Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
In the past, I have gone through several texts of Mohamed Abdikadir Daud, a Khartoum-based, resourceful young Somali intellectual and poet; I find them refreshing, imaginative and ingenious, which means that Mr. Daud (pseudonym Stanza) is a Somali Original. It is not by coincidence that it is said that the Somalis are a Nation of Poets; that´s true .
A while back, I read one of his articles that contrarily to the rest does not give an inventive response to existing questions and queries, but articulates a question in its title.
For ancient Greek philosophers, the pertinent formulation of a question was already half the way to the correct answer.
And Mr. Mohamed Abdikadir Daud´s question is very well formulated. That´s why I find it truly useful to republish here the entire article and subsequently comment thereon.
The article´s title is ´Is the whole world novice at the historical Ethiopian-Somali animosity?´ (http://www.somaliwide.net/articles.asp?id=1907&lid=56). The text is republished integrally and numbers encrusted refer to points of my Commentary.
Is the Whole World Novice at the Historical Ethiopian-Somali Animosity? 1
By Mohamed Abdikadir Daud
Almost all Somali patriots including the author of this article, ask themselves this very afore-mentioned question now and again; but, the direct answer of this question is somehow inscrutable, because the geo-political hostility 2 between these two neighbouring Horn of African states is as old as the name world; 3 besides that, the two racial beings are insatiable for war 4 as experience taught us. The ages old Ethiopian-Somali 5hatred is million times deeper than the natural hatred between beauty and ugliness 6; it is in the bones, the marrow and the blood of the peoples of these bordering two states now and then. 7 The ideological distance of the religious faith of the twosome is 8 also as wide as the dimensional gap between peace and war.
There are abusive 9 well-known proverbs among the Somali citizens that signalise for the depth of the animosity: the Somalis say, "Amxaar afkuu kuugu qosluu kugu qaniinaa", which translates as "An Ethiopian 10 bites you with the same mouth that he smiles at you".
They also say, "Gomash hoos maleh Amxaar gacal maleh", which translates as "Gomash has no shade as Ethiopian has no mercy". Gomash is a name of a small tree. If we closely and carefully study the central insight, theme, of the above hassling sayings towards the pride of the Ethiopian people, we can easily infer the wideness of the abysmal hostility between the Ethiopians and the Somalis. 11
The horrible incident of seeing Ethiopian soldiers, dead, being dragged on the streets of Mogadishu by the disgruntled Somali Mogadishians in the elapsed weeks is a clear signal of how those people hate them (the Ethiopian forces in the capital, Mogadishu).
According to my stamina of mental analysis, there are two main, basic, factors that hone the Ethiopian-Somali animosity and they are as follows:
1 - The geographical confrontation, crisis, over the ownership of the disputed oil-rich Ogaden region 12 that houses more than six million Somali ethnics is the now and then prime cause of the amoral human devastation between the twosome. My aim is not expounding on this issue, Ogaden case, which incapacitated the good-neighbourhood of the two bordering states 13; but, I am to refresh the readers that this issue hoists the flag of the Ethiopian-Somali animosity 14. The Islamic cleric hardliner, Hassan Dahir Aweys, once said, "Ogaden is inscribed in the blood and engraved on the conviction of every Somali patriot. We will never concede it, Ogaden, to Ethiopia under any circumstance, because lots of dear Somali heroes martyred for it to be regained and are interred there, Ogaden". This statement has it is own impact on the Somali citizens and on the Sheikh himself. 15
2 - There is a great religious gerrymandering between the side-by-side living arch enemies. Somalis are Muslims by faith, Sunni by thought and Shafi by doctrine; therefore, they consider the Ethiopians 16 as their religious foes in the East Africa, acting for the spread of Christianity. 17 They also assume that Ethiopia is the spokes-agent for the western ideological architecture. 18 This anthological and geo-political variation has its own danger towards lasting better neighbourhood. 19
As an author and poet, I am very much fond of peace in the whole region; but, in my personal opinion, the stay of the Ethiopian soldiers in the long time troubled Somalia, will accrue the diversity of the religious, cultural conflict between the two neighbouring countries.20 If the world founders to ask for the unconditional withdrawal of the Ethiopian forces from Somalia and replace them with international peace-keeping forces, there will be all-out regional bloodbath. 21 As the presence of the government-brought Ethiopian forces is adding fuel to the fire. 22 The global political pathfinders should think twice to avoid regional annihilation and loss of innocent lives, because it is the civilians that will suffer and perish. 23 Otherwise, the answerless question will be: Is the whole world novice at the historical Ethiopian-Somali animosity? 24
1. To start with the focal question, I am sorry to express a ´pessimist´ answer: yes, indeed, the whole world is novice at the historical "Ethiopian – Somali" animosity. This is the least I can say.
