Saturday, April 08, 2006

Professor Ali Mazrui urges modification of Somaliland's name to "Somalistan

HARGEISA, 6 April 2006--Professor Ali Mazrui, the famous African historian and eminent political thinker, asserted Somaliland's right for recognition and urged Somalilanders to intensify their lobbying in Commonwealth countries . He made these remarks during a dinner hosted in his honor by President Dahir Rayaale Kahin.

For his part, President Rayaale questioned the logic of people calling Somaliland and Somalia to remain united on the basis of common language, culture and religion. "Well, we know that Arabs too share the same and yet they are separate Sovereign states," he said.

Professor A.Mazrui, an admirer of Somaliland's unique model of traditional and modern democracy, called upon Somalilanders to promote their cause in Commonwealth countries.
In a speech to the two houses of parliament on 22 March, Professor Mazrui said: " I think if Somaliland lobbied enough in African and black countries of the Commonwealth who constitute almost half of the group's membership, Somaliland would stand a better chance of penetrating this club than the African Union at this stage."

In another lecture at Hargeisa University, Professor Mazrui spoke about various topics such as African issues, democracy, globalization, modernity, and clash of civilizations. A rare occasion for Hargeisa University, the lecture hall was packed with students, faculty members and scores of other participants.

Answering students' questions about Samuel P. Huntington's theory on Clash of Civilizations and its relevance to Africa, Professor Mazrui said that the central theme of Huntington's theory was that now the cold war had ended, future conflicts would be less and less between states and collusions of ideology would be more between civilizations and cultures. "I asked Huntington," said Professor Mazrui, " Sam where have you been? Clashes between Civilizations have been going on for 500 years and the main aggressor has been the West.".

Professor Mazrui had a around table discussion with prominent Somalilanders at Mansoor Hotel on Thursday where he raised again the growing role of Somaliland in the democratic process of Africa. He underlined that Somaliland's unique model of reconciliation and state-building based on both traditional and modern systems deserved more attention from the African and international community. On the same night, the Professor had a dinner with members of the civil society in Ambassador hotel.

On Friday, Professor Mazrui left for Berbera and visited the historical sites there including the old Mosque and the Berbera Water supply built by Turks during the Ottoman Empire. He also visited the important historical sites of CEEL-GEEL. On Saturday evening, the Professor flew from Egal International Airport back to United States via Addis Ababa. In a press conference before his departure, Professor Mazrui expressed his gratitude for the warm hospitality accorded him during his stay in Somaliland.

Commenting on the name confusion between Somaliland and Somalia, Professor Mazrui said: "You may consider modifying your name like Somalistan, which has similar ending like those of other Islamic countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan etc." Professor Ali Mazrui has a huge influence and connections not only in the academic world but also on policymakers in the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Africa. He was chosen by Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, as an Icon of the Twentieth Century. Somalilanders, therefore, hope his visit and the positive remarks he made about Somaliland would enhance their country's quest for recognition.

Professor Mazrui arrived in Somaliland on an official visit on Tuesday, 21st March 2006. Meeting him at Hargeisa Egal International Airport were Information Minister Abdilllahi Mohamed Duale, Foreign Minister Edna Adam Ismail, Finance Minister Hussein Ali Duale and Culture and Tourism Minister Osman Ali Bile. Also present at the airport were Dr M. Rashid Sh.Hassan, the Director of African Renaissance Center for Social Science Research Media and Development (Arecsmed), Mohamed Said Gees, the Director of Academy of Peace and Development, Abdi Yousef Duale (Boobe), the Coordinator of the Academy of Peace and Development, Adam Mouse Jibril, the Representative of Sub Sahara, and other representatives of the Academic Institutions and Civil Societies.

Professor Mazrui had the first taste of Somaliland culture at the airport where a group of young Somaliland artists greeted him with traditional songs and folklore dance.

By Dr. Mohamed–Rashid Sheikh Hassan

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