Forcing unity isn’t a good ideaSomaliland wants to live in peace again [Archives:2004/786/Opinion]

November 1 2004

By Ibrahim Ishal
[email protected]
For The Yemen Times

Somaliland has been once a peaceful country before unity with the south, and has enjoyed a unique character as an individual state for centuries. It is rather important to mention that Somaliland people have their own characteristics and identity, and wish to maintain it peacefully.
The recent statement by the British Minister for African affairs, Mr Chris Mullin saying that Somaliland will not be forgotten is indeed quite refreshing and promising for Somaliland people in the country and abroad. His address to the two houses of Somaliland Parliament, Guurti and Wakiiladda last week, was the first of a British Minister to be given in Somaliland; and assured Somaliland people that the aim of his visit was to reassure the Somaliland people that whatever the outcome of Mbaghati Conference, Somaliland will not be left alone facing the possibility of being pushed against its will, into a forced marriage with the South”.
I am convinced that this step will help the world realize that no unity can be achieved against the will of the peoples of the two countries. After all, unity should be a means to achieve a better future for both countries, but if it is seen as an obstacle to a peaceful future, it is wiser not to have it at all.
Ironically, Yemen's experience is quite similar in that the people of the country where the ones who decided whether their countries should be united or not. The blessed unity of former South and North Yemen was achieved because both the people former north and south republics longed to unify and wanted it with their hearts and souls.
This is in my opinion a validation for our cause because such a strong belief in Yemenis did not materialize in Somaliland and Somalia because of several reasons. So the example of Yemen is in fact another evidence that unity cannot be achieved unless the peoples of the two uniting countries want it to happen. That is why Yemen's unity was a success, and it is the same reason why Somaliland's status as an independent state is essential.
The international community is slowly realizing that independence of Somaliland is going to have better results on the future of both Somaliland and Somalia because it would maintain the peace of mind of Somaliland people, who are now starting to build their nation, which is by far much more peaceful and well-established than used to be.
Today, we are witnessing a new beginning for a future of a state that would serve as a positive contributor to the development of Africa as a whole, and I believe Ministers around the world, should indeed take Mr. Mullin as an example to try to make Somaliland people convinced that their future is in their hand, and that their future is God willing, prosperous.