What is even worse is that the world does not even bother to know more about this animosity. Certainly, there are few specialists in History who know all the related details in depth; but this is for the sake of their academic pride, competition or antagonism. In addition, there are some specialists in Political Sciences who happen to know; but employed as they are in ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense, they only want to exacerbate and exploit this animosity, not to heal it.
Globalization kills altruism and solidarity
Despite apparent humanitarian interest, which of course never uproots the problem but simply averts grave deterioration, the world does not truly care to eliminate or thoroughly solve problems.
People are working now far more than in the past; the pace of the work became so fast that the only thing average people care about is a TV, cinema or bar entertainment during the few hours left for private life late in the evening.
The globalization had a negative impact on altruism, concern for the other, and solidarity; in the 70s, the streets of Rome and Paris were full of people screaming in support of Chile´s Salvador Allende. Today, no one fights for Darfur, Ogaden or the Christian Aramaeans of Iraq – the country´s most affected ethnic group after the so-called Christian American invasion in 2003….
As long as Somalia does not offer world class tourism, 5-stars hotels to compete with those in the Emirates or at least Kenya, few will bother about the origin of the current troubles between Somalia and its perverse neighbour.
This is a first layer of answer; there has been a second layer. Despite the fact that many scholars and connoisseurs have extensively published on issues pertaining to problems extant allover the world, very little of all this has found its way to the world´s leading mass media.
Behind the scenes
A misinformed and confused public opinion can be more easily manipulated; unelected centers of power that have shaped world developments over centuries have preconceived ideas about what is to be said in public and what not.
Governments and opposition parties are controlled by these unelected centers of power, and implement – blindly following orders – unpopular, unclear, unannounced and severely biased policies that are never approved of by the peoples but had been predetermined by the aforementioned centers of power that act behind the scenes.
Protagonists of the political life in many countries are members of the aforementioned secretive centers that have no concern about the destiny of the various countries and nations that they see as tools in the implementation of their policies and the materialization of their targets.
Ignoring these realities can be very dangerous for small, medium or large nations.
No ´Ethiopia´ – Somalia State Rivalry
2. This point needs clarification; I believe it would not be either historically correct or politically beneficial for Somalia to present the ´geopolitical hostility´ as existing between two states, particularly at the moment all people know that ´Ethiopia´ is a federal state.
In fact, the Somalis have no hostility, animosity or enmity with the Ogadenis, the Oromos, the Sidamas, the Afars, the Shekachos, the Kaffas, the Kambattas, the Anuak, the Hadiyas, the Agawa, the Wolayitas and various other tyrannized nations that have been subjugated and held captive within the colonial state ´Ethiopia´.
Furthermore, the Somalis have no hostility, animosity or enmity with the Muslim Amhara and Tigray Abyssinians who represent ca. 40 % of these two nations´ populations.
Duel between Somalis and Amhara / Tigray Monophysitic Abyssinians
What is left is the Amhara and Tigray Monophysitic Abyssinians who represent ca. 18% of the country´s population. They are in hostility, animosity or enmity with the Somalis, and they rule tyrannically – under various regimes – ´Ethiopia´. It is essential to markedly underscore these dimensions.
Somalia is a 4000 years old nation with illustrious moments of Pre-Islamic Antiquity that have been attested in pages of the Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Latin Literature; modern ´Ethiopia´ – unrelated to Ancient Ethiopia (Kush) on today´s Sudan territory – is a multi-cursed (by 82 % of its population), colonial state – cemetery of numerous African nations (as above) with no more than 150 years of most shameful and dishonorable history.
