FACE AND VOICE

 

THE FACE AND VOICE OF MIDGANS

A few weeks ago, I was sent a letter, via email; from readers of my Article about titled “Freedom without Equality” wuxuu yiri, Midguhu ayaga ka masuul ah dhibka haysta waayo way is Qariyaan. Dad is qarinaya sidee dadka loola simi karaa? he said “Midgans are responsible for their problems because they hide their tribe name and how can you be equal with other Somali tribes when you are invisible?” I agree with this reader his idea partially, so his blame forced me to write this Article in order to make him very clear of what kind of idea that I am holding personally or preaching for?  I have all the solutions of Midgan problems also my idea is practical, reasonable, honest, and sensible. The problem of Midgan is “Crises of identity” ‘Thus, ‘among many Midgans there occurred a loss of the most basic elements of human being and that is their identity, the name as a tribe, the land to claim, the leader (Sultan or Ugaas) to become voice for them, the marriage to relate other tribe for affiliation, a position: not yet integrated into the Somali majority and losing contact with the Somali ethnicity. In the mind of Midgan the question is when I can not have all this relations with Somali Major Tribes then I am not equal with other Somali citizens then, Am I Somali?”  There fore, the problems they (may) face in the educational system are (mis) diagnosed by representatives of the dominant group/Somalis. Typically the minorities themselves have been and are blamed for any failures. 'Reasons' for problems of identity is not temporary; it is a permanent to be blamed by Midgans, Being Midgan and claiming their tribe is good for their heart and their self-esteem. It is also the solution of their identity problems. It answers, satisfactorily the question of who am I? “You are Midgan believe it or not”

 I asked this question, what process by which Midgan come to see themselves as being Midgan?  The answer can be, complicating, it is impossible Midgans to come to identify themselves as a “Midgan” some times because the image of Midgan in Somali mind is completely inferior and sub-human and no one likes to be seen as inferior as a Midgan in Somalia because of their name they are often avoided by other tribes if not tortured psychologically or killed physically. For this result, Many Midgans came to believe that they couldn’t be themselves-Midgans in some places or regions because they would be too vulnerable so, they decided to suspend their Midgan identity temporarily for duration by protecting themselves along with choosing not to reveal themselves their true Midganness.  The bogus presentation of self, his claim of Darood if he has their dialect accent can be possible or Isaaq identity is simple if you have their dialect for pretend to be while he is in that place or region if has Hawiye dialect he can also survive as Hawiye. It is a false identity created for survival in the artificial phony tribe. However, if it is learned or revealed from others then he would negotiate with validating as origin or he would accept the consequences of shame, humiliations and avoid the vicinity later. By this case, Some Midgans would use for excuse of their claiming logic Slogan that says, “Have you ever seen or heard someone who died because of Shame?” As matter of fact, Midgan would be first. In reality, this survival identity or false tribe identity are not and cannot be entirely successful but it works for some Midgans about 50% percentages in the daily life of Midgan survival.  The work of sheegad status is motivating factor because the tribalism resides in every Somali nerve blood, in the Somali communicational language, in the Somali political system, in Somali economics, in Somali education curriculum and in the religion circles. It is collective beliefs, and it is important as Somali social customary institutions to know how this traditional genealogy works, so, without understanding this tribal system Midgans and other minorities could not survive in the Somali society because Midgans, it is almost impossible to change born as Midgan means with no possibility of change this ascribed status of Midgan but claiming other tribe can give them temporary dignity and relief for while. This sheegad status is not for love neither for choice but it is the way of survival for the Midgans.

To reexamine and redefine the Midgan identity would take a time as the issue of Midgan identity moved from the nation as Boonta (Puntites or Punt) as a natives to Midgan as inferior as landless ignoble as indirect slaves to the second class citizens in their land. So to build their identity again will take centuries because the destruction of their historical identity of Midgans took many centuries. Accordingly, the badge of a tribe, the land to own, and the political identity are needed very badly in this time in order to rebuild the lost dignity of Midgan. The dialogue is important among Midgans themselves before they reach the hostile community; Midgan’s survival and identity depend on themselves and can be found through the peace dialogue between with the Somali major tribes and Midgans. However, as far as I know little work or none has been done on what Midgans themselves thought their identity of who they are as reality and what Somalis believe about Midgans can be discovered through the long and tiresome dialogue with academically managed and well versed. Although, I am arguing that Midgans felt inferior to Somali Major tribes “Ajji” not because of biological factor, religion, color, language, or talent but they were felt inferior because of the way that Midgans were treated in the Somali society or seen as an inferior tribe, so this kind of treatment resulted (Sheegat Status) or the developmental sense of inferiority which can be termed as complex inferiority of Midgan. According to David M. Newman and Jodi, O’Brien, their book Sociology Readings said “Social institutions can determine not only what we do and say but what we value and what we became. Our self-concept, identity, and sense of self-worth are derived from the reactions, real or imagined of other people”

