Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Good Man Indeed Stage 2

Unity with those like you is an important mechanism.

It gives you a place to belong.

It gives you a sense of security.

It gives you a community that you want to see flourish.

It can literally mean the difference between life and death.

But what happens when it goes too far? What happens when the very group dynamic that once kept you alive stands a good chance of getting you killed? Somalian Adam Mataan believes this line has been crossed and something must be done about it.
Clans form the bedrock of Somali society and identity, but political exploitation of their rivalries has blocked every attempt at peace since Somalia collapsed into war in 1991.
On one hand loyalty to one's tribe is what keeps people alive but when tribal loyalty is hijacked by those who twist it to their advantage terrible things will happen. Basically what it happening is that the desire to assert one's identity has been turned into a game of "Us vs. Them". A game that has had and will have disastrous results. In the face of this self destructive spiral Mataan has joined The Antitribalism Movement (ATM).
Their Anti-Tribalism Movement (ATM), which claims 53,000 followers, aims to eliminate the "spitefulness, discrimination and negativity" he says sectarianism breeds in Somali behavior.
The young people in this movement do not want to see the wars and feuds that have divided the clans and tribes of Somalia continue until the nation itself is destroyed.

What makes this effort a bit different is that its specifically calling out tribalism as a cause of the conflict that plagues them. Unlike the older generation several of the youth believe that these strict divisions are what are tearing them apart.

I think this may be a valid point the ATM is trying to make. War between tribes can lead to nothing but pain and suffering for all involved, except for those that profit from them destroying themselves. Its one thing to have your group that you're loyal to cut that loyalty should never come at the cost of destroying others.

In world that spends so much effort highlighting and bad men of the world to the point that people ask if there are any good men left I have to say that Adam Matann is indeed a good man.


Jim said...

eGod speed to them! Usually the process of detribalization is never this conscious, sober or decent. usaully people get thier tribal identities and affiliations ground out of them through urbanization (read: moving inot slums where some street argot becomes the next gneration's mother tongue and old kinship bonds count for nothing in trying to make a living. Or else you get one group seizing power and crushing everyone to assimialte either to their identity and culture or to some artificial identity.

If anyone can do this though it wil be the Somalis. For one thing they have enough external threats to focus everyone on the problem.

Danny said...

Good point Jim (sorry for taking so long to respond).

All too often these days it seems like its a lack of unity that destroys people (look at how this is brought up in regards to black people in the States). So to me its almost a bit odd to see a situation where unity gone wrong is the problem. Or maybe not. When you get down to it the violence and division among Somalis isn't that different than what you see among different gangs. Its like that old movie The Warriors taken to a much larger scale.