In fact, Diachronic Somalia and modern fake ´Ethiopia´ cannot be compared; Somalia stands for Civilization and fake ´Ethiopia´ illustrates whatever most barbaric, totalitarian, inhuman, and Anti-Christian exists in the world. In brief, the animosity exists between the Neo-Nazi, uneducated, criminal, Monophysitic Amhara and Tigray Abyssinians and the Most Ancient and Noble Nation of the Somalis.
It would be essential for the Somalis to inform the entire world that when it comes to comparison, Somalia´s surface is far larger than the land of the Amhara and Tigray Abyssinians, and Somalia is far richer in resources, and far more important in terms of geo-strategic evaluation; furthermore, the Somalis (Ogadenis included) are more populous than the Monophysitic Amharas or the Monophysitic Tigrays (we cannot calculate the Muslims along with the Monophysitic Abyssinians, because as they have been terribly oppressed, they want to secede and liberate themselves).
3. This sentence is certainly wrong; the geo-political hostility between the Muslim Somalis and the Monophysitic Amharas and Tigrays is not a very old event, and certainly does not go beyond 1300 CE, which allows us to estimate its duration as no longer than 700 years approximately.
Indigenous Somalis and Alien Abyssinians
Certainly, the Somalis are an indigenous Eastern African nation first mentioned in Egyptian Hieroglyphic texts of the Middle Kingdom as Punt (ca. 2000 BCE); by that time not a single ancestor of the Abyssinians was found on African soil.
In fact, the early center of power in Somalia, Punt, seems to have been organized in the Horn – Ras Hafun area. The earlier Habashat (Abyssinians), who crossed the Bab el Mandeb area and settled in the Eastern African coast date back to 8th – 7th centuries BCE. They seem to have established a port of call in the area of Adulis (near today´s Massawa) and only then to have further expanded in the inland.
Nothing proves an extensive interaction between the Somalis of the Other Barbaria and Azania and the Abyssinians of Axum; contrarily, the interconnection between Somalis and Yemenites of the merged kingdom Sheba and Himyar was great. Particularly, the Somalis of Azania, the Eastern coast of Africa from the Cape Guardafui down to Zanzibar and Dar es Salam, were in close contacts with the Yemenites who had colonized the entire coast, entered into mixed marriages with them, learned their language, and exploited the vast and rich natural resources.
Axumite Abyssinia never invaded, controlled of influenced the Horn of Africa region
Despite the fact that Adulis was an important port of call at the times of the Late Antiquity, never did the Axumite Abyssinians develop the navigational skills of the Sabaean, Qatabani, Himyarite or Hadhrami Yemenites. Even at its strongest moments, the kingdom of Axum did not control any part of Somalia.
Around 360 CE, the Abyssinian king Ezana invaded part of the Meroitic kingdom of Ethiopia, destroyed Meroe, and annexed to his kingdom adjacent parts of Ethiopia (Ancient Sudan)l
In the middle of the 6th century CE, king Caleb of Axum invaded part of Yemen, and further advanced to the North, up to Mekka (570 CE). In both cases, we have no indication of Abyssinian expansion and/or preponderance over Somalia where the Iranian Sassanid replaced the Yemenite influence after the Iranian annexation of Yemen (which involved the defeat of the Abyssinian army in Yemen).
With the rise of the Islamic Caliphate, we have another circle of Yemenite (at times confusingly called ´Arabic´) and Persian influence on, and presence in, Somalia. The Axumite Abyssinian kingdom collapsed and nothing was left of it. When later, the Kushitic origin Agaw, who had meanwhile accepted Monophysitic Christianity, formed a small kingdom in the Abyssinian inland, it never expanded up to the coast which was under Islamic Caliphatic control.
700 Years of Abyssinian Anti-Islamic Hatred and Rancor
Only following the collapse of the Agaw dynasty, due to the racist and heinous acts of a bloodthirsty Abyssinian pseudo-royalty that unsubstantially and ludicrously claimed descent from … Solomon, a deeply anti-Islamic and rancorous policy was pursued by that pseudo-dynasty. Then starts the hostility between Somalis and Amharas.
4. I don´t think that both nations are insatiable for war; no one would accuse Somalis for this. Tribalism and greed are elements that have been instigated.
5. As we already said, the rivalry between Somalis and Amharas is not ages old, except if by this we mean the period of the last 700 years. However, this period consists in only a small part of the 4 millennia long History of Somalia.
