Dr. M. Omar Hashi
Below is what can be construed as the beginning of a “working inquiry” into the documented historical origins, effects and role of the legacy of colonialism’s aggression in central Somalia’s Tribal civil wars and in the Ethiopian Occupation’s present devolution into targeted genocide of Habr Gedir Hawiye people of Somalia by identifying factors connecting it to the machinations and activities of 15th,late 19th and 20th century European Italian and British Colonialists and their impact on Somalis’ political and socio-cultural “mores” of war, governance and peace- the strongly held norms or customs of a people.
500 Years: Instituting Corruption, Tribal Wars and Ethiopian Occupation
Italian( Southern Somalia, 1885-1942, 1950-1960) and British colonial rule( Northern Somalia 1884-1960), had no desire of introducing any durable or effective organizing political system for the local population unlike in their other neighboring colonies within East Africa such as Kenya, Uganda or even Eritrea Rather the two colonial powers sole legacy to their Somali territories in the area of political system was the cultivation of weak and corrupted individuals to serve as official so called Somali clan and tribal intercessors.
By refusing to deal with anyone but their hand picked tribal mercenary appointees and furthermore outlawing popularly endorsed genuine clan and tribal leaders of merit who refused to sell themselves to the colonization’s schemes, the European Colonialists ensured that only the very corrupt and mercenary would be the only “stakeholders” involved in the subsequent affairs of the nation. This policy has been maintained by the UN and other international neo-colonizing organizations/agencies up to today and represents the embryonic precursor to the criminal TFG warlords.
Any Somali clan or group of clans which dared refuse to toe the Colonization line and declined to sell themselves into this “political arrangement” were summarily “embargoed” and respective communities subjected to devastating “collective punishment”— starved into submission or at least superficial capitulation after bloody massacres. To those pliant Darood clans who collaborated with the colonization their prize was free reign to loot the resistant Habr Gedir clans or tribe’s property, lands and livestock which the Colonial forces dispossessed for them.
A good case in point is that of Central Somalia and the Habr Gedir from the 15th century to the present. Central Somalia— geographically encompassing a wide region from the Hiraan, Galguduud and Mudug provinces of Occupied Somalia as well as the adjoining territories in Eastern Ethiopia’s occupied Somali region is an area which is unique for being both the site of ongoing history— to be precise 500 years— of steady progression in European colonial and neo-colonial aggressions against its Hawiye Habr Gedir people on the one hand and also the focal epicenter in the war between the Hawiye and the Darood in Somalia. As well as, being the birthplace for countless liberation struggles against colonial and colonial-inspired aggression. Central Somalia and its resident Habr Gedir clans have continued to be the Achilles heel of all past and present failed attempts at prolonging such tyranny over Somalia.
We can with respect to the Europeans say it has been so since 1499 with the unannounced, unprovoked Portuguese naval and land-based incursions under Vasco Da Gama & Co. from Mogadishu all the way up into Xaraddhere and Hobyo port areas of Mudug. This early 15th century failed aggression at forced colonization has been continuously accelerating ever since with the early 20th century 1939-41 Italian wholesale massacres of Habr Gedir clansmen in conjunction with the rival Darood serving as proxies( the Marehan-Majartyn-Leelkase-Ogaden) in Beletweyn, Ceelbuur, Ceeldheere and Dhusamareb settlements; to the attempted British “ rural clan concentration” policies of displacement of Habr Gedir after the Second World War; to the Western-backed Siyad Barre( himself a Marehan Darood from Central Somalia) regime’s tribal inspired wars of mass displacement, pillage and economic starvation in the 1970s and 1980s( specifically in Cadaado, Dhusamareb, Gelinsoor, Galkacyo districts etc); to the American-driven bloodbath in the infamous Black Hawk Down episode in the 1990s; and finally to the specific Ethiopian Invasion- Occupation and Genocide targeting Habr Gedir today.
The common thread in these five centuries of tyrannical and Neo-Colonial foreign inspired violence has remarkably stayed the same in terms of the targeted population in question; as well as, the objective, namely subduing the resistant clans of Habr Gedir to terror.
The question is why the Habr Gedir? Surely, they are not the only ones to be disportionately targeted by foreign-inspired aggression, other Somali clans and tribes have also equally resisted and been equally victimized too?
The answer is: The Habr Gedir clans have been specifically targeted from amongst Somalis as whole which history clearly shows for reasons directly obvious only in hindsight, in that their independence, social and economic resourcefulness (See previous article on Ethiopian Occupation’s goal of subverting and Destroying Mogadishu’s Economy), and vocal oppositions to foreign-serving domination has been a deemed an endemic and unacceptable menace. A threat before to the cementation of Italian and British colonial rule and subsequently to the colonial inspired overlordship be it under the proxy Ethiopia today or under the puppet Darood Siyaad Bare dictatorship of the past.
In fact, the actual impetus for the ending of Phase 1 European “classical” Colonization in the 20th century stems from this area and people (for instance the two prominent figures in the decolonization itself Abdullahi Isa, chairman of the Somali Youth League and first Prime Minister of Somalia 1949-1960 was from the Habr Gedir-Sacad, as was Ali Shido Abdi one of the earliest members and chairman of the SYL, Habr Gedir Saleebaan).
Later, after enduring close to 21 years of Western-backed brutal tribal-based repression that claimed the lives of over 100 thousand civilians, the Habr Gedir played the central role in ending the Barre Dictatorship be it the prominent leaders who sacrificed their lives to those who were the actual fighting force which dislodged Barre from Southern and Central Somalia.
The perplexing American and Neo-Colonial powers sole targeting of Habr Gedir leader General Aydiid from amongst the other tribal belligerents and warlords in the 1990s can be only explained as an extension of this 500 years of open hostility against the Habr Gedir people.
Dictator Meles Zinawi’s current support in the 21st century for the Majartyn-Darood warlord Abdullahi Yusuf and his sidekick Ali Gheedi as a cover to destroy Mogadishu and public pronouncement of genocide that “Only the Ceyr sub-clan of Habr Gedir” opposes his occupation over Somalia is another vivid example of the deep rooted basis for this genocide in the enduring 5 centuries long aggression by neo-Colonial and neo-Colonial inspired violence which has now entered with a new player, but is in its 508th year. The struggle will never diminish and this newest attempt like the countless ones that came will without doubt— if history is any indication to go by— fail miserably to achieve anything at all, least the illusory subjugation of the Habr Gedir clans of Somalia, but it will only add to the poisoned legacy and failure which is colonialism in Somalia, in every and all manifestations to date.
Dr. M. Omar Hashi
A Poisoned Legacy, 500 years of Colonialist War in Central SomaliaAug 08, 2007 Sirdoon NetWork
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