OPINION: The mind set of searching solution for xenophobic violence against Somalis in S. Africa - By Abdinor Elmi

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Monday June 24, 2013 - 14:43:58 in Opinion by Chief Editor
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    OPINION: The mind set of searching solution for xenophobic violence against Somalis in S. Africa - By Abdinor Elmi

    Many Somalis left their country due to conflict, famine in their respected country and risked their lives braving a treacherous journey to reach South Africa searching better life, but ended up in misery they left behind in their home country and wor

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Many Somalis left their country due to conflict, famine in their respected country and risked their lives braving a treacherous journey to reach South Africa searching better life, but ended up in misery they left behind in their home country and worst. While perpetrators never those behind the attacks never to brought to justice.

“No-one can save us, we came to South Africa to be safe but we have become targets of bad men who kill us just because we are not from here” Anwar Haji.

I am convinced that one of the most difficult and challenging problems of life, whether at your home country or elsewhere, is how you deal with conflicts-how you deal with human differences. Somalis in South Africa, lacked community leadership and unity among themselves, as they went there with different objective attitude, and they never hard communal structure and leadership that represent their interest within different levels of host government. Think about their how they are divided in tribal-lines. The challenges for all Somalis inside-out-they really need to have character and skill to resolve differences synergistically- that is to find solutions that are better than those any one has proposed. The capacity and ability to produce such synergistic solutions, such, creative cooperation of moral authority at the personal level, community level and trust in relationship among themselves and other communities they live with. Yes South Africa has history of xenophobic violence and racism.

How Gandhi dealt with such racism in South Africa: Mahatma Gandhi Came in South Africa in 1893 as 23 year-old law clerk.I once read heardGandhi,s grandson, Arun Gandhi, share this penetrating-insight about his grandfather. All in attendance at his speech were both humbled and electrified.

Ironically, if hadn’t been for racism and prejudice, may not have had Ganadhi. He may have been just another successful lawyer who had made a lot of money. But because of prejudice in South Africa, he was subjected to humiliation within a week of his arrival. He was thrown off a train because of the colour his skin and it humiliated him so much that he sat on the platform of the station all the night wondering what he could do to gain justice. His first response was anger. He was so angry that he wanted an eye-for-eye justice. He wanted to respond violently to the people who humiliated him. But he stopped himself and said “that is not right” It was not going to get him justice. It might have made him feel good for the moment, but it won’t to get him any justice.

The second response was to back to India and live among his own people in dignity. He ruled that out also. He said “you can’t run from problem, you have to get stay and face the problem.” And that is when the third response dawned on him. The response of non-violent action. From that point onwards, he developed the philosophy of non-violence and practiced it in his life as well as in his search for justice in South Africa. He ended up staying twenty two years, and then he went back and led the movement of India.

So now, Somalis in South Africa should think a third alternative: The third alternative isn’t their way only, it isn’t South Africans way, but it’s their way “both” It’s not a compromise half way between Somalis and South African interest, it should be better than a compromise. I don’t want to say compromise because I compromise each part has to give up something.

Options for Somalis in South Africa.

1.We must know that xenophobia will be happening against Somalis as long as any time in South Africa as it happensMahatma Gandhi in 1893.“Daluxolo Mpengu, 51, who heads the Nelson Mandela Spaza Forum of South Africa (NMSFSA), a new association established by South African businesses owners in and around Port Elizabeth, insists that foreigners are exploiting their market” source. BBC

2.Go back to their Country and live with their fellow Somalis whatever the circumstance-home is the best.

3.Think about third alternative using of non-violent action- it should be better than a compromise. I don’t want to say compromise because I compromise each part has to give up something. Coming together and developing strong community associations with professionals in leadership and invested inside-out approach with trust building with host communities and government.

4.Seek eye-for-eye justice within country judiciary system through legal procedures.

Abdinor Elmi Mohamud is MBA in Project Management and OD Consultant Abdinur.elmi@gmail.com

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