·      Engage and facilitate forums in universities and colleges with students
  • ·      Lobby for a youth debates on major television/radio outlets
  • ·      Facilitate and use sports to send a message of unity
  • ·      Coordinate regional debates amongst youth groups across the country
  • ·      Organize nationwide peaceful rallies on youth rights on occasions such as 15th May (National youth day)
  • ·      Lobby for political parties for youths inclusion
  • ·      Regular meetings between unions/groups
  • ·      Set up magazines on youth involvement in politics and public life
  • ·      Internet debates to engage and build network with the Diaspora
  • ·      Establish a network with youth groups/unions in Africa and the region
  • ·      Promote the capability and resilience of Somali youth to positively affect the political/social needs.

Conclusion


Youth of Somalia have huge capability to reach potential if ignited. This is evident from history and only requirement is to mobilize and establish a firm united voice.  This will nevertheless be a huge challenge and its fruits are limitless. The plus side at current moment is how politically youth are aware and their huge representation in society. The concern is the cultural sidelining and not having any decision-making formulation within their community. Of course, this will only require from them to be aware of the exploitation that the clan itself which roles them as the frontline activists or foot soldiers, will be worthless without its youth. This can only be enabled through awareness and empowering the youth in Somalia.

Mohamed Hassan (Dj)

@MoHassan_ppg

Sunday, 8 March 2015

A Model for Mothers


Amidst the barrage of bullets and missiles, she grabbed you and fled. She fled thousands of miles, alone, to nurture you in peace. Frightened, she sacrificed her wealth, possessions and life so that you can have a chance, a chance to grow. She embraced quietly and patiently to her new surroundings in an alien’s field, never mentioning her inner thoughts so that you can have a chance, a chance to grow.

Disciplined you when necessary and praised you when attained, so that you can have a chance, a chance to grow. Nurtured you into a wiser and respectful individual with her compassionate love and never once complained. Somali mothers, if resilience was a human, this would be her. 

The world can learn a lot from this beautiful & devoted mother.

Happy International Women's Day

Mohamed Hassan - Editor

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Mogadishu through Instagram Part 3

A lot has changed since my part 2 of this epic series titled "Mogadishu through Instagram".

Here it is, Mogadishu through Instagram part 3! Care to enjoy history before your own very eyes.

Just passed KM4 entering Maka Al Mukarama Road. Leads you to all the landmarks throughout the city.




The kings of the road, Caasi's (Bus). A mode of travel for many. Riding one is definitely unforgettable journey. Highly recommended! Read my popular "20 Mins inside an Caasi" article



Restaurants are now a common sight in Mogadishu. Lets just say we Somalis are arrogant with our cooking because we damn well sure can cook! 




New Airport coming soon! Landing in Aden Adde International Airport is a must for travellers. Really does seem for a minute as if you'd be landing in the Indian Ocean. Beautiful!




Due to popular demand, now rightfully re-named Banadir Beach Restaurant.




The obsession we Somalis have for SYL is indescribable. #WadaniFever must return




High rise buildings are changing our skyline in Mogadishu.




Great to see basic services are now on the comeback. A school bus on the call.



In 2 years this city has seen immense change. Imagine in 10 years? Never test the will of the Somali people. 



Resilience is in our blood. So much war yet life truly goes on. The people of Mogadishu truly deserve a noble prize for their will to continue. Amazing!



The more petrol stations, the merrier for us drivers in Mogadishu.



Off Talex entering Maka Al Mukarama. This was once a front line against terrorism. Now a business hub.



And the pic that went global. Mr Ice cream van by Lido Beach!
















Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A letter from Somalia. The Land.

This is a message to all Somalis in this generation and the next generation.

Our beautiful Country is asking us these questions: I am a Country in the Africa Continent, my name’s Somalia, my people are Somalis and they have one culture, one language and one Religion. And I have a lot of natural resources comparing to other Countries.

 I must admit that I have the best agricultural land, nice weather, longest coast in Africa, a lot of fish and also I possess crude oil not to mention my two ever flowing rivers Shebelle and jubba and also my lovely mountains and my beautiful tourist attraction sites.

