I especially like this part.
Brain harvesting versus harboring tribal hatred<O:p< p O:p </O:p
<O:p< p O:p Youth of my people, as you can see the world as your fathers knew it has changed; technological explosions of volcanic proportions have created new realities, new cultures and new societies. Anyone who denies swimming with the flow or sits on the sidelines will be either crushed by the waves or left to rot on the banks. The pastoral life of your forefathers that was based on herding livestock, small subsistence farming and a primitive culture of small groups of family bloodlines huddling together against perceived enemies is no more sustainable and may soon disappear as the urbanization advances consuming all available land for modernized agriculture and industrialization while climate change takes its toll as well.<O:p< font O:p
The most precious asset that you have in today’s world is indeed your brain. I reflected on this in my poem DAWAN which I wrote on 4th November 1998 on the inauguration
“…Waxa maanta dunidani
La isku daba furaayaa
Dirirtuna ka joogtaa
Waa maadh dahsoonoon
Daymo lagu arkayn iyo
Dal waliba aqoon iyo
Inta uu garaad da’o…” (Dawan, November 4, 1998)
Yes, this is what you have to invest in and harvest, not rearing camels in barren lands or continuing internecine and outdated clan wars. That was the life of yester years, the life of your nomad forefathers. That does not mean that you cannot go back to the countryside and modernize the way the nomad and farming communities live, but to do so you must first gain education and shape your destiny not only with the aim of getting more income but also by shaping and advancing your thinking and your culture.
As the Somali adage says: “Dhar magaalo sida loo xidhaa way dhib yartahay, dhal magaalo sida loo noqdaase way adag tahay.” (It is easy to dress like city people, but it is difficult to get the character and values of city people – meaning civility)”.
If you think that by going to school, living in a city and dressing like city people you can become a civilized person think again. Education should change your mental attitude, your philosophy of life and should open up your mind to evaluate issues on their moral grounds and not on inherited cultural and tribal mindsets. Baffled by why Somalis do not learn from their interactions with other cultures, Jama Duale, a poet whose reflections I admire, not only comes to the same conclusion but also satirizes about the futility of the Somali claim of brainstorming through Qat sessions in the following lines of a poem he wrote in the 1950s:
“…Maraakiibta way raacayeen, reer masar ahayde
Mijilisyada way garanayaan, laga macaashaaye
Maroongigana way daaqaayaan, maalin iyo layle
Mirqaankeeedu Soomaali sow, meela uma sheego…”
There is a simple test to do to assess whether education has changed you or not. Your nomad cousin comes to you crying and tells you that the clan’s homestead has been attacked by enemies who just happened to be your mother’s brothers. What will you do? I say this because how you react to this issue will determine whether your education has changed you and made you a better person or whether your brain remains fossilized in old times. If you would rather jump to your gun and follow your illiterate nomad cousin to shoot the hell out of his enemies, in this case your maternal uncles, instead of telling him to go to the authorities and file a case, then you should know that you are only dressed like city people and your education has failed to change you and make you a law abiding citizen. Unfortunately, most of us, Somalis, are so imbibed with the culture of revenge and empty pride that the passion for Tollaayey takes the best of us and we react impulsively to the tribal call.
Tollaayda qabiilku , Maxay dad qareen ah, Xumaan qabasiisay (My poem Qiiro, December 10,1984.)
Youth of my people, if you look at the revenge-based Tollaayey culture that many of us are so beholden to and defend with pride; you will see that there is indeed no pride in it. What pride is there in killing your maternal uncles? What pride is there in killing of any human being at all, let alone a close relative? Have you ever stopped to ask yourself since when did your paternal ancestry become more sacred than your maternal one; since when did your father become more sacred to you than your mother to the point that you can easily kill your mother’s brother but defend your father’s brother to death.
Youth of my nation, you are the cyber generation and the world is your oyster, it will be unfortunate if you limit your ambitions, your careers, your future and your innovation capacity to the clan horizon. Why should you insult your intelligence by narrowing your opportunities while technologies invented by your peers around the world are broadening your horizon and proving to you that there are no barriers to the outreach of the human mind? You do not need to shorten your lives on fighting for clan farms; camels or water wells when all you need to own is a computer to unleash your creative abilities. Why do you allow yourself to fall into the tribal vortex that sucks you to the bottom, dehumanizes your personality and reduces you to your basic animal instincts of revenge and bloodletting? Think about how you can connect half a billion people around the world, break all barriers of culture, time and distance, and create your cyber community like Mark Zuckerberg instead of succumbing to age-old traditions and spending your energy and your talents on scheming how to kill your uncles.