Over the past few days, Somaliland’s social media has been awash with highly organized and choreographed posts and tweets, attacking prominent Somalilanders.
The prominent Somalilanders under sudden attack include Marwo Fadumo Siciid (a Senior Advisor to the Parliament of Somaliland) and Suldaan ‘Iskama Jiidhe’ (a prominent Somaliland social media satirist and comedian).
Why is this important?
The individuals under attack all have one thing in common: these individuals have a record of standing up for Somalilanders. Of coming to the aid of Somaliland’s social consciousness. These are individuals who, overall, have tended to speak up for Somaliland’s sovereignty, independence, and national identity.
The posts attacking Somalilanders were clearly not organic in nature, but one could sense a hidden hand behind the scenes, directing these posts. The tweets and Facebook posts attacking Suldaan Iskama Jiidhe and Fadumo Siciid were deeply personalized in nature, clearly coordinated, synchronized in language and content, and overall highly choreographed.
Wars take many forms. Take a look at the @M_Farmaajo gov in #Somalia & it’s social media methodology. The propaganda war is primarily directed against the Republic of #Somaliland. “Dagaal wuu noocyo badan yahay, iskula soo boodkaa ugu liita”. pic.twitter.com/2LsgRIYU1t
— Mahmoud Adam Jama “Galaal” (@majgalaal) February 10, 2019
These aforementioned posts attack Suldaan Iskama Jiidhe and Faadumo Siciid were also disproportionate, graphic and often vulgar in nature. They called for Suldaan Iskama Jiidhe in particular to be locked up, to be deprived of his liberty. To be chastised. To be criticized. Or worse still, to come to physical harm.
Specific Facebook users and YouTubers who parade themselves as so-called ‘journalists’ went as far as tracking down and going to the house of Suldaan Iskama Jiidhe’s elderly grandmother. Thereafter forcing her to record an apology video.
Why was Suldaan Iskama Jiidhe attacked in such an aggressive fashion? Why was he pursued in such a vociferous way? What is it he supposedly did? Suldaan Iskama Jiidhe voiced an opinion, in his TikTok post, that may have been offensive or hurtful to Somalians.
Why was Fadumo Saeed pursued in such an aggressive fashion? What is it she supposedly did? She made a speech voicing an opinion that may have been unpopular with Somalians: that a citizen of Somaliland is called a Somalilander, not simply a ‘Somali’. This should not be controversial at all. It is not Fadumo Siciid’s role to appease, please or ingratiate herself with Somalians. She was doing her job, which is representing Somalilanders. She was also making an important point: that there is a distinction between Somalilanders (citizens of Somaliland) and Somalians (citizens of Somalia). She said something that needs to be said more often, more loudly, and more vociferously by all Somalilanders.
The volume and intensity of abuse they received do not appear to match the original actions that supposedly triggered this response. The TikTok post by Suldaan Iskama Jiidhe and speech by Fadumo Siciid were, in hindsight, clearly a pretext to attack these prominent Somalilanders.
Why the attacks are baseless
You may disagree with what Suldaan said. You may have found it offensive. You may disagree. What law precisely in Somaliland makes it illegal to say something that is offensive to Somalia or Somalians? What about his freedom of speech? Who placed on Somalilanders an obligation or preoccupation to appease, or ingratiate themselves with Somalia or Somalians?
Somalilanders have no need to virtue signal to Somalia or to Somalians. Somalia is the country that harbors, rewards, promotes, and holds in the highest of esteem the likes of General Morgan (The Butcher of Hargeisa), Colonel Tuke, and many other mass murderers, war criminals, and genocidaires.
Somalia is a country that does not afford peace even to ships on the High seas of the Indian Ocean, hundreds of kilometers from Somalia’s coast. Somalia is a country that uses food as a weapon of war, resulting in no less than 500,000 deaths due to man-made famines in 1992 and in 2011. Somalia is the country that has the majority of its territory controlled by the terrorist group Al Shabaab, but that also invited 25,000 foreign troops to protect its government which was last elected in 1969.
What moral authority do Somalian politicians and political elite have to lecture Somalilanders about morality, ethics or values? We have no need to virtue signaling to Somalia. Our virtues are perfectly intact.
Baroortu Orgiga Ka Weyn – the cry is bigger than the injury
So what’s really going on here and what’s this all about?… Is this just about a simple TikTok post from Suldaan Iskama Jiidhe? Is this apparent furor about a simple public message Fadumo Siciid? Of course, it is not. There is something else – something far deeper, sinister, and more organized – going on here.
