Reinventing the system


There is always a negative outlook in reinventing of our culture therefore for the sake of drawing the pessimist; I will use system in place of culture. In our particular system there is a thin line between love/hate, praise/condemnation, and friend/enemy. There is also the quick judgment, stereotype, and all out expertise in every given issue. However, reinvention of the social system we currently have is a subject commonly ignored. It borders sensitive issues such as religion, heritage, and the ultimate bulletproof system of the tribes. For those reasons, and perhaps the lack of popularity of change, most people chose to ignore the dysfunctional social arrangement we’re currently held hostage to.

The perceived notion of change in the system is down right evil. There are those who brought these innovative systematic improvements that have been shunned and gunned for they have attempted to change our values and way of living. The youth movement has been shunned for they have not the wisdom of the elderly. We all know the old men have the ideas and the ultimate say in what happens and with their bright insight in the world have managed to maintain 15 years of turmoil.

The scholars from abroad have been shunned for they have brought their knowledge from the infidel’s world. The political diplomats have been gunned for they have opposed the cherished warlords. Another undeniable fact is the heroic efforts of our warlords that hold us hostage to their will. Their collaborations with the elders to create a government based on themselves was at the height of our golden system. Add to that the complete avoidance of the backbone gender that is the female, and you have a system that strives on failure. For those of you who are not picking up my sarcasm, then I must add you to the pile of items to be changed.

What needs to be changed, you ask? Well, it is a long pity list that adds up to a great social conversion and civility. Here is a list of things that we should not tolerate yet find it reasonable enough to accommodate in our system;

Lack of Accountability. Things happen. Massacres are carried out. Scandals are uncovered. Yet no one is held accountable. Our system allows the wrong doers to slip by without notice and rejuvenate themselves as new innocent people. We denounce those who try to hold them accountable as odious and promote the “forgive and forget” mantra. (See the pictures in the new federal government as the before and after evidence)

Thinking outside the box. It is the ultimate business cliche but it has never been so true in a situation than it is in this one. The Somali is the same inside and outside the country with the inability to think beyond what his/her peers think. It is true in the business side as we have the same chains of stores around the world and the same products. In society, we think inside the box of acceptance. We worry about what others might think of us and what label we might carry. Spoken patriotism is as far as we go and it is the accepted norm anything further, you cross borders and gets people mad. We stay in the box of comfort.

Nation of experts. There is a mysterious rise in the number of PHD holders in the past 15 years. While that is a positive thing, there is also the missing concept of do not know. Your average Somali is a self-proclaimed expert in politics, economics, science, technology, engineering, medicine, and the art of administering a whole country single handedly. This dilemma leaves no room for improvement and leaves everyone else with sub par information and misinformed ideas. (For evidence, ask any Somali a random question and odds are lower than a lottery to get a don’t know.

Revolt to Disconnect. Those who have it figured out with academia and civic experience cut their ties off with the rest. Bridging the gap is hardly the task for our scholars; it is rather a common practice for them to isolate themselves from the rest. It is a growing trend to disconnect and turn the cold shoulder to our common ground, our country. The trend needs to be reversed. Knowledge and experience is a resource that should be directed to where it is needed, Somalia, not other civil countries that have bigger pool of talent.

Punctuality and commitment. It sounds like I’m preaching common courtesy but we all know deep down inside our system tolerates the half-way attitude. To further elaborate on this, it is important to point to exhibit A, the Somali appointment. A meeting at 1pm actually means showing up anytime between 2pm to 3pm. It is a common understanding to be late and out of order. I had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine about this issue. He made an observation about the Somali appointment and said, we don’t come late out of carelessness, but because we know the other person is going to wait for us. It is an accepted principal to be late, not show up, and half-way commit to obligation with the understanding from both sides that the task can be dropped at anytime for whatever reason.

The Somali social reinvention initiative is not by any means a new idea. It is a frequent discussion among most people to improve our system and have a new attitude about the nonsense we tolerate. Yet we are all subconsciously devoted to the system that failed us. The next time you pay the tribal fee for a murderer, think about accountability. The next time you come across a brilliant idea, do not worry about what Omar and Hawo will think. The next time you’re asked a question you don’t know, don’t try to answer it. The next time you get a college degree, do not think you are beyond your fellow Somalia’s as Aristotle was not beyond his fellow Greeks. The next time you are faced with a task, either commit or not commit.

The bottom-line, change is overdue and underrated. In our social system, change is a foreign concept. It is a new innovation that is easily defused before it starts. However, this is a golden era for change. The adoption rate for new ideas is high. The tolerance for ignorance needs to be put to an end and that comes from within us. We all need to individually revolt against our immorality. It is one task we cannot leave to the chair throwing, fist fighting, and ear snatching government we await.