Maritime, liberal, communicative, tolerant and open-minded Somalis
6. It is only normal for the rivalry to be across-the-board; the maritime, liberal, communicative, tolerant and open-minded Somalis are diametrically opposed to the mountainous, conservative, isolated, ruthless, and obdurate Abyssinians.
However, this polarization reproduces earlier patterns. The simplest parallels are the Spartans and the Athenians in Ancient Greece.
7. It is a matter of two peoples and in the end, two cultures. Plus, I don´t see how the Amharas / Tigrays and the Somalis are ´bordering´, even if we include the Ogadenis Somalis, and those included in Djibouti. In all cases, the Afars and some of the Oromos are in-between. If all the Eastern African nations find the way leading to their own freedom and independence, there will be no common border between Somalis and Amhara / Tigray Abyssinians.
Of course, the term ´bordering´ relates to the present situation with the colonial state Abyssinia (fallaciously re-baptized ´Ethiopia´) bordering with Somalia, but the first thing one political theorist, analyst and orator must have in mind is how to impose his own terms; then, follows the struggle to materialize the targets described by the terms.
Never anyone won without having imposed the proper terms in advance.
Mountainous, conservative, isolated, ruthless, and obdurate Abyssinians
8. This point shows clearly why it is not the fake state ´Ethiopia´ that we have to compare with Somalia, but the Somalis as nation with the Amhara and the Tigray Abyssinians. In the colonial state Abyssinia (this is the correct term because Abyssinians rule in that country, Cushitic origin Ethiopians like the Oromos being oppressed), there are many different religions as per various tyrannized nations and ethno-religious groups.
Certainly, there is a vast gap between the Abyssinian heresy and the Sunni Islam of the Somalis, but the really abysmal gap that separates the two Abyssinian nations from the Somalis is mainly cultural – the religious being just a part of it.
9. Here we are at the limits of the poetry and the prose; and I want to stress this point. It is totally unrealistic to imagine that one fighting with a dirty opponent has a chance to prevail without becoming somewhat dirty. The subject evolves around the use of the adjective ´abusive´ for the Somali proverb by the author.
Zero Tolerance for Neo Nazi Cannibal Zenawi
His style is similar to that of Shakespeare´s Hamlet but, with a style like that, no one wins today – a definitely non romantic period. When the military aircraft of the Neo-Nazi Cannibal Zenawi carpet bombard villages and towns in Ogaden, one cannot characterize the excellent and accurate Somali proverb as ´abusive´. In fact, it is correct, pertinent, truthful, eloquent and praiseworthy.
In a political battle, and even more so in a national struggle, there is no place for a supposedly neutral territory where one stands to see things equidistantly. You either kill or are killed.
And for the Somalis it is one septillion times better that all the Amhara are eliminated instead of one Somali being killed.
Precisely because of the cultural difference that Mr. Mohamed Abdikadir Daud has so well perceived, all the Somalis have to introduce in their attitude toward Abyssinians the typically Semitic policy ´eye against eye´.
Of course, I know that this contradicts gravely the Kushitic and African noblesse; an Oromo, a Somali, a Sidama would find this attitude very, very low, at the very antipodes of Civilization. And they are mostly right. But…
The years pass. It will soon be 19 years of Somali division.
For parts of the occupied Ogaden, it will soon be 54 years of occupation.
For occupied Sidama Land, it will soon be 114 years of occupation.
For parts of the occupied Oromia, it will soon be 150 years of occupation.
This is a lot of years.
It would be tragic if an African politician, intellectual or poet took the responsibility to double the aforementioned figures as regards his tyrannized nation.
In addition, one should always bear in mind that today every conflict takes place in a specific environment that influences the conflict very decisively. The clash between the barbaric Abyssinians and the Noble Somalis does not occur in an isolated place whereby no other factors may interfere. Consequently, one must understand that in today´s world of the utmost materialism, advanced corruption, and uncontainable greed, no one would take seriously a soft and noble but ineffective reaction from the part of a brutalized and oppressed nation. It would rather be interpreted as a sign of weakness, as a proof of one´s own incapacity, and as a recognition of a lost chance.
