My Comment on Your Recent Editorials

by Mahamud M. Yahye, PhD
Saturday, May 17, 2008

Dear Sir,

I read your latest editorial, posted on May 5, 2008 and titled “Ethiopian Involvement in Somalia”. I wish to inform you that I didn’t like your approach. This is so, because the three narratives that you talked
about, i.e., those of the Ethiopian Government, TFG, and the Somali opposition (or rather Islamic Courts
Union, ICU), respectively, are known to most of us.

What we, as your readers, would have liked is to hear Hiiraan Online’s own opinion on this issue as one of
the leading Somali websites, backed by a strong, objective reasoning – even if it is not the most popular one. Otherwise, your editorial does not serve a real useful purpose.

To give you a comparable example, if the New York Times or the Washington Post puts up an editorial
regarding, say, the candidates for the US presidential elections, they clearly show their support to one of
these candidates with good justification from their part – thus, trying to convince their readers to
support/vote for that particular candidate.

On the other hand, I read an earlier editorial in which you commented on the current two main Somali
political protagonists, namely, the Prime Minister Mr. Nur Hassan Hussein (better known as Nur Adde) and Mr. Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. I think your opinion on these two politicians was a partisan one and you have highly exaggerated their achievements. At one point you claimed that in just the first six months of his
tenure in office, Nur Adde has achieved a great deal. I totally disagree with you on this point, as many observers of Somalia’s current political scene believe that Nur Adde is too conciliatory towards the opposition, particularly the extremist Islamists (Al-Shabab) and has not so far achievement anything tangible. As for Sheikh Sharif, some of us believe that he is not mature and experienced enough as a politician. In other words, he is a flip-flop – trying sometimes to appear as a moderate, while at other times he tries to show that he a tough hardliner.

Moreover, we think that the diplomatic blunders that Sheikh Sharif and his cohorts at the leadership of ICU
had committed is what gave the Ethiopian forces an excuse to occupy our national capital and the symbol
of our sovereignty and territorial integrity, Mogadishu. As such, your designation in a third earlier editorial of Sheikh Sharif as the personality of the year was highly biased and exaggerated.

Finally, as one of the leading and most popular Somali websites, you have a great responsibility to contribute positively – as much as possible – to Somalia’s national reconciliation and the ending of its prolonged and ruinous civil war which has been going on in the past two decades or so. You can achieve this mainly by educating your Somali readers through well prepared, objective, truthful and fair-minded editorials and articles. Otherwise, you will be accused of being highly biased and being engaged in the usual destructive game of Somalis: i.e., tribal bias and favoritism.

Sincerely yours,

Mahamud M. Yahye, PhD

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