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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Our Shameful Culture of Fatalism

  Something my friend and I discussed earlier this week has been gnawing at my mind for quite sometime now.Its the question any restless Somali youngster asks himself : Why is it that we Somalis are so tolerant of failure, so willing to buy into the concept predestination and so unwilling to free ourselves from the "Inshallah mentality" knowing very well that Allah said in the Qur'an "Inallaha la yughayiru mabiqawmin xataa yughayiruu ma' bi'afunsihim" (Allah does not change the predicament of a society unless the change is organically cultivated from within themselves).

 Our culture has become so steeped in destinism. An ingrained culture of fatalism has convinced most of us that standing up for our rights is not worth the risk because our efforts are inconsequential. We accept to be abused, set up ourselves for disappointment, for second class citizenship because we are made to believe that all our efforts will have zero public impact. None of us are willing to demand that the barrier at River Tana bridge be moved to the border because it has become culturally acceptable to tolerate humiliation at the hands of the Police. No one at 'Suuq Mugdi' thinks its better if they organized themselves and cleaned their place of business as a collective group instead of waiting for our blood-sucking Councillors. Everyone is waiting for a non-existent nanny state to change us because we are afraid of changing ourselves. No one is willing to ask where our CDF money went or why our public schools are so behind the rest of the nation.

 In Garissa and the entire Nep region, we have to confront this apathy that plagues us. We must realise that philistinism, lassitude and destinationism are deadly weapons capable of doing quantum amounts of  damage to our psyche than any marginalization by the state.

I do not wish to be simplistic or even sound facile in my diagnosis of NEP's problems by laying all the blame on our footsteps because its absolutely true that consecutive regimes have oppressed us and that may have made us become psychologically captive to the condition I have addressed earlier but that shouldn't be an excuse for the continuation of that debilitating state.

 We Somalis have a proud culture that holds individual achievement in high regard. Our nomadic culture glorified bravery and personal risk for the good of all. Social justice was not only a defining ingredient of what it meant to be a Somali, it was also an article of faith. We need to go back to those roots. We need to transcend the petty divisions that characterize politics in NEP. If there is anyone capable of achieving that fete, its us; the youngsters, the new generation of leaders.

This is not our destiny. Second class citizenship is not our birthright.


  1. I do not have any problem with inshalah and the concept of Qadr since it is one of the basic tenets of Islam however i do concur with you that fatalism can have quite fatal consequences and that we must be inspired by the saying ' Ilahaynaqab owrtathana dabro meaning trust Allah and tie ur camels.
    yes we need to stand up and augment change from within ourselves only then will Alaah lend us ahand and lift us from our sad state of affairs. thanks.

  2. First of all, it is to be noted that Islam is a mercy not only for all humans but it extended its mercy to all creatures as well. Show mercy to each other and you will be blessed with ALLAH RAHMA- these things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history in islam. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.

  3. As much as I like your concern for the society I am always disturbed by the use of your controversial Islamic concepts "so willing to buy into the concept predestination" are we buying into it or it is already established concept in Islam,that is what we call QADR.For GOD sake can you write without these controversies.People should take things on to there hands and advice to you if you made a mistake.lets work for the good of Islam and our town.

  4. @Anon (2): I was not writing to challenge any concept or tenet of Islam. My point was, people should take charge of their lives and stop leaving things up to God.
    There is this widely held concept that God will take away all our problems without us ever raising a finger to correct them. I'm opposed to that.

    Thanks for your mature critique though. God Bless