Somaliland: claiming our narratives

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People wave flags as soldiers and other military personnel of Somalia's breakaway territory of Somaliland march past during an Independence Day celebration parade in the capital, Hargeisa on May 18, 2016. MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
People wave flags as soldiers and other military personnel of Somalia's breakaway territory of Somaliland march past during an Independence Day celebration parade in the capital, Hargeisa on May 18, 2016. MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
By: Zahra Jbril
So, you have been seeing Somaliland has been trending social media and wondering who, where and what is #Somaliland; below is a short summary to get you up to date.
Somaliland encompasses the territory of the former British Protectorate (bordered by Djibouti to the north, Ethiopia to the south and west, and Puntland region of Somalia to the East) and is inhabited by an estimated 4.5 million people, who are known for their ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and religious homogeneity.
Somaliland survived the genocide perpetrated by the Somali Republic and the civil unrest before achieving the political stability, democracy and economic change that we are all so proud of. We have made great strides as a people and as a state. Under the rubble and remnants of aerial bombardment, in refugee camps, and on the brink of starvation, we returned and built a thriving nation. So we are loud, we are proud and we are telling our stories, we are asking in real life and on social media; do you know #Somaliland?
#TwitterSpace is our latest tool in globally telling our stories, there is a live #Somaliland twitter space around the clock, managed by amazing global nomads; nomads who fled the brutal dictatorship as early as the 1980s, others who stayed too long and barely escaped with their lives and nothing else, babies who were carried away on the backs of terrified mothers, and those of us born safely in the west to traumatized parents. Each of us shares stories; collectively we are looking back for answers, for healing and amplifying each other’s voice. We connect on a global scale, sharing ideas and stories. This is a revival of our history, stories, connections, and all that was lost, and we celebrate our wins, big and small.
On foreign policy, we are united and we speak out to the world with one voice, we are not seeking aid, we are looking for partners; partners in business and partners in values. This week, our President Muse Bihi Abdi is doing just that during his seven-day visit to the United States, leading an important delegation of businessmen, civil society and government officials. And we, the people of Somaliland everywhere are cheering them on, we are celebrating this moment, because we are constantly told that we do not exist, that we do not matter, but here is our president on an international stage, telling our story, sharing our achievements and connecting Somaliland to the world.
All we ask is that you listen, because although we are not internationally recognized; The Republic of Somaliland is a state with a written constitution approved through a popular referendum, with multiple party electoral system, an independent judiciary, a flag, an army, a police force, our currency, own passport and one of most sophisticated ID system world-wide and two international airports (one managed by UAE as a Military/cargo base), and Berbera port. We are demanding our rightful place in the world and we are gaining friends and support.
Tune in to the Heritage Foundation this evening at 6 pm East Africa Time either directly or through the #Somaliland Twitter space. Join us and please hear us, because we are sharing!

Heritage: The Great Promise of Closer U.S.-Somaliland Ties: An Address by H.E. Muse Bihi Abdi

 

 


About the Author
Zahra Jbril is a Somaliland citizen and a global nomad. You can reach her on twitter @ZahraNomadic

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the Horndiplomat editorial policy.
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