Abdul Ahmed III’s Faulty Logic:
Show Me The Somali State

By Deka Ismail
Oct 14, 2009

From the moment that Rachel Carson penned the Silent Spring, celebrated book that has inspired many environmental scientists, the accidental birth of the irreversibility theory of ecology has came to dominate in the scientific literature of nature. From the perspective of shared ecology, Rachel Carson’s observation of defiled spring season by human abuse neglect, social scientists learned the importance of human behaviour and the impact of their environment. Decades later, the pioneering work of irreversibility of ecology has made immense contributions to the ecological protections and human awareness. Yet Abdul Ahmed III and his colleague’s seminal work on irreversibility of human social organizations, its dynamics, entropy, and political orientations is neither pure science nor a credible social science. This theory has been tested in our physical/environmental world, but yet to be proofed in our social world. As we shall see in the later part of this piece, this theory particularly defies the common sense of Socia-political affairs of the Somali society.

At the outset, Science of irreversibility is new to anthropologist and other social studies as a subject and as discipline.  It is also a subject that we are proud of its contributions to society as the planet we live in becomes unpredictable from human predators. But is science of inertia applicable to the dynamics of human organizations to create or destroy political associations? More specifically, is reversibility theory applicable to future predictions of the make up of the Somali state? The answer is no because humans are recumbent to construct or destroy ideas as they see fit. What is science then? According to Webster’s definition, Science is “knowledge covering general truths of the operation of general laws, esp. as obtained and tested through scientific method [and] concerned with the physical world."  The bold emphasise is mine to illustrate that the physical world has certain relevance when it comes to general truths.

In a nut shell, irreversibility is true in the physical world because it deals with substances, metals and other elements of nature not to mention time and space. In other words, if nature is deformed, given the human pressure that exist, it is certain that we see, listen or observe a remarkable or unremarkable scenes of a changed world.

Let us also see what philosophy says about irreversibility. From metaphysical standpoint of what exists, to revisit the scepticism philosophy of the 19th century Europe, Physical world exists and is tangible while ideas do exist but is not corporeal.  If Abdul Ahmed III’s argument is proof me the Somali state (some form of central authority), then that idea has yet to materialize. But If Abdull Ahmed III is arguing that there will be no Somali state in the future with strong or loose central authority, then he is dead wrong no matter how clever he makes his presentations from the new experiments that sounds more like pseudo scientific rather than a pure/conventional social Science

No one can save us from people like Lenin or Karl Mark to fashion a superficial economic or social ideas that alter geopolitical landscapes of the world. Similarly, capitalism world of extreme nationalism in yesteryear is now promoting globalization and borderless society. Contrary to Abdul Ahmed III’s irreversibility theories, we have seen French dominance under Napoleon;  the rule of Holy Roman Empire ; and the  Prussian principalities in Europe that all reverted back to tribal living arrangement under the banner of nation building with the new inventions of flags and demarked borders.  Furthermore, ultra nationalism of Europe that pitted Franco-German rivalry that had reduced Europe into rubbles in the early part of 20th century is now shifting toward ideas of shared immigration, common markets, shared currencies and host of other visions for United Europe. This example illustrates that men is not subject to irreversibility theories that are relevant to the psychical world,  but is guided by philosophical interpretations of laws of governance, manipulation of ideas and moral doctrines of social orderliness how ever one defines.

The hypothesis that lifting the borders in Europe will bring harmony among Europeans only exists in the minds of present leaders. Also, it is no secret that some European countries led by England, to prove more solidarity with Anglo Americans, are showing defiance for complete unionization. That is why England opted for Maastricht treaty and still in more isolated position in this project designed by Franco-German alliance in post war Europe.  Abdul Ahmed and his team should have emphasised how ideas are powerful in shaping or reversing human associations, co operations, negotiations, conflicts or conquests. In more extreme example, Ahmed and his team would have a difficult to stop Marshal Tiito, if he rises from his grave from the mausoleum in Belgrade, to bring Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia and Serbia back to the old Yugoslavia. Nothing could stop humans to buy new ideas and nothing is irreversible in human dealings.  What we should pray is to see the irreversibility of people like Hitler, driven by hate to slaughter millions of people to attain their racist agenda.  For that kind of occasion, we must consult with our moral principle and say that stopping genocide-- yesterday Jews, today Tutsis----should be irreversible.