Any Somalilander or external observer who has been watching Somali social media will tell you there has been a long-ongoing campaign of demonizing prominent Somalilanders, especially those with a large following. This often takes the form of persistent targeted harassment in the form of personal attacks. The waves of attacks are used to demonize, vilify and delegitimize prominent Somalilanders with a large social following.
The people behind these attacks are often unionist-extremist Somalians. Theirs is a campaign designed to demonize, demoralize and dehumanize Somalilanders. They clasp and grasp at any opportunity to attack prominent Somalilanders. In fact, they never pass up an opportunity to vilify Somalilanders. They always use a pretext but are attacking Somalilanders for their deeply held and highly cherished lofty values of Somalilander-ness.
Showing solidarity with your fellow Somalilander
Upon reading all the vile tweets and Facebook posts targeted at these two Somalilanders, I recalled all the Somalilanders who had suffered similar targeted harassment and abuse. I remembered how Mohammed BK, The Siciid Show, Mo Farah, and Edna Adan were terrorized by Somalian trolls.
I recalled that we threw Mohammed BK to the proverbial wolves. He did not receive support from us when he needed it. That we threw The Siciid Show to the wolves. He did not receive support from us when he needed it. That we threw Mo Farah to the wolves. He did not receive support from us when he needed it. That we threw Gaboose to the wolves. He did not receive support from us when he needed it. That we threw Minister Koore to the wolves. He did not receive support from us when he needed it.
Should we now throw Suldaan Iskama Jiidhe and Faadumo Siciid to the wolves also? Of course not.
I was not politically aware, conscious, or attuned enough to stand up and support them then. But now, as Dr. Gaboose, Minister Koore, Suldaan Iskama Jiidhe, and Faduma Siciid are being hounded. I felt an urge – a need, a want, an instinct – to show solidarity with my fellow Somalilander. I can, will, and must stand up for them.
This is a matter of principle. If you don’t stand up for your fellow Somalilanders when they are being harassed, intimidated, cyber-bullied, and attacked, who will be there to stand up for you in your hour of need.
A selection of tweets supporting Marwo Fadumo Siciid:
This is the first time in my life to put women in any of social media profiles,but now I am doing for this great women hero Dr Fatima Saeed is under attack by Somali Expensionist so, I am standing with her as solidarity by putting my Twitter profile. pic.twitter.com/ju9es0w16w
— Ahmed (@Hawd24news) November 4, 2022
Waxaanu garab taagahay habeen iyo maalinba waanu ku faanaynaa siddaad u muujisay Wadaniyada dhabta waxaynu nahay Somalilanders ee mani Somalian.
— Xuseen Dantihaye (@DantihayeXuseen) November 4, 2022
Fadumo Saeed taught us this today:
Some things you cannot sit on the fence. You cannot be neutral. You cannot have a fake balance.
Justice > injustice
Dignity > indignity
Nationality > ethnicity
There can be no bothsideism.
No false equivalence.
No false balance. https://t.co/052UAZeued
— Dr Adali Warsame (@AdaliteKingdom) November 4, 2022
I applaud you @lfatima_s for your direct & deliberate affirmation " I am a Somalilander & not a somali"You made our day that much more brighter!You put the apologists to shame,those who let Mo Farah & B.K down & those who are tyingn to demonize, & silence our young trail blazers! pic.twitter.com/A8T4fl1X1N
— Dr. Safia Gahayr (@saphayre) November 4, 2022
I might not have been there for BK, Mo Farah & other patriotic landers. But now I say Not On My Watch. She has me in her corner. I will NOT throw her to the wolves. #WeWillNotThrowYouToTheWolves
— Iskama Jiidhe (@genuineLander) November 4, 2022
We need to be her shield. Stand firmly in support of her statement & say“We Are Somaliland’ers” most importantly, we need not to throw her to the wolves. Like we did BK & other landers who stood up for us. Protect them from Somalia‘s organized attacks
— Iskama Jiidhe (@genuineLander) November 4, 2022
About the Author
Adali Warsame is a political commentator and public policy professional, who is a long-time observer of Somaliland politics. His writing focuses on standing up for the dignity of Somaliland’s citizens, who appear to be forgotten in the melee that is everyday Somaliland and Horn of Africa politics.
Adali is an unapologetic Somalilander. He is passionate about achieving justice for the forgotten Isaaq Genocide victims, stopping the doomed Somaliland-Somalia talks, and international recognition of the Republic of Somaliland.
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