Now, I am going to open for you our undeclared divisions among us then you can see, how many colors do we  have as Midgans; Some of us are chamberlains,  There are two ideologies that are moving from south to north, from west to east, now,  Midgans oppose one another; One Midgan is seeking assimilation  called “Midgan integrationist” whereas other Midgans are seeking separate but equal called “Midgan Separatist” which based on looking the militant notions of Midgan power and Midgan identity, the slogans of self-esteem boosting words “I am proud to be a Midgan” “Midgan is a tribe” “Midgan is a beautiful”  “I am Midgan so what?” “Midgan is native of Boonta (Punt) the whole Somalia”. Both of these ideologies are not parallels because the Midgans integrationist who are seeking for total assimilation with Somali major tribes have no programs neither philosophy and not interesting in maintaining of Midgan identity not even having alternative name, only want to escape the prison of Midgan and to melt the Somali tribes for demanding total amalgamation of Somali mainstream only but part of Midgans would also not their own Midgan identity in the future such denial is seen as a shameful act even by those for whom their Midgan identity has little attraction. Midgans entire way of life is determined by Midganess, we learned that word Midgan is the unappreciated word both of opposing views of Midgans. It is insult, which cannot be loved, it is killing tool of Midgan’s self-esteem, it is most hated, and most despised, most unwanted word in the  Somali communicational language.“ Midgan” a word that was taken from the hell” said, an old Midgan man. At the same time, Midgan Separatists do not seek the assimilation, not refused completely but voluntary assimilations are needed from Somali tribes into the larger community because they convinced themselves as impossible without having identity where as some of Midgan integrationists seek assimilation of begging to the all Somali tribes, because they see that only marriage assimilation can solve the prejudice and discrimination toward against Midgan. Midgan Separatists says “Marriage will decrease the hostility but will not eliminate, yet without assimilation and their separate identity as “Midgans” can maintain in a hostile environment and discriminations both concluded “We love Somali people but they hate us, we do not hate them because we want to become part of them but are they accepting us and how can they love us?”

But Midgan Separatist is saying, “Do you have for me, any another better name than Midgan?”, I know you end up feeling pain, angry, humiliated , fear, and confusion whenever you hear this name “Midgan” from someone else you feel deep heated temper. your family always tries to hide their tribe from Somalis as criminals and they claim other tribes that they are not belong to that is what created smoky gossip and abusive treatment. Being Midgan may be is crime in your mental thinking, it is not at all, but being well claimed other tribes’ name does not prevent you from being hassled and sensitively oppression. The rain beats a leopard's skin, but it does not wash out the spots. Midgan proverb says “Falaari Gil gilasho kaamama harto” When you heard someone saying the word Midgan, You are bothered, but you smile sweetly or freeze up, either you change the subject or you go to the Bathroom in order to escape the burning question or do nothing, smiling outside but cursing himself inside, because first place, you did not claim who you are. You are between the devil and the deep blue sea. You did not claim that you are from Midgans so you could not protect the behalf of your name at all. You are being psychologically dead. For the results of your voluntary made you inferior because of your consent. We cannot change anything by claiming other tribe’s name and denying our real tribal name. He who conceals his disease cannot expect to be cured, beside that, there is Darood, Hawiye, Isaaq, Dir all they are separate tribes but equal why not Midgans”.

Midgan integrationist has no answer, he says “ I do not know”  In fact, those Midgans who deny their group membership in every day are looking for assimilation and desire to hang down their Midgan identity as fast as they can also they used any possible theory to connect their origins to  trace their lineage to the Darood or Isaaq, Dir this “genealogical snobbery” those Midgans wish that this will provide them a guarantee of   Somaliness and myths that can produce assimilation with dominant groups but later they may feel like traitor to his Midgan identity when the dominant group refused to accept for the their assimilations or membership, then now, those Midgans have no choice but to come back where they left first time “ Midgan Membership” other they may not come back because they reached point of no return because of fear of shame, so they may die that belief of pretending and block their subconscious mind  and they are ignorant of their own religion, their claim must be questioned according to the prophet (s.a.w) said; “He who relates himself to a man other his father, knowing that he is not his father, Paradise will be prohibited to him”. (Reported by Muslim).This hadith can used both Somalis who claiming that they Arabs and Midgans who are claiming other tribes that they are not related as origin. Another hadith said, the prophet (s.a.w) said; “Beware of suspicion because it is the falsest talk”(Reported by Bukhari) The prophet (s.a.w) “He who falsely relates himself to a man other than his father or to a family other than his family is cursed by God, angles, and all people. On the Day of judgment, God will accept from him neither repentance nor ransom” (Reported by Muslim).

