“We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power towards good ends.”
Mary McLeod Bethune
When we were young, we were taught to respect our elders. We looked upon them with exalted admiration and appreciation. Whoever they were, wherever they came from or whatever clan they hailed from, we were expected to treat them with utmost respect. We were admonished for calling them by their own name. By Lord; we received rigorous reprimands for not emptying our seats for them when they arrived. We were expected to display a decent decorum at all times.
Could these elders whom we’ve grown to fear and, at the same time, admire so much be the cause of our destruction, one would ask. But these elders, still remarkably agile despite senility and strenuous predicaments, are versed in poetry and recite it with extreme vitality, enriched with cunning dexterity and clever choice of words. And they are scandalmongers; their days spent on frivolous jokes and heated feuds between clans, by the tip of their tongue! With their enticing and scintillating poems, they infest the minds of susceptible and oblivious adolescents. Through this sham poetry and witty repartee, they earn a name only one could yearn; held in high veneration, whilst heaps of praises are hurled their way. There is, however, pathos in their false pretence and sham poetry as they narrate melancholic tales of yesteryear to stir up emotions and provoke the psyche of the unsuspecting folks. What a Travesty! What a travesty!
The rest of the elders, not involved in the political disarray, live beyond care for today. They dread the day that follows, and after years of endurance and fortitude, their dismal faces radiate no more. They lay down in the dumps, desolate, any trace of anticipation they had had evaporated. Days they spend wandering aimlessly with one thing on their mind – Qat – and a bottle of water to quench their thirst. The same routine is exercised cyclically without cessation.
Thanks to the benevolent Somali women. The once social nonentities are now the pride and joy. Their homes, full of waifs and strays, serve as sanctuaries for the poor and dispossessed. Relentlessly they support young and old, rationing the supplies if need be. Thanks to their unremittingly labours, many now survive. From the break of dawn they work diligently supporting entire lineages by the sweat of their brows; selling with much dexterity anything they could find. By night they take a breather, and demurely await their husband’s arrival just to get hauled over the coals for the slightest inaccuracy. Oh! How magnanimous they are to put up with their ne’er-do-well husbands!
It’s quite disheartening how the Qabiil Syndrome has got us by the short and curlies and with majority of the population in Somalia being illiterate, there is little to expect of them. So, we have the Somalis in Diaspora who, regrettably, have no nostalgic sentiments. “Somalia can never be” they proclaim wistfully and leave her to lament her sorry states alone! They expect their seniors back home to amend the state of affairs and resolve their issues. With the waning distance, they lose touch with every intrinsic quality, faith and culture they had while the Nomads in Somalia turn a sympathetic eye towards the ones in Western countries “Qurbaha” and plead for them to save them from the self-destruction. Their youth spent on selfish desires, deludes them from reality and cocoons them from unpleasant imagery. There they dwell despondently with the notion that a better future lies ahead of them. They laze and lounge, graze (Qat) and grouch constantly. Their families lost amidst all this upheaval and perplexity, and then they wonder why even their partners often abscond from them!
What our elders have yet to learn is that wars have no happy endings; always cruel and catastrophic. Whether a winner or a loser, expect no glad tidings, no immortal kisses, no heaps of welcomes await you! Ileen Odayaashu waxaysan garaneyn, Dagaal wiil kuma dhashee, wiil baa ku dhinta!
As for the warlords, despair not, Somaliyeey, despair not! Tyrants and murderers always fall; and so they will!