Reflections of Midgan

by Rhoda A. Rageh

Recently many intellectuals from somaliland seem to have recognized the need to correct some of the enduring ills of our society especially on the issue of the gabooye community. However, as the discourse rages from shifting blame and building awareness of "yassid" to weak promises of support for the cause of the gabooye community, and manifestoes from them suggesting proper political participation, I deliberate on the problem itself and wonder if there is actually an issue to support. Anyone who succeeds in identifying the problem has to at least begin by putting his own bigotry aside before he or she attempts to right the wrongs of this baseless misconception. We have degraded a vital organ of our society, have deformed its vitality and have subjected a group of people who has willfully and diligently participated in every level of building our society to be treated with serious discrimination. Our collective behavior calls for a more serious reflection than overdressed speeches and entertainment programs.

What basis do we discriminate against them? Where do our differences lay and how important or even true are these legendary differences? I have heard many implausible legends justifying why we had or should eschew them. Yet the worst I have encountered is the ugliest truth that glares shamelessly at every intelligent person: our collective punishment exacted on the group and the cruelty heaped upon anyone who has crossed this artificial barrier. Our prejudice against them is neither racial nor religious, but a useless defense to cover the harassment of people which are founded on fanciful notions of clan superiority. The blight is not limited to how we have isolated them but our inability to recognize and overcome uncritical myth that have had serious consequences. We were and perhaps still are inept to see how our own fiction has trapped our minds without ever pondering on the effects it had on others. Our actions have been a constant tragedy for some of our citizens but the real tragedy is our inability to rise above our own fabrication.

If we have now gained the genuine conscience, the road out of our inadequacies should begin with personal reflection. Anyone who is genuinely willing to disassemble this nonsense should exercise individual freedom to cross the clan barrier. The easiest and quickest way to remove this label is by practicing what we preach: marry from them and allow our family members to marry from them without punishment. Our society knows how destructive the very few inter-clan marriages were. The problem is not to support a cause that doesn't exist. It is to bluff a useless discrimination. The gabooye community, as it call itself in this vast pool of clan society, suffers from none other than the label we placed on it. Our mythology holds no truth; but to unravel it needs serious minded intellectuals who should act upon their convictions. Our bigotry goes against our Islamic teachings, we should eliminate it by modeling freedom for those chained by prejudice. This will put an end to it. We do not need cloaks of political correctness but the genuine desire should be to lead our minds and others from darkness to light. Political participation should not be requested by manifestoes but should be guaranteed and welcomed as citizenship right. What is there other than to look inward into our own deficiencies that can solve this problem?

Rhoda A. Rageh