The Infamouse Devide-N-Rule Policy
edited: Saturday, July 01, 2006
By Abdinasir A Mohamed
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Saturday, July 01, 2006
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The Infamous Devide-and-Rule policy: A short essay about this treacherous name calling to devide the strenght of the perceived adversary.
THE INFAMOUS DIVIDE-N-RULE POLICY
A lot has been written, in the west, about the emerging power of the Islamic Courts Union. Some described them as militants or extremists, others called them names including fundamentalists, moderates, unknowns, and so on. Many people including myself are asking these questions: Who is a militant or extremist and who is not? Is there a universal means by which we can gauge the level of militancy, fundamentalism or how judicious or moderate one might be? Is fundamentalism a crime itself? Is a suspect the same as a villain or convict? And if so, under whose jurisdiction is he or she? What is wrong with the Qadiriya-the main Sufi sect? And equally why some in the west and some of the Sufi sects are so allergic to Wahabi order? The list of questions goes on and on.
I want to remind my peers (who knows my class, rank or age!) to be more rational. These above mentioned words don’t have any religious connotation, unless you have a newly updated dictionary. Other arguments and sects such as Qadiriya, and Wahabia don’t hold high position in the Islamic tradition as they are innovations that had crept into the outer fold of Islam, well after the perfection of this Deen by Almighty (S.W.A.) in the lifetime of the prophet. I honestly can’t understand a Wahabi or Qadiri attacking the other, simply to disagree! In this world, millions of people live their lives peacefully side by side, with 1000 and 1 different, opposing creeds. As Islam requires harmony, Qadiriyas can do their feasts in their Mowla’s as suits them, while Wahabis can do their do’s and don’ts in their meeting places as they wish. No need for fermenting trouble or confrontation as they are seeds of destruction and pleasure of colonial enemy.
Indeed one problem many Somalis have not understood or rather forget quickly since the beginning of the colonial regimes of late 19th, and early to mid 20th century; is the infamous divide-and-rule policy; they so tactfully employ to stay on top of their perceived adversary. They build court houses, and bring in manuscripts that contain their version of justice. As history records teach us, they set one clan against another, and when trouble flares, they summon the villains to their ostensible justice. The very ruler, who stirs the inter-clan conflict behind closed doors, perches on his bench in the chamber to hear cases he already has full knowledge. People stand on their feet behind rows of prohibiting seats. Each group waits for a favourable verdict. Endless postponement is part of the court procedure, until trouble becomes so complex to give the colonial ruler a good red-herring to interfere. As court session concludes, people leave by the side door in groups and not by the front door! Why the side door? I leave it to you, the reader to investigate and find out.
“The ruler holds-up the case because he wants to gather more evidence” one convicts’ group member murmurs. On the other hand, victims and their kinsmen whimper. Anger and vengeance rage in their hearts. The hot dry season which prohibits them from taking action nears to its end as clouds laden with water travel across the sky. Trees begin to bloom as they wait for rain. There is an abundance of milk and meat. Shepherds don’t herd livestock for miles any longer, as it grazes in green pasture around their makeshift shelters. As herdsmen from the victims’ sub-clan gather, poems of the past events are crooned. Once again, emotions of the last clan war-fare run high among the clansmen of this hilly land. The perfect time for retribution comes. The colonial justice didn’t work. While planning a reprisal attack, the shepherds were surrounded and slaughtered. A pain beyond imagination was unleashed on already grieving families. Behind the scene, every incident is reported to the colonial ruler without leaving minute details.
The second court session of the rainy season starts, and the judge declares that the two sub-clans can’t be reconciled and will never be at peace with one another. Inevitably, a unit of army or colonial police is put between them. To do what? As the ruler claims to mediate! What a perfect alibi! This is a simple example of how the divide-and-rule policy worked for the colonials who ruled this individualist society.
No wonder, history repeats itself. The very enemy, our great grandfathers fought-off, and in the process of freedom sacrificed their lives, is craving for a repeat of the past colonial era. This enemy may shatter buildings, destroy bridges, kill people here and there, but, they are well aware of their incapability to conquer the spirit of the Somali people. They certainly, as we’ve seen in the press, employ, within our society, worthless elements, supported by relentless media campaign to divide our society into opposing groups, once again, utilizing the heinous divide-and-rule policy. Unfortunately, many have fallen into this treacherous trap of name-calling game: militant versus moderate.
As we’ve learned from history, amongst every revolution or popular uprising, there are rogue elements that may not only try to sabotage, but to hi-jack it as well. Here I’m not implying, by any means, that Sheikh Hassan D. Aweys is not fit for the job. What I disagree, is rather the process by which he was appointed. It seemed quick and rather clandestine, thus rendering the result as inconclusive. A well participated and rigorously consulted approach might have been more appropriate. Nonetheless, I declare loyalty to the outcome, although I’m aware of its short comings, as seeds of division and disenchantment are what our common enemy is seeking to plant.
Every thing, but the Omnipotent; needs perfection as weakness is a natural symptom of created beings. The newly appointed Shura and executive assemblies are imperfect and should be more inclusive. People from all orders of religious sects, including the Qadiriya, the Tableigh, and perhaps other less known groups should have voices in both councils even though their participation of the struggle was not as visible as those of others. Their contribution to the decision-making, implementation and pacification of a city, awash with weapons of all sorts, is crucial.
Further more, the horrendous crimes committed by valueless warlords on behalf of Ethiopia have been known to most citizens. But what is troubling is the new dimension of this crime, as allegations of secret American involvement surfaces to light. It’s this later one that the new Shura and executive assemblies need to pay more attention to, as ignoring it can be disastrous. In today’s world, good relations with America, without compromising the national sovereignty; is important. Even though, America is not willing to see a strong Somali government, as Mr Aweys alleges, a diplomatic tone may be more helpful to the cause the Sheikh envisions. America can be a powerful ally or enemy. Adjusting to this fact requires a radical change within, no matter how painful it might be. Having written that, I’m not suggesting in any sense, that a provocatively prioritised list of requirements be met by one side, before an agreement can be reached to the mutual satisfaction of each party.
However, the sheikhs of the Islamic Courts Union hold an important key, which if utilised wisely, can empower the civil society, extend a reconciliatory hand, and invite everyone who can help direct the nation towards national unity.
By Abdinasir A. Mohamed