Youth and Socio-cultural revival indispensable to progress: An opinion in the wake of Mogadishu Book Fair 2018.



In the wake of the call to progress and development, Somalis have something to celebrate in this week. The opening of public libraries in Garboharey and Adado towns, the establishment of the National Economic Council and the presentation of the Mogadishu Book Fair 2018 which was concluded today by H.E Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre.

In the dire necessity to transform the society from illiteracy to literacy, from wars and fighting to education and creativity, from oral to written, Somalis in particular the scholars have shown the world where Somalia is heading. The young courageous, determined, dedicated authors have explicitly portrayed the future of Somali youths. A remarkably distinct ideas and thoughts to guide and pave the way for better Somalia shared with the participants.

Talented, progressive, and creative ideas of the indigenous Somalis in almost all the regions of the country emerged. These writers did not confine themselves to one topic but rather varied. Books on socio-cultural stability, socio-economic equity and fairness and others on political aspects were shared with the audience. In all these books, the authors focused on one of the main developmental aspect “Fairness and Equity”. Is it reading and writing that ensures fairness and equity? Is it socio-cultural values? Is it a strong military? Is it economic progess? Where does development start? What aspect of development should we envisage? These are the many questions every Somali is thinking about.

In this article, I will elaborate on some simple steps to aid in the development we are seeking. Spiritual development is as vital as material accumulation in which neither of them or either one of them is a hindrance and backwardness to the progress we are seeking. Spiritual development ensures that society observes and maintains the socio-cultural values and norms. It makes them abstain in engaging self-interest economic activity that could affect others or jeopardize the economy. Conspicuous consumption is therefore hindrance and could create socio-political instability. In this regard, purchase of luxurious goods could be prohibited if it affects the economy. Lifestyle of the affluent west prohibited. High marriage cost banned. And many others that could affect the society.

Material development is the increase in the gross domestic product of the country. Somalia has a rich fertile land that could be sufficient to the whole Somalis. Unfortunately, many of our people underestimate agriculture especially farming. To revive Somalia’s export market, motivated and dedicated Somali youths should create programs that influence and persuade people to engage in farming, fishing and livestock. Education a key element in development should be easily available. Trainings could be provided to the farmers, and other investors. Free primary education is also among the areas to be given attention to.

All of the stated developmental programs could not be implemented and would not be suitable if some pre-requisite conditions are not met. The mindset of the larger society should be shaped in such away that the society has faith in their leadership. Today, if you ask a Somali citizen, would you ensure fairness and equity if you assume office today? He/she will automatically reply yes. Let’s reverse the question. Do you think those who are at the office are acting fairly and equally? Again automatically they will reply No! So what is the difference between you and the other person. Everyone believes that he/she can only act fairly. Induce others so that they act like you if you are truly fair. Lead them to the right values and morals. In reality, we normalize every evil till it seemed good. Morality is the first condition for a development. To aim higher living of standard, aim higher standard of morals. Know that everyone is accountable and responsible. Enjoin good and prohibit evil. Somalis have rich culture based on the Islamic doctrine of oneness (tawhiid), Just (Adalah) and Vicegerent (Khalifah). These are the major fundamental goals to govern every society.

The second most important is the financial system. To shorten the financial gap between the rich and the poor, Waqf(Donation) and Zakah should be established. Religious scholars could spearhead in the establishment of these two great social solidarity institutions. These two forgotten social security institutions have been and are the best to initiate and develop the economy.

In a nutshell, development does not just come and is not always dependent on the government but the systems and the worldview of the society. If the society is against its own natural resource, if the society thinks that it is a backwardness to engage in our rich natural resource like farming and fishing, if the society is reluctant to emerge out of the status quo, if the society priorities foreign cultures, then we will be in this circle.

Our development just needs a bit acceleration. Social activist, scholars and other advocates should sincerely play their role with or without the government. And hope in the near future a great transformation.

NB: I know this article does not cover the necessary details but a surface illustration of the desires burning within. Scholars are welcomed to rectify errors.

By Maalim Abdihakim Abdikadir


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