Clan Identity & Clan Loyalty
Salma Abdikarim (Keydmedia) - Clan Identity is a brand name that does no harm to anybody. Confirming it in public or even expressing in writing is as inconsequential matter, just like relating your address; or saying: These fruits belong to mango tree.
In fact, it applies to a generic identity of a given social entity without negative, undertone application. What is wrong saying that Gulaid belongs to X or Y clan without even displaying the least contagious facial expression, or denying any applicable rights to one?
On the contrary, if you glorify the profile of certain clan and demean another, then you are a big believer of a clannish system, just like a traditional rural clan elder does.
Yes, it is irrelevant of being a university lecturer or prime minter of the central government as long as you are a big believer of practicing tribal influence. This line of thought that many Somali intellectuals subscribe themselves to it is an erratic denotation of portraying a social system that calls for enmity and divisive posture.
On the other hand, clan loyalty belongs to respected Somali traditional pastoral background and has little impact in urban life and its adhered social values. In pastoral upbringing, a child has to know his/her lineage identity, which is perceived as a way of club identity or life insurance card in urban values.
This loyalty guides the concept of social values and sense of belonging. It is a common social network one calls for support in times of distress. In pastoral background, clan loyalty is a form of social system that binds the interest and sense of security of a given social entity that share ancestry lineage and observe shared obligations on give and take basis.
In terms of social application, clan identity follows on a harmless patriarchal and matriarchal lineage background based on system of mutual interdependence. In short, a child of inter-clan marriage enjoys inclusive clan loyalty based on the support of his/her respective parental ancestry lines.
You may not be the same clan background, but your cousin of mother’s line is still your blood brother and you share all the ups and downs in the real life.
In that respect, all Somalis are extended cousins by birth where clan division melts into null set However, it is unfortunate that the top officials of the TFG take the lead of applying the pastoral tradition system into the government business by endorsing clan related elements into lucrative positions in the government bureaucracy.
Unfortunately, the urban clan system is quite visible in Villa Somalia, the so called seat of the central government.
There are three heavily visited offices chaired by respectively the President of the TFG, the Prime Minister and the former Spokesman of the Parliament. The visiting hours are extended in favor of backing up sub-clan loyalists of respective officials who are pocketing more than their share of the common pie.
The question is: Who represents the rest of 172 odd Somali clans? As you see, clan system turns us back to the feudal era. This is the work of Somali intellectuals. It is a curse that breaks the hearts of hopeful Somalis, but the actions of so called leaders are the reality of the day.
Hopefully, there will be a day of justice and accountability. Here is a piece of advice for the younger generation: Don’t fall into the traps of clannish system as do your urbanized relations. If you do, you ruin your future, while the dream of Grand Somalia will remain in the record books of SYL movement.
Clan identity has nothing to do with social life in urban setting, in job opportunities and government functions, in business interaction, in urban neighborhood and social relations, in religious observance, and to certain degree on marriage system.
In times of inter-clan wars all clan males from one warring side draws the kinship support because it is a respected duty to offset the threat of the opposing part on the expense of life and limb.
Unfortunately, this same topic is the current issue that takes most of the time of the above mentioned officers huddled in Villa Somalia.
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