Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Africa’s democracy outgrows foreign preaching by Bashir Goth, Special to Gulf News

Kenyan polls is the first time that an African court invalidated the vote won by a sitting president based on the merits of the constitution and election law

Gulf News, 13 Sept. 2017--1For as long as anyone can remember, it has been the western world dictating the norms of democracy to Africa and the rest of the world. No matter the efforts by these countries, the West’s imposing standards of democracy were nearly impossible to achieve. Especially when those standards required witnesses and results endorsed by international observers. But not anymore.

Watching Chief Justice David Maraga’s powerful opening statement during his announcement of the Supreme Court’s historic decision to invalidate the Kenyan presidential elections held on August 8 and his call for fresh elections in 60 days, I could not help but recall the words of one of Africa’s independence icons and Cold War martyrs Patrice Lumumba.

In a letter from his prison cell to his son and by extension to Africa’s future generations, Lumumba said: “The day will come when history will speak. But it will not be the history which will be taught in Brussels, Paris, Washington or the United Nations. It will be the history which will be taught in the countries which have won freedom from colonialism and its puppets. Africa will write its own history and in both north and south it will be a history of glory and dignity.”

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The Artisan Grace - Poem about the Somali Gabooye by Bashir Goth

The following excerpt which I use as an introduction to the poem is from an article I wrote in 2007 about the status of the Gabooye community among the Somali people.

"They have no voice among us and no political representation. And if anyone of them dares to protest, we easily silence them by invoking the M-word. This makes every Somali around them flee and avoid them like a plague. Even in the national charter of the current Somali Transitional Federal Government they are nameless although they have taken a little better status by being referred to as the 'others' among small but respected Somali clans. This is the closest they have ever come to share a status albeit an insignificant one with other clans." (Link)

THE ARTISAN GRACE

Take a look, brother, a full look at me
An eyeful of the whole of me
Poke my skin hard, and pinch it if you will
Cut my flesh, deep into the blood and bone
Until I cry for I am not made of stone.

Can you see now?
That I shudder in pain?
Can you see my blood,
As red, as fresh as yours?
Can you see my bones,
And the marrow in plain?

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Africa’s Singapore is slowly taking shape by Bashir Goth, Special to Gulf News

Published: 17:00 July 22, 201

Djibouti does not frequently feature in the headlines, but the leader of the tiny country in the Horn of Africa and his international partners recently touted this state of rock mountains, and extremely hot weather as the new Dubai, the Shekou of East Africa, and the rising African Singapore.

If it sounds difficult to imagine such a glowing future for a country which the Associated Press once dismissed as a place devoid of resources “except for sand, salt, and 20,000 camels”, think for a moment of the state of the Arabian Gulf metropolises in the early 60s which would in a mere 30 years transform from impoverished pearling villages into Arabian Manhattans. Djibouti is poised to transform in much the same way in a fraction of the time, if it takes advantage of this moment of opportunity.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Why mainstream media failed to read people's hearts by Bashir Goth | Gulf News

What once was considered as conversation behind closed doors is now discussed in public, while civility and decency are trashed, and truth sacrificed at the altar of competition for profit and rating




Monday, May 08, 2017

Is the London Somalia Conference 2017 another imperialist deja vu? By Bashir Goth | Special to Gulf News

Somalis see no reason to trust this week’s conference in London after similar initiatives in the past did little to address the core issues

Published: 19:45 May 8, 2017  

In a deja vu situation that does not excite many Somalis, the United Kingdom announced that it will host a major international conference in London on Thursday, “to accelerate progress on security sector reform and agree the new international partnership needed to keep Somalia on course for increased peace and prosperity by 2020”.

It was in 2012 when the first London Conference on Somalia was held with the declared intention of helping Somalia to transform from a failed state to a stable nation with functioning government institutions. Somalia’s partners pledged millions of dollars for the beleaguered country’s reconstruction, including $77 million (Dh283.2 million) earmarked for rebuilding Somalia’s security forces. A year later, the European Union (EU) also pledged $2.4 billion at a conference in Brussels to enable the conflict-ridden Horn of African nation to stand on its feet.

At the time, the stubborn extremist group, Al Shabab, was quoted to have branded the EU pledges as “Belgian Waffles: Sweet on the outside, but really has not much substance to it”. They also predicted that the funds would remain an unpaid hollow promise or would be lost in corruption.

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Friday, April 07, 2017

Did Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand rescue Somali drought victims? By Bashir Goth | Special to Gulf News

When disaster hits somewhere in the developing world, the conventional wisdom is to look to international humanitarian organisations for assistance. But not anymore. Not if one takes the recent drought that devastated Somalia as any indication. Instead of the humanitarian organisations, it was the Somali Diaspora remittance and modern mobile money transfer technology that teamed up to provide urgently needed relief aid to the tens of thousands of nomadic people that lost their livelihoods.

In a scenario that is reminiscent of Adam Smith’s metaphor of the “Invisible Hand” which explains how free market dynamics make things happen for the greater good of society, the victims of Somalia’s recent drought saw that Invisible Hand come to their rescue through ZAAD, the mobile money transfer service, provided by the local telecommunications company, Telesom.

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