Somalia sees hope on the horizon, but US partnership is needed


Awale Kulane
Monday February 13, 2017

The election of our new president, Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” Mohamed, signals a progress and a continuing gradual departure from ethnic division. It heralds a new era of Somali unity.

This peaceful transition of power further strengthens our commitment to fully adopt the principles of democracy.

The forthcoming effects of a secure and stable Somalia will ripple all throughout Africa, setting an example for other African nations to follow. A stable Somalia will secure a stable Horn of Africa — a region racked with crises that, if solved, can put an end to the cycle of violence and poverty off which extremism thrives.

The prevention and eradication of such extremism remains our priority. The Somali National Army and the African Union Mission to Somalia have succeeded in eliminating al-Shabaab insurgents in southern Somalia, and will continue to be vigilant and active in eradicating the extremist group from the country entirely. The United States and Somalia share this counterterrorism aim, and can continue to work together to bring forth a world free from the plague of al-Shabaab and al Qaeda, ultimately weakening other extremist groups in the process.

During his farewell address to the nation on Jan. 11, 1989, President Ronald Reagan referred to the United States as the “shining city upon a hill,” as he did many times before.

“[H]ow stands the city on this winter night?” he asked. “After 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true to the granite ridge, and her glow has held no matter what storm. And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.”

It is this image of America that all Somalis hold dear, as your nation has been a shining model for democracy, hope, liberty and rights. We Somalis have fought and shed our blood for the right to vote, the right to speak, the right to worship, the right to assemble and the right to live without fear or tyranny, and we have looked to America as both a model and an ally.

As a result, we call on the American people to reconsider the travel ban and work jointly with our new administration to implement new, innovative and effective vetting measures for Somalis wishing to travel to the United States.

Somalia longs to revitalize its relationship with the United States and envisions a new chapter in security, stability, economics and growth. There is no doubt about the challenges that lie ahead, but reconciliation and prosperity are achievable now more than ever.

It is only through cooperation that nations are able to thrive. This great feat of stability can only be accomplished through the commitment of the United States to partner with Somalia in tackling its greatest threats to security: al-Shabaab, piracy and corruption, all of which must be defeated.

An investment in the stability of Somalia is an investment in the global eradication of extremism. Once fully secure, Somalia stands ready to join the ranks of other nations committed to global recovery, security and prosperity.