(Speech to the Armed Forces)
9th of November, 1969
Nineteen days after the Revolution I am addressing myself to the Armed Forces. I am talking to you because I want to make you understand the responsibility we have for the nation. As you all know, we have sworn to be sincere and trustworthy to the country and the Somali people. The foundation of our sincerity for the country and the Somali people is the conviction that we are the servants of the nation. This service to the nation needs to be explicitly understood.
Imperialism and those with the colonial mentality left in the minds of our people that they were the cream of creation and others were their servants.
The truth is that anybody who draws a salary from the government is the servant of the people because the people pay his salary. This salary comes from people in the form of taxes. It had been a principle of imperialism – and we have been following it after the termination of that imperialism – that we should expect from the public, the learned, the youth and the families a specially flavoured respect. This attitude which persists is wrong, and one easily can see that it is a colonial hangover. It is has been left in the minds of the people that the nationalists is an ignorable creature.
We have launched the Revolution to eradicate colonial hangovers in all their various forms. The purpose of the Revolution is to guide us back to our true characteristics, to clearly understand what we are, and what we stand for, and to work for our people in sincerity and devotion.
We must convince the people of the efficacy of a joint, concerted effort with us. We should attack together and on equal terms, hunger and ignorance; at all times uphold and protect the flag, the dignity, the welfare and the defence of the nation.
We have to defend the dignity, the rights and the livelihood of every Somali person. While we are uprooting the evils that have beset on the nation, such as tribalism, favouritism, nepotism, corruption and injustice, we should train ourselves to uphold the dignity of the Somali nation, to uplift the image of the Somali nation both internally and externally.
We have to embark upon the task of creating a nationalism that will not detrimentally differentiate the rich from the poor and the educated from the illiterate, the urban from the nomad and the high from the low. In sum, what we are striving to create is a nationalism of oneness. We should start shoulder to shoulder, without anyone slighting anyone else, in our joint efforts towards the solution of the problems that our country faces.
Since we now understand the hardships that confront us, and since we staged a Revolution for the sole purpose of uprooting the repulsive previous conditions in which our country stagnated, we have to show that we are going the complete what we set out to do.
We have to eliminate unpleasant features that were hoisted upon the Somali people—the injustice, the shameful goings—on, rampant corruption, nepotism, favouritism and unjust;
Discrimination; of sitting, with one’s hands outstretched in the expectation of timely rain from heaven and the fanning of troubles among people, and putting some people in the position of servitude. These are the direct remnants of imperialism.
Some people have used public funds as their private personal funds and have tried to convince others that their use of these funds was legitimate. Our religion, which is the foundation of our faith, our nationalism, and our guard against temptations, has been replaced by lack of principles and insincerity. We have taken on the responsibility to wipe out the lies, the back bites, the insincerity and the lack of faith. If a nation lacks justice, sincerity, dedication to work, honesty and concerned efforts towards betterment, such a nation would definitely founder.
It has been one of our aims to convince the people for they have forgotten if — that education is of the utmost importance, and to wipe out the attitude, that; what is the use of education when one can get along without certificates or with faked documents.
If education had been neglected and consigned to limbo, then how do we expect to emerge as an advanced nation that has advanced politically, socially and economically.
We know the level of output — in terms of jobs done has been pathetically low, and no one sweated for his salary. Everyone just expected to get his salary at the end of the month. There is a principle of "give and take" In employment. The employee is paid to work.
A nation's brain, prosperity, self—respect and dignity depends on the level of educated people in that country. If a nation wants to tap its natural resources, how does it do It? By having the qualified men to do the job and proper education provides such personnel. The way we can wipe out hunger, disease and ignorance, is to have the personnel who are qualified in teaching, agriculture, medicine, mining, politics, geology, and every other field that is necessary to benefit the nation.
One of the aims of the Revolution is to recreate our lost nationalism. The word nationalism may be interpreted in different ways. What is nationalism? A nationalist is a person of dignity, who honours his word, one who abhors, dishonesty, thievery and injustice, and who puts his energy and creativity at the disposal of his nation.
In a nation in which nationalism abounds, its people do not aid and abet each other in crime. They are ashamed to lie, and discourage others from lying. They restrain each other from setting out to do undignified things. They keep their faith undiluted, and put more value on the cripple lying on the streets than the erudite, learned and rich foreigner. The Somali and the foreigner cannot be equated. Somalism is the inherent bond that ties the Somalis together and puts their common interest in nutshell. We can only bring about the oneness of Somalism by working together,
If the description of the situation of our country before the Revolution was despicable, then it is incumbent upon us to embark upon a meaningful change of the situation.
Going back to the beginning of my speech, then, the gist of the matter is: let us work diligently for our country and our people.
I am sure there are many people who are talking to you in the same language in which they managed to divide the Somalis into factions. What was that language? It was a “RER X” how many soldiers do we have in the Armed Forces? How many offices do we have? How many people do we have in the Revolutionary Council? Let us divide it according to tribalism. How many men does each tribe have in this and that?
The person with this kind of mentality used to argue right in the government offices that as “Rer X we don't have our share of the government.” Now we are simultaneously talking about the share of “Rer X.”Are these two things compatible? Government progress, sophistication, national interest, raising the educational standards, and the level of production of the economy, are incompatible with groupings on tribal lines.