So why don’t my people realize that they are the luckiest people on earth? And why don’t they seek their natural resources of which I have in abundant? Why are they fighting and what they fighting for? 




I am prosperous, productive Country and I am a large and beautiful country in every way you look at me. All I need from you is to have peace and I promise you that I remain prosperous.!

Soomaaliyaa

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The 8 commandments for Diaspora on returning home


1.     Stop the Arrogance

However smart and confidence you may feel, note that someone else is taking this as arrogance. Sometimes it’s best to let others shines so do not make the mistake of thinking that you know everything about everything just because you had access to Google for the last 10 years.  Some youths here carry 4 or 5 degrees and did this in a warzone. Just because you had a western education and speak with a good English/American accent does not make you the messiah Somalis have been waiting for.

2.     Learn Af-Somali

This is crucial for your survival (in oral sense). People will look at you and judge you. Make sure your Af-Somali game is stepped up and ready to converse at any given time. You should already know that we are an oral nation so having some type of ammo (Not guns) is important. Kids as young as 8 would test you and so would Caasi (Bus) drivers. You must be able to reply as fast as possible without any hiccup.

3.     ATM/Cash Machine? Forget all that Rubbish, Welcome to the land of EVC

Do not assume that just because the nation had been going through war people are not as dumb and stupid as you may think. The first ATM bank machine was recently just opened up. Do not come into town with your plastic card and hoping to do transaction through it. You would be looked at and laughed on. The EVC system is clearly in charge here. Get use to it.

4.     Foreign Line is where you stand in the immigration department.

When you land in Mogadishu, the fresh smell of salt water hits you. Then as you are coming down the flight of stairs, you head into the immigration department. Here, there are 4 lanes separated into 2 different sections. The left section is the foreign section and the right sections are for the nationals. If you are carrying a different passport, note that you are a foreigner and must line up at that section. Yes, we all know you are a Somali, heck even the birds know you are a Somali but the immigration department rules do not. Please abide by the rules and come off that “This is my country”. Nobody will hear you or care.

5.     Be prepared for changes.

Ok, you have been out of the country for over 20 years. Realise that things have changed and new actors are playing the game. Forget about “Xamar was like this or like that.” That is gone, out of the picture. New characters have emerged over the last 20 years and are now the movers and shakers of the city. Respect this.

6.     A gun going off means make way for traffic.

When you hear a gun go off as you emerge traffic, keep calm and move aside. There is no gunfight going on, there is no sniper. This is done to make room. Understand this and you would be fine.                  

7.     Have Somali Shilling ready at any moment

The Somali Shilling may be worthless to you but it would help you buy small things. 100,000Shilling Somali is enough which is roughly $5. It would seem like a huge chunk to you at first but this shilling can enable you to process transactions pretty fast and with the nation emerging from war, would be able to help you support those less fortunate who do not at most times carry mobile phones for the EVC system.

8.     Process a Somali Driving License

Ok, so what you got an American driving license, this is Somalia. You must go to traffic control centre (locally named viish Traffic) and process your license (Somali is much preferred). Otherwise General Ali Gaab would not be happy and trust me; you do not want to see him pissed off.
If you follow these simple 8 rules, life would be convenient for you.

Other than that, Have a pleasant stay.
Mohamed Hassan (Dj)


Saturday, 4 October 2014

Eid mubarak!

I wish all my readers a prosperous Eid filled with joy.

As a Somali, Xalwa is very much always on the menu come Eid. Without Xalwa is like having a television without access to electricity.



Eid Mubarak to you all and many more

Mohamed Hassan (Dj)

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Some more Quick videos - Beautiful Somalia


For those privileged enough to have witnessed landing in Somali soil would tell you there is no experience other. The beauty, the immense land we posses and the wonders of Somalia are truly something special.

For those who haven't, no need to worry, I have compiled a video to show you exactly what I mean.

I get so frustrated and motivated when I witness youths from other countries speak about their lands when in FACT I know very well Somalia beats them all.

Unity is the key to use all this great wealth.





Soomaaliyaa Soomaali ba leh (Somalia belongs to Somalis)

Mohamed Hassan (Dj)