Even worse, with so many people fighting today for their rights, for international recognition, and for justice, one must be ready to eclipse all the rest in terms of strong narratives, marked descriptions, stressed sentences, and vociferous protestations.
Otherwise, Zimbabwe will be considered as a very serious problem and Ogaden will be viewed as an inner affair of ´Ethiopia´…
So, the wonderful Somali proverb should be propagated by all the Somalis, irrespective of their political differences, to the four corners of the universe, as the best evidence for the fact that an Amhara is not a human being but a disgusting snake.
Can you imagine the consequence of 15 - 16 millions of Somalis, 32 millions of Oromos, 6 millions of Eritreans, 5 millions of Sidamas, and many millions of many other nations screaming in extreme polyphony "Amxaar afkuu kuugu qosluu kugu qaniinaa" ("An Ethiopian bites you with the same mouth that he smiles at you")?
Do you remember some Israelis stating ´the best Arab is the dead Arab´?
Should all the tyrannized nations of Eastern Africa scream together:
The best Amhara is the dead Amhara ?
Do not Call Abyssinia "Ethiopia"; it´s an Act of Genocide
10. Traduttore – tradittore (translator - traitor)! Amxaar is Amhara, not ´Ethiopian´. And believe me, that colonial hell will not collapse before all the oppressed and tyrannized nations call it ´Abyssinia´ (as it must be called) and stop using the fallacious term ´Ethiopia´ that consists in a real genocide.
11. Sometimes it is good to admit one´s own mistakes; it would be wise for all the Somalis to examine whether, before it is a crime of the Abyssinians to mercilessly slaughter Somalis in the Mogadishu mosque, it is an oversight of the Somalis to have naively forgotten – already back in the 60s – to diffuse to the entire world all that they know and all that they have experienced, all that they say and all that they believe about the Amhara and Tigray Abyssinians, when they became an independent nation deprived however of occupied Ogaden.
Long before attacking Abyssinia and attempting to detach and liberate Ogaden, the correct diffusion of accurate knowledge and experience should have taken place.
Instead, the Abyssinians have been left and still are left to diffuse their Neo-Nazi falsehood, namely that
the Somalis are Islamic extremists and fanatics
the Ogadenis are terrorists
the Oromos and all the other tyrannized nations are one nation mixed with the Amharas and the Tigrays, named "Ethiopians"
the Queen of Sheba was an …. Ethiopian!
her palace was in Axum!
Ethiopia represents 3000 years of historical continuity!
the Ark of the Covenant is in Axum!
12. First, I would disagree with the effort of highlighting the importance of the natural resources of any place, province or country; as attitude, it only promotes a materialistic viewpoint over the world´s affairs. If this is the reason for which Abyssinia intends to keep Ogaden under control at all costs, this matters little for the Ogadenis and the Somalis.
The denunciation of Human Rights violations does not need to expand over the reasons Abyssinia may intend to act in this way; what is necessary is to demonstrate to the rest of the world that Zenawi´s Abyssinia is worse than Hitler´s Germany, and as such it must not be allowed to further exist.
Furthermore, I would not consider Ogaden Oil resources as the ´prime cause´ for the terrible hecatomb that has been taking place there – while the ominous Ass. Secretary Jendayi Frazer has remained silence (despite the fact that she is so uselessly and shamefully talkative about Zimbabwe).
The reason is the Neo-Nazi, discriminatory, inhuman, barbaric and utterly cannibalistic nature of the Abyssinian state which permeates everything therein, namely education, culture, social system, political establishment, economy, official religion, and army.
Abyssinia to Be Broken Down to 10 Pieces
13. One should not bother to have good relations with the terrorist state Abyssinia; it is absolutely illusive to imagine that it will be rectified gradually. Abyssinia will be broken to ten (10) pieces; there is no other solution, there cannot be any other solution. It was already very naïve for Siyad Barre to envision that he would be able to liberate Ogaden and unify it with Somalia, leaving the rest intact. I would say even more; it was deeply immoral.
When one faces an impossible cemetery of nations (don´t call Abyssinia a ´state´) like that, one is bound to cooperate with the various tyrannized nations and help them achieve national independence at the same time. That´s why cooperation with the Oromos, the Sidamas, the Afars, the Anuak, and all the rest is the only key to Somalia´s victory today.
For Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and ARS, more important is to set up a coordination plan for a general revolution against Zenawi´s tyranny in Oromia, Ogaden and Somalia than to come to terms with the powerless and otherwise unrepresentative TFG ´president´.
How to terminate the Racist Nature and Education of the Abyssinians
14. After Ogaden will be part of Somalia, again the Amhara and Tigray Abyssinians will be full of animosity against the Somalis. It pertains to their nature; by this I do not mean that they cannot change. Simply, a change must happen through the imposition of the international norms on the Abyssinians, namely a UN – UNESCO tutelage (following the total decomposition of the present colonial relic ´Ethiopia´ and the secession of the different tyrannized nations) that would eliminate from the Abyssinian education all elements of racism and discrimination, iniquity and bigotry, and would constrain the iniquitous Amharas and Tigrays to perceive themselves as equal to all the rest.
15. I don´t believe that Hassan Dahir Aweys is beneficial to Somalia today, but I believe at the same time that the statement is correct and every Somali patriot would quasi-automatically say the same.
16. Here, one again, the term is wrong; the author means only the Monophysitic Amharas and Tigrays, not the Muslim Amharas and Tigrays, and certainly not all the oppressed nations of the colonial relic.
Lack of knowledge about one´s enemy
17. Here, I believe all the Somalis would agree with the author, but the statement reveals a major problem in Somalia that pre-existed and ultimately contributed to Somalia´s Civil War. The problem is of tragic dimensions, as it becomes clear through this wrong statement: lack of knowledge about one´s enemy. This terrible oversight leads usually to disaster.
In fact, the Monophysitic Amharas and Tigrays do not represent Christianity and consequently do not try to spread Christianity. The Monophysites consist in an early Christian heresy; the Abyssinians added further and far more serious layers of heretical practices and beliefs to this early one. Much after, the adoption of a falsified version of Biblical and Christian history within the forgery of Kebra Negast testifies only to the great distance that separates them from Christianity. It is not by coincidence that the Amharas killed mercilessly and inhumanly many erudite Catholic priests, who had traveled to study and preach, and even more shamelessly they dared accuse them of … colonialism.
This is the criminal and Satanic Abyssinian iniquity: not only they perpetrate the crime but they even try to justify it. This is not a Christian attitude. And the Somalis would gain tremendously in terms of communications if they studied better their historical enemy that happens at the same time to be the enemy of the mankind and the humanism.
18. Again, they look to be so, but they are not. Certainly the statement is correct if placed within the context of the colonial antagonism, mainly between Italy and Britain, in the Horn of Africa area. Today, the Abyssinians seem to be used by the Americans against the ´Islamists´ but this is a completely false interpretation of the events, and even worse this interpretation is not at all beneficial to the Somalis themselves.
19. Never will Abyssinia, fallaciously re-baptized Ethiopia, have any sort of lasting good neighborhood relations with any African country. It is a pathological, sick case. The best ´Ethiopia´ is the Dead ´Ethiopia´.
20. This is very correct; what is left for us to check is whether the ensuing nefarious situation consists in a real target for some surviving colonial powers.
21. Again, correct! But perhaps, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, the target is not replacement of dictators with democrats, but deliberately triggered chaos. I am glad to see another astute Somali author diffuse a pertinent interpretation; Abdullahi Dahir Moge wrote an excellent article in which one can read the following paragraph (http://www.ogaden.com/mog170308.htm):
"Some people are mystified why the TPLF rulers couldn´t pick better pawns; with a bit of acceptable credentials. Surely, it is not a matter of scarcity of ´intellectuals for sale´. What these people fail to understand is the quintessential Tigrayan´s psyche of suspicion and what I wish to call the ´minority-insecurity syndrome´."
This is valid in America, in Europe, in Africa, everywhere.
22. This may be precisely what the British colonials wanted for this part of the world.
23. When idealism runs high, a poet is closer to the other end of the universe. Who cares for innocent lives? Cheney? Jendayi Frazer? Tony Blair? Putin? Chirac and his trashy successor? The Chinese dictators? Who? None.
24. The world is worse than a novice; it´s a neophyte who rejects the essence of his initiation! They have eyes and they can´t see.