Others they may repent or come back to their Midganness and they felt guilty and apologized with reasoning their actions about not identifying himself as Midgan first place and using “sheegad status” as client. After that, this Midgan may have courage to confront dominant groups with fact of his Midgan identity. But Midgan integrationist finds himself or her self rejected and attacked on all sides, so he can not fight on equal terms, he is forced to listen to the majority group such as Darood and Hawiye their prejudice and submit to their abuse as  “Midgans” so many Midgan integrationist accepted their position and struggle simply to survive  using “ Sheegad status” and still want that  which means denial of Midgan membership or self hate of Midgan also Midgans integrationist narrated rebellion and aggression would certainly be met by fierce punishment, so more passive is compulsory and needed like the situation of survival as temporary. However, this situation can be ascribes as volunteer submission in term of Midgan integrationists are emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually battered to the point that they begin to actually believe that their oppression is deserved or may blamed their past fathers who resisted the oppression in the past also stigmatized people are those marked  “ Midgans” as bad, unworthy, and polluted because of the tribe that they belong without any other reasons, so they presumed to the lack of the values the Somali culture holds dear, it is the nature of stigmatized people are likely to be seen as problem and having problems, often seen as they are responsible their past problems this is the myth of culture that  had been  constructed previously  as reality but legend, so in this case,  they are seen as nothing but the problem and prisoners of Somali culture.

So it is clear that the denial of Midgan identity cannot be permanent; it is opportunistic and temporary as you can see all the accounts. This case of self-hate is the Midgan who is victim instead of pretending to agree with dominating group that Midgans are inferior actually does agree with them and sees his own group through their eyes. You may see Midgan who is abusing or insulting another Midgan and saying, “You are Midgan” this process, the Midgan is trying to assimilate with Somali major tribes and loose himself totally in the dominant group as soon enough as his level of possession, customs, and speech makes him indistinguishable from the majority tribes who are Darood or Isaaq or Hawiye. This Midgan sometimes may blame his problem some class of Midgans such Tumaal, or Madhiban because they are visible and their work can be seen in the streets of every region in Somalia such as shoes making and iron smelting or he may hate his relatives because they told other people, the Ajji that he is their brother, uncle, or relative, So since, he can not escape his own group, thus in the real sense, he hates himself and part of his own family.  This has led him self-destruction and self-hate because of his tribe, people used to as an excuse to mistreat him. So, life is going to be hard when you are Midgan who is hiding in Somalia, it seems that his tribe is the reason and Midgan heritage is the cause of the woe. Although, my research about Midgans in Somalia shows that identification with oppressors who are dominant group of Somalia such Darood or Hawiye is a form of adjustments that came only when all other methods of ego defense has failed in during last nine centuries but my question is how these minorities can gain fame and respect among the society, while their educators and their wealth people are behind the mirror? At the same time, How can you get your rights when you do not want to claim who you are?!!! 

Now, there are many questions that burning the minds of young Midgan educated who live inside Somalia and outside. Why Some Midgans seek to change the name Midgan? The name Midgan is a fine phonetically,  in English is pronounced (Meat-Gun)  Etymologically, the word Midgan is derived from two words which is Somali language originally and compounded as an adjective and verb which is translated as "Mid= One and Go=died"‘(Midgan) complete meaning in English "One passed away”  Another meaning says, The word “Midgaan” derived from the root of Midigayn or Madgin which means separating or sorting out the skin of the Animal from its hairy or furry.  This kind of work is performed by the hands. So the word Magdin is nothing more than movement and action that related the work of Midgans for these reasons the people who perform this work of leather-dressing, shoemakers, metal workers, and hunters. On the other meaning, the-“ Midig” in Somali language is a one right hand which is Singular and It is plural of two hands are “Midgo” which means two right hands in Somali language. Consequently, Midgans have trained by themselves to work both of their hands in order to speed up their work performances and quality of their skills. Not last but least, the word Midgan has another meaning “Mid-Gan” is “One who shots” the Gunshots or Arrow shots” also this is related to their work which is hunting that Somalis call “Hargaanti” Hunter. Another meaning evidentially, the words (Punt) or Boonta, Midgan, Gabooye and Sab are connected and related linguistically, historically and socially status. According to these meaning the name Midgan is much better and more logical than other Somali names. Of course, it is historically accurate as a “Native” of Somalia. Non ever other Somali tribe name historically accurate than Midgan name, whose meaning related his work also neither “Darood”, “Hawiye”, “Isaaq”, nor “Rahanweyn”, or “Dir”, all these names were all the first nicknames or came accidentally but name Midgan was originated from Boonta (Punt) society also unknown history is always suspected and usually opposed, without any other reason but because it was not already common.