The incompatibility of nationhood and tribal allegiance makes a marked contrast, and the vivid manifestation of the incompatibility was very easily seen in our situation before the Revolution.
Those who led us back to this dismal misery are still around, and we know what kind of language they employed to keep |H apart and sow the seeds of doubt in our minds. They used to employ cheap ruses and languages to get what they did not deserve and had no right to have. What ruses are they going to employ today? They will resort to the same ruse language. Who do these divisive people represent, and who are they tailing for? They are employed by foreigners, and they have their pay in their pockets. They have sold their brother's blood and future and yet they come in the guise of Somalis. They were the ones who were better off when most Somalis were begging for something to eat; a place to sleep, schools and medicine. These exploiters were the ones who got well—off on the peoples misery. They will come to you pretending to guard your self—interest, and they will try to lead you astray, because their sole purpose is to regain their cushioned place in society. You will find, if you care to take a look at those who want to work a rift among you that they are personally better off than you, and still want to have more.
The Revolution set out to recapture the nation's lost independence in order to restore Somali dignity, purpose and future aspiration. Those who are systematically discouraging the emergence of the nation stand for things that are contrary to the aims and hopes of the Revolution.
Will you let these people have their own way? We have agreed on a policy of never unjustly doing any harm to anyone, and to treat the people equally, no matter what their station in life. We want the people to have the same rights, the same opportunities, the same treatment, and an equal share of our resources, which are enough for all of us if we do not steal from each other, but share it in a legitimate manner. Those who want to work a rift among the people are the bloodsuckers, the traitors, the servants of other nations, the greedy ones; and they should not find a place among you.
Now that we have succeeded in our first step, and the people have supported us, applauded us, and come out in huge demonstrations for the sake of order, we have to work for them in the spirit in which they support us, and we must work for their interest in unity and honesty. We want the people to support us, and put aside the misguided philosophy that the “Government has a long arm.”
We must pull ourselves together and work in unity individually the people and the armed forces must work together and do something for themselves. We must refrain from meaningless chatting in coffee-shops, corruption and ingratiating ourselves with foreigners.
God gives you what you want from him; good or bad, dignity or slavery, freedom or servitude. Throw out of the window the errors of past era. Make a new start; set yourself on the right path, never swerve from it.
As I said before, those who used to suck the blood of the people, whether they sucked it by themselves, or whether they shared it with others, and took it as an article of faith that Somalis would never forego hardship and difficulties, are still among us.
The imperialists, who decided long ago to keep us in misery for their benefit, are still around. Their sole interest is to regain their favoured positions.
I say that you Somalis have to be ready for them if they attempt an application of force. God has given you freedom today; don’t lose it. If they apply underhand methods, like interfering in matters of kinship, and spurring on the people on the false grounds of tribalism; if they offer you benefit from the sale of your brother's blood and dignity. Throw them out. Today this is equally appropriate and applicable to every Somali in the Armed Forces.
Let us teach each other not to sleep. Our children and the generations after are waiting for us in expectation, and they will benefit from the map we design for them. If it is a good one, we can reach an admirable height of dignity, freedom and integrity by our own efforts.
Wake up for your interests and your nation’s interests. Defend the nation from its enemies – whether they appear in the form of kinship, or reward for the sale of national interests.
Although my address is indeed to remind the Armed Forces to carry out its promise, I would like to make a small addition concerning foreigners. By the term foreigners, I include not merely people of other nationalities whose purpose is to further the interest of imperialism, but indigenous people who are the tools of imperialists.
The past era is over, and the Somali Democratic Republic will not tolerate any hindrance to the progress of the Revolution and the new era of liberty and dignity to which the nation is committed.
Everybody will get what he deserves from our nation. We are warning foreigners to keep their hands from our internal affairs. If they don’t, they will not succeed in outdoing us. We will take definite, courageous and serious steps against anyone who meddles in our internal affairs. We are warning those working in the shadow of foreigners to desist from their activities. There will be no pardons for culprits.
It is characteristic of a healthy nation to reward those who serve it with honesty, and to take revenge against those who against its interest. Today, everybody who has not done damage to the nation before has a blank page. It is up to the individual to determine what goes in to this page – whether it be good or bad.
Let the past be forgotten; and let us see what every does with his blank page, whether he fills it with goodness or otherwise remains to be seen. In this new history of Somalism, let us observe justice, honesty, equality, oneness and the furtherance of the nation’s dignity.
The reactionaries know that they have been luxuriating in what they have not earned. They have been eating, illegitimate fruits wealth they have stolen and hidden – wealth whose rightful owners have been in starvation and misery.
If they work with their nation in honesty, they will get something that might not be much, but which is clean and obtained in a dignified manner. They will be in a position to talk the streets without earning hatred. They will be better off, and will not perish if they see the light and quit the ways of corruption to which they have become addicted.
This needs confidence in you, in our nation and its people. If they mast that much, they will not be losers.
And now, to go back to the Armed Forces, I congratulate you on your success, and hope that you will further succeed in your efforts.