August 31, 2004
Who needs government more? Men or Women?
By Safi Abdi
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
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.