Goodbye to Awdalnews devotees
By Bashir Goth
A goodbye often carries a dual meaning. On one side it conveys a deep sense of fulfillment and satisfaction and on the other it bears a harrowing feeling of depravation. It is with this mixed feeling that I would like to bid farewell to the devoted readers and valued contributors of Awdalnews.
From the moment we launched and I took over its editorial stewardship in July 2003, I made it my task to enable Awdalnews Network to stand out with punching editorials, hard-hitting opinions and critical news coverage. Aware of the mushrooming Somali online news sites and blogosphere, it was my duty to make Awdalnews immediately recognizable for meeting the issues head-on.
We placed top priority in providing Somalis scattered around the world and wherever they call home as well as the international community with reliable critical news and views on current issues in both Somali and English languages.
Awdalnews quickly gained friendships and signed cooperation agreements with a number of international news outlets. Awdalnews editorials attracted wider readership from the international community and many of them were republished by respectable media channels. We also won the trust of scholars who are an authority on Somali history such I.M. Lewis and John Drysdale. It was a source of pride for us to have carried their analysis and their essays. Awdalnews also prided itself on being an open forum for some of the best Somali opinion writers, analysts and commentators of diversified backgrounds and political affiliations.
It was through Awdalnews that the world has learned about the views and political outlook of Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed as Chairman of the Somali Islamic Courts (ICU) in the interview we conducted with him on 9th June 2006:
Exclusive Interview- Sheikh Sherif welcomes dialogue with Washington
Although, we put great emphasis on making Somaliland's quest for recognition as our paramount mission, we never allowed this view to comprise our journalistic professionalism; hence we refused to silence the voices of those who oppose the secession of Somaliland. I made sure that Awdalnews under my helm should be a forum where serious intellectual debate takes place. Despite the pressure that was placed on us on many occasions, I refused to make Awdalnews a mouthpiece for any authority or serve the interests of any political party in Somaliland or elsewhere.
Now after six years, the time has come for me to step down as the editor of Awdalnews and to say goodbye to its devoted readers and contributors. It is my firm belief that without your loyalty and support, Awdalnews would not have become such a trusted media source. You deserve my salute and deep gratitude.
My thanks also goes to our international affiliates, UN Agencies, and Somali and Somaliland newspapers and websites who cooperated with us over the years and more than often reproduced the editorials and important interviews carried by Awdalnews.
Last but not least, I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to the core editorial team of Awdalnews, namely Farah Jeelal and Hashim Goth, who gave me their unwavering support for my editorial line which I am sure had at times put them in hot waters, cost them friendships and denied them political favors. My last word of thanks also goes to the many volunteers and deep-throats who worked as critical sources of reliable news and information for us whenever we needed their help.
As the saying goes “Every good-bye makes the next hello closer” and I promise that it will not be that far when we shall meet again in another forum where we would renew our commitment to each other and advance our shared philosophies of life. Until then I would like it to be known to all that I left Awdalnews as of January 22, 2009 and the editorial “Editorial: May Obama’s hope message touch every village” was the last I wrote for the website. The editorial leadership of Awdalnews has passed to my former partner Farah Jeelal who is based in Ottawa, Canada. So I wish him and his new team every success.
Note: Interested readers can access my old and future writings at the following links:
3- My blog: Hanua