Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Can all Somalis be proud of Mo Farah?

Can all Somalis be proud 
of Mo Farah?
By: Ahmed Ismail Yusuf

August 26, 2012

Mo Farah
Mo Farahs' two Olympic gold medal victory laps greeted with thunderous applause across the United Kingdom also united two unlikely people on two different continents: Somalia (former colony of Britain) on one side, and Britain (the colonizer) on the other.  These two nations joined for a joyous ride for the first time in the history of the two counties.  The world press has come along, too, yielding glowing, global headlines that most, if not all, donated due respect to Mo. Farah's place of birth, repeating that the newly crowned double Olympic gold medalist is of Somali origin.  Furthermore, the people of his motherland who are scattered around the globe and have been in search of a hero of their own, made sure to soak themselves with pride.   Just by listening to the Somali languages alone and scanning through radios like the BBC and voice of America news, one would treat himself /herself to delightful interviews from elated Somalis in Africa, Europe, America, Asia and Australia.  Possibly, the penguins were dancing in Antarctica, too, to a Somali tune! 

Mo farah was so showered with well-deserved accolades that he earned from Somalis who gave birth to him, and the British who took him in and nurtured him when he needed save haven.  This sort of miraculous immigrant success happens only in countries where respect for humanity triumphs over the weak minded mentality of "dalkay naga qaadayaan, [they are going to take the country away from us].

Mo Farah's after-victory behavior was unassailable.  He thanked his adopted nation, he communicated with his follow Muslims around the globe by prostrating to Allah in an international sports meeting audience, clearly identifying himself as a Muslim. He also spoke to all Somalis in Somali language.

Edna Adan Ismail

That would have been the end of a great happy story, right?  Or would it?  Wait a minute, wait a minute, we are Somalis after all.  We have to find a way to spoil the victory dance for ourselves.   Thus, it so happened that a notorious person with a history of foot-in-mouth habits interrupted the party!

In the middle of international press conference, someone stood up screaming that that Mo. Farah is not a Somali but a Somalilander.  She went to reason that he could not be Somali because, 'Mo Farah may have been born in Mogadishu, as were many Somalilanders who happened to be working or living there during the time when Somaliland and Somalia were united, but he is not from Somalia. He is from Somaliland. He is from the Isaaq clan, and Jibril Abokor sub-clan, who are not natives of Somalia.'   Shocking, shocking, shocking.  He is Isaaq, thus can't be a Somali?  You must be kidding me!   

The irony of it all is that the perpetrator of this puzzling identity crisis is none other than Edna Aden Ismail, the wife of a former Prime Minister of Somalia Mohamed Ibrahim Egal (1967-69). In the name of Somalia, she once used to dine with global head of states.  Later Edna would go on to become the foreign minister of Somaliland, the self-declared autonomous region of Somalia.  Suddenly, she started to unsheathe a vitriolic venom and hateful language unbecoming of a lady of her stature.  It is understandable for one to advocate for what he/she believes in (in her case for Somaliland),  But doing so in no way would require her to choose to scorn the rest of Somalis, Lapping hateful hark on her other half, yet expecting respectful return from the rest of the sane world.

Once again, Edna Aden does not mind sharing  Mo Farah with Britain, asserting, 'Although he ran for Britain, he is one of ours and his achievements can only make us proud and can also be regarded as yet one more connection with the British empire.' Yet denying him of his birth right Somalia, Mogadishu, the capital!  What is more Somali than that?  I should  concede  that, yes,  Mo farah, as overwhelming majority of Somalis, hails from a particular clan, and at that of Isaaq of the  northwest of Somali, or  Somaliland as they would like to call themselves  nowadays!  How does that dissolves him of his Somali identity is beyound my comprehension!         

Unfortunately, the nettlesome picture that I point to was not the first time that Edna Aden put her name in the gutter.  On June, 2012 in Belgium, she let loose a tirade of verbal venom in avideo that made its way through the internet, shrinking the entire southern Somalis toterrorists and pirates, right in front of Europeans who were mortified rather than edified. They were mortified that their guest chose to condemn herself right before them.  Imagine you going to a stranger's house and telling him/her that brother/sister of yours is a thief, rapist and murderer.  What makes you think the stranger will believe that you are any different than your kin?   Or that he/she would choose you over your sister/brother?  Why would the stranger value you when you, for sure, would not value yourself?   As a matter of fact, in the stranger's eyes, you are the two sides of the same coin, thus he/she would loath you both if not you more, the self-hated you.

We can also say that some decent Europeans though, would still be embarrassed by that type of attack, for they are able to see the unrefined, tribal-lazed venom, and able to equate it with prejudicial, religious and race baiting hate in their countries.     

I am embarrassed, as the Europeans were, for my Eeddo (aunt) as she forcefully identified me by speaking on my behalf as an Isaaq(ism).  So, yes, I am also Isaaq, yet I am so embarrassed that being Isaaq in Edna's case is synonymous with self-hate and being anything else but Somali. 

Even if you don't want to have anything to do with the rest of Somalia, with the rest of Somalis, how on earth is trashing or running away from them advance your alleged cause? Get real Eeddo!           

Ina Godane

So If my Eeddo wants to cull all Isaaqs from the rest of Somalis, and for Somaliland, because, in her own words, the south is full of "terrorists," I would like to remind her  that she can't simply choose to pick Mo Farah then leave Ahmed Abdi Godane, AKA Abu Zubair, the biggest terrorist of all in Southern Somalia.  Remember, he is not from the south, and remember he is also Isaaq!   At least, I am not willing to mention his sub-clan for the sake of denying him name association. I just used general Isaaq, for it was she, Edna Aden, who had dragged it into the fray.

As a foolish optimist however, I am still hopeful that my Eeddo will heed my rueful plea, and will return herself to a respectable humanitarian worker and a pioneer in women's education in Somalia. No one ever wins in a war of hate! 

And yes, all Somalis can be proud of Mo Farah.  Why not?  The rest of the world is!


Ahmed Ismail Yusuf is a writer and contributor to WardheerNews who is based in Minneapolis. His book "Somalis in Minnesota," will be released in December 2012.  He can be reached at    

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