In the context of Somali politics, I would not delve too much on irreversibility of Puntland and Somaliland for the simple fact that Somali clans are unified when the threats are coming from outsiders (Ahmed has in mind from the anarchy in Southern Somalia), but are in a perpetual and hostile conflicts within their own defined regions (Ahmed conveniently ignores this fact).  That is a reality today in both Somaliland and Puntland. Clans in both regions are contesting for power, and if one losses power grip, they tend to disassociate with the defacto union and hence are bound to upset the balance of power. The intricate politics of Sool, Sanaaag and Cayn in Puntland speak louder than our words. In fact, if truth be told, and perhaps this is uncomfortable truth, the expatriates from these regions are currently having a conference in Nairobi on the future destiny of SSC region,  which if negotiated settlement of power sharing is not reached, will definitely alter the geographic shape of Puntland permanently.

Similarly, a not too distance ago, when electoral commission of Somaliland fumbled  the electoral boundaries of Awdal regions, the Awdelites protested this injustice by wrapping themselves with the five star blue flag in a sign of solidarity for federalism. Yes, federalism, and yes a powerful display of Somali flag and not Somaliland flag. Ahmed should know that old chestnut that says politics--- the politics of reversibility---make strange bedfellows! Irreversibility question is not permanent, but a relative subject that is fluid, with a shifting alliance and counter alliance in so far as Somali polity is concerned (another convenient fact that Ahmed ignores).

Clearly, the presumption that elders gathered under a shade of tree to form regional entity does not say much about the future of Somalia. I commend that effort because peaceful regions have also been a heaven for brothers and sisters fleeing from Mogadishu mayhem. However, what I strongly disagree is Ahmed’s claim that these regions are separate and apart from Southern Somalia when factual evidence suggest that all regions in Somalia are economically harmonized and socially integrated more so than when the state of the Somali state existed. Only Somalia as whole is severed from the international relations politically and not economically. Somalia as whole is well incorporated into the globalizations as evidenced by the World Bank on their studies of the spin-offs of the civil war in regard to finance (Hawala) and communications (cell phones and Internet). Apparently, within Somali borders, the capital goods move freely and people settle where ever they choose, a piece of evidence that make us proud in the face of difficulties to form central authority. Thus, show me the Somali state (central state) is neither science nor a rigorous study of the concept of irreversibility.

Where is the irreversibility that Ahmed is fond of? Perhaps the impassiveness of Federal government of Somalia in the domestic affairs is the sole theory that explains mechanics of entropy-irreversibility in the social dynamics of Somali people in post 1992. According to this theory, it has created a bunker mentality where Somali people segregated themselves indefectibly. Consequently, the current impasse of Somali politics is irreversible. This is a very simplistic political deduction with a separatism flavour, a flawed logic at best, and a dangerous game of rising separatist tendencies from North West and North East of Somalia at worse.

Obviously the power of ideas that all humans, no exception to Somalis, are capable of creating new ideas while preserving some old ideas are missing from this theory. In more definite terms, to say that there is only a former Somalia would require the birth of accepted federal government that would, among other things, oversee a clearly stated question of the Union in open and transparent plebiscite. Hence, considering the facts on the ground, if Somali is divisible, so too for Somaliland and Puntland.  Before that, we request from Ahmed and his team a reprieve from the declaration of death to Somalia that has been on a life support for the last two decades. To unplug that important oxygen of hope, using empirical data that has been skewed, would amount to academic dishonest.

Deka Ismail,
London, UK

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