I agree with the African American ideologist W. E. B. Dubois who said, “Names are only conventional signs for identifying things…… the reality that counts. If a thing is despised, either because of ignorance or because it is despicable, you will not alter matters by changing its name. If the men despise Negroes, they will not despise them less if the Negroes are called “Colored” or “Afro-Americans”. ………Names are not merely matter of thought and reason; they are growth and habits………..and neither anger nor wailing nor tears can or will change the name until the name-habits changes”

Suppose now we could change the name of Midgan, suppose we arose tomorrow morning and lo! Instead of being “Midgan”, all the Somali tribes called us “Darood or Dir” or Hawiye, suppose now Somali Major Tribes have accepted you to marry their daughters, Can marriage of Ajji would bring you nobility? Do you think this would make a massive and earth-shattering difference to you and me? Would the Midgan problems economically, educationally, socially, culturally, and politically be unexpectedly settled or eternally disappeared the Midgan identity? You must be in a day dreaming, historically, look at  other Somali tribes, all Somalis in every region have managed to assimilate with marriage and pass themselves off as members of other ethnic groups by marriage relationship but Have you ever seen a Darood person who became Isaaq because of marriage or Dir person who became hawiye because of Marriage. What do you think that Midgan would be?  Then think about Midgan?  You can have relationship with whoever you wish but all those factors can not change any thing about your Midganness. “Leave it or hate, or love it that your name”

Midgan Separatists are logic, realistic, honest and they are saying “Midgans in Somalia are not interesting in only marrying a Somali noble woman neither changing their tribe name nor becoming and merging another tribe but they are asking for  all Somali tribes to respect us “We, members of Somali Minority Groups (Midgan, Tumal, Yibir, and others) demand our rights as human beings: We need Social identity, Moral Equality, Social Equality, Legal Equality, and Political Equality; we demand our right for tribal identity. We demand our right for political participation and voice, we demand our right to be treated as equals and with justice, we demand our right to marry any consenting Somali woman. We demand our right to participate and contribute in Somali Peace Process. We demand our right to be free from discrimination in our own country. We demand our right to occupy positions of authority and responsibility in our own Country, We demand education and resources in our own country, we demand to occupy land in our own country, we demand Social respect of our technical skills. Treat us as human being; accept us for who we are. Accept or reject us based on our qualifications when it comes employment not the tribe of my family. Judge me on the basis of what I have done or performed not on basis of what tribe I am from.”

Silent is a form of death, we are aggressively exposing the history of Somali major tribes has done to ruin the dignity of Midgans in everywhere in the world. We have convinced by ourselves that everyone who is unpleasant our Mission must be our enemy up till now, the Somali social reality cannot be solved until we all have the right to say openly and honestly what is in our minds and apply our rights through non-violence means, there fore, speaking out is the primary duty of every freedom fighter,  raising our voice separately and collectively made many  Somali intellectuals to question, Somali traditional law also motionless we see an oppression in every  Somali actions and attitudes, we hear the prejudice in  the Somali spoken language, we tasted segregation in our own land, we smell the injustice and denial of our rights  in every Somali conferences and meetings.  Historically, the discrimination has been going for so long and still the Somali actions and attitudes are not being changed yet, we can not veil our feelings but those Midgans who are hiding what they felt in order to fit in Somaliness and give pleasure to the Somali major tribes. They must be wrong. The discrimination is visible and its streams are spreading out all Somali nerves, it is neither useful to the Somalis nor to the minorities because it is destructive socially and morally, for us as separatist we can not be silent, we can not tolerate any more, we can not sit down and wait some other who destroyed themselves to solve this tragedy. When we are a part of the problem, then we must be part of the solution.

Midgan Separatist or Somali United Minority is nothing more than an organized struggle which is attempting to affirm their own place in the Somali history and correct the really history of Boonta/Midgan/Gabooye; it seeks equality, humanity dignity, Justice, democracy, freedom of identity, freedom of marriage, freedom of speech, freedom of land ownership with coexistence other Somalis with peace and brotherhood. It is not directed against the masses of particular tribe, nation, organization, nor against individuals but against any idea or action that undermine or trying to conceal their agony or against toward Somali Minorities at large. Somali Midgan Separatist is an organization inspired by Somali Minority values that works through a program of research, education, advocacy and community service to improve the quality of life for Minorities in Horn of Africa, specially, Youth, women, children, families, elders and strives to ensure individual rights and freedoms for all Somali citizens. Somali Midgan Separatist needs from all Somali tribes to end the nine hundred years old of segregation and sanction that have been tolerated by our people.

 

By Ali-Azhar, BA.

                                                                                     

A HISTORY OF MIDGAN
The silent segregation in Somalia
Author
:-Ahmed M. Keynan "Ali-Azhar"
Copyright: Ahmed M. Keynan "Ali-Azhar"
Dedication: All Somali Minorities who suffered.
Date: November 12, 2000.