Why Do We Celebrate 18th of May?

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Every year, on May 18, Somaliland people celebrate our independence, with parades across the country and remembering heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom.

31 years ago, after the defeat of the Marxist- authoritarian regime of Somalia, the leadership of the Somalia National Movement, clan elders and business leaders declared Somaliland an independent state reflecting the borders of former British Somaliland.

The union between the two Somali regions that were liberated from colonial rule did not work. Siad Barre was a vile dictator who with the help of some military officers overthrew a democratically elected government of Somalia in October 1969.

Siad Barre misruled Somalia from 1969-1991. He kept power through pervasive security state apparatuses, brute military force, state run propaganda, and using government resources to reward clans that supported his regime with aid and administrative regions and punished those clans who he perceived working against his dictatorship. He created man-made disasters, including sprawling refugee camps across Somalia, to receive foreign money to bankroll his corrupt and brutal regime.

Since most Somali people were not able to organize themselves inside the country, the only option to fight for their freedom was to organize outside the country. Different rebel groups based along clan lines or regions were formed to overthrow the dictator.

As the result, Somalia plunged into a full-blown civil war and eventual breakup of the country. Today, the city of Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital, has been rebuilt, refugees have returned and started rebuilding their new country, which is the safest place and the most democratic in the Horn of Africa.

On Independence Day we celebrate the day we decided the fate of our political future: In May 2001, the Somaliland people overwhelmingly voted for independence through a referendum.

We want to thank to Colonel Ahmed Mohamed Hassan, a Somali Air Force Pilot, in summer 1988, who defied the order to bomb Hargeisa repeatedly with 500kg bombs.

Let’s take a moment to remember this Thursday to celebrate our freedom and reflect on those who fought for our nation. We give thanks to the brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom, and remember their sacrifices, we pray for those who are currently serving our nation. We also remember the victims, whose lives were cut short by the evil atrocities of a barbaric regime, survivors, and their families.

But nowadays we got fraud leaders and those who hate Somaliland the most and scream the most trying to undermine our hard-fought freedom by inciting violence and calling for mob rule. The rule of law must be prevailed.

And if Somaliland people and their leaders did not put aside their differences and unite, and work toward for the common purpose, we might lose our freedoms again as it happened in 1960, when a small minority but vocal faction, hijacked the aspirations of Somaliland.

We must be vigilant and protect and fight for our freedom because freedom is fragile and “is never more than one generation away from extinction. “

May Allah Bless Somaliland. Happy Eighteenth of May.

Ali -Guban Mohamed
Editor Gubanmedia.com

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