NEWS 2004



August 31, 2004

Who needs government more? Men or Women?

By Safi Abdi



Assalaamu alaikum!

Seeing how Somali women suffered following the destruction of their nation, I honestly believed, to function at all, a woman needed stability and governance more than her male counterpart. Fourteen years of instability have proved me wrong. Going by the sheer strength Somali women displayed as they struggled to keep the family together, fed the household and devoted themselves to their kith and kin have shown the world that the Somali woman is a much stronger person today. She proved her mettle, that she can stand her ground and take care of her own, with or without government.

Unfortunately, her male counterpart veered towards a less admirable tendency. With the break-up of the Somali nation, we saw Somali men buckle under the pressure. While women proved to the world they can survive by being gentle and co-operative, the men seem to thrive on the opposite. Itís as though they get a kick out of destroying themselves.

Except for the few actors on stage, the Somali conflict has reduced the bulk of Somali men into children: My clan is better than yours. My warlord is better than yours. My this. My that. Blah blah blah. The way I see it, there seems to be a lack of confidence all around, a lack of confidence in Somali menís ability to steer themselves away from the mess they created with their own hands. Many of them canít even take a well-meaning admonition. It is apparent from the way they jump at each otherís throats that the conflict has not spared even their sense of humor. This is a Somali phenomenon and is not confined to any one single clan. All the tribes are suffering from this complex. And the sooner the Somali male looked at himself in the mirror the better for the Somali nation; and the quicker he re-joined the world scene.

While women kept busy nurturing the family, going about their business quietly, the men excelled each other in killing their time.
Like tribalism and guns, Qaat is yet another culprit that has stolen menís hearts full time; the sad effects of Qaat are there for all to see. Time, wealth, dignity, all is lost to Qaat. Somalis used to pride themselves on their good looks, thanks to Qaat that too seems to be soon disappearing from our men. Like all drug users these people have neither the time nor the inclination to look good. This is a serious problem and a disgrace to the Somali nation. Muslims are supposed to make good use of their time and they should look good and be well-kept at all times. Teeth, hair, cloth, body, nails, every part of the Muslim human body is important. Qaat spoils the body as much as it spoils the brain. A brainless person with a wasting body is a walking dead. By using Qaat as a means of escape (from problems they should be solving) Somali men are killing their conscience and dulling their brains. And except for the few non users, most Somali men canít even sit long enough to have proper lunch with their families. There is also the daily wear and tear to gums and teeth. A good dentist would have a heart attack if he came within walking distance of a Qaat chewing manís mouth.

While Somali womenís hair turned white from worry (donít be fooled by the henna camouflage) Somali men seem like theyíre enjoying life to the full. They crowd tea houses, coffee places, or wherever they can put feetÖThe word is out that UAE government is keeping a close eye on Somali menís gatherings in the Dubai Souq area. Some have been dragged away by the police. Our men have created colonies of human pyramids in the narrow streets standing in threes or fours talking themselves hoarse. Their loud voices can be heard fifty meters away. Theyíve also this funny habit of staring at women shoppers; a rather un-Islamic thing to do. Muslim men are supposed to lower their voices and gaze. Telling these guys to stay home with their wives and children is like telling Sharon to stop building on stolen land. Some of these guys canít even tell who is who of their flesh and blood. But you will bet they know the names of each and every clansman.

Even though they are responsible for the anarchy and desolation that engulfed our nation, Somali men still wandering in mind. They can't understand that they are men and that a whole nation is waiting for their return. It is therefore in their best interest to come down to earth and pray for and be part of a viable State where all Somalis should enjoy freedom and healthy living. Somali men need guidance and skills to survive in the real world, and they wonít get that until they laid down their arms and picked up books. As it is, life in Somalia is a nightmare for most people today, thanks to our men. Men need to get off the street, go back to work, sit in classrooms and do what normal men should be doing for their nation and families. Somali children need their fathers to accompany them to the playgrounds.

Dear readers, Iíve touched on only a few areas that need our attention. There is much more where that came from. The problem we Somalis have isnít just the warlords, we need to pass the word out, we need to sensitize Somali men the need they have for governance and statehood. Somali men have become the butt of ridicule the world over. Should men not brighten up soon Somali women might just give up on their poor cousins. As it is the women have developed a mechanism for survival and they have the strength to sustain it. The great need Somali men have for governance can not be exaggerated.

Safi Abdi