Somali Diaspora: A two-edged sword. -Mohamed Santur
The Somali Diaspora represents a crucial part of Somalia's future. But what exactly that future will look like depends, in part, on what that diaspora contribute.

In the past two years I have got the privilege to see first-hand the kind of positive impact that Somalia's diaspora is capable of having on our war-ravaged land. In my travels in and out of Somalia I have seen, with great admiration, Somali diaspora I will call the Returnees participating in the reconstruction of Somalia's devastated economy and political spheres, needless to add at great risk to their lives. This kind of sacrifice is obviously inevitable in a country that remains unstable to say the least. But it also puts to shame the contributions of the second group of Somalia diaspora - call them the Somali Intellectuals.

Largely based outside Somalia, the Somali Intellectuals are quick to find fault, pointing out what everyone back in Somalia is doing wrong. Of course, when you are seated in the comfort of a peaceful suburb thousands of miles away from Mogadishu, it is easy to reason out the mistakes of others. Never mind that life in Somalia hardly subscribes to reasonable standards. Frankly speaking, this fault-finding approach is just as out of touch with the reality of Somali life as the fancy words these Intellectuals use in their articles.

Now no Somali should be shut out of the rebuilding process and obviously people are bound to have different views about what is the best way forward but it is unlikely tearing down other Somalis helps. We need our elites on the long and difficult road towards a better Somalia but climbing the intellectual high horse and pouring scorn on everyone else is counterproductive.
Instead, our Intellectuals need to start by applauding and encouraging those Somalis who are directly involved in reversing a great and long tragedy even if they don't always get it right.

Mohamed G. Santur

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