14 February, 2011

Socotra has never been and is not a part of Somalia

There are those who say and try to claim that Soqotra was or is part of Somalia. With all due respect to Somalia and Somalis, a country and a people that I deeply care for and have the highest regards for, Socotra is not a part of Somalia. It has never been.

For those who are referring to history to claim that the Island is a part of Somalia, there is no authentic record showing that the Island or other islands adjacent to it, were ever administered by Somalia. But we know that Socotra was a part of  Mahra which is now a part of Yemen, from as early as 1511 AD. Mahra then became a part of the British Protectorate. In 1967, Mahra became a part of the then Southern Yemen and Socotra became a part of Aden Province. And how far back do we refer to history for such claims?

All countries today, are not what they were long ago; way-back, then, parts of what most countries are today, were a part of other countries or belonged to other people. All African countries, except Ethiopia, were once colonies; when they were given there freedom or independence, African countries' borders were determined and drawn by these colonizers; colonizers who were also in Southern Yemen. During this colonial period, the Socotra Archipelago was never, ever, referred to as a part of Somalia or any other country. It was recognized as a part of Yemen only.

For those supporting their claim by referring to the Island as being geographically much nearer to Somalia than to Yemen, well - if that is the rule being used for one country to claim parts of other countries, we shall have many problems. Yemen can easily claim Djibouti; Madagascar or South Africa or Mauritius could claim the island of Reunion; Australia or New Zealand could claim French Polynesia; and many other countries would claim parts of other countries. Which will all lead to conflicts and wars.

Isn't that what happened when Somalia claimed North Eastern Kenya; and then the Ogaden? It only lead to wars, conflicts, much suffering and were too bloody and costly. Especially for the people of Somalia. Somalia has had too many problems and has gone through too much suffering. More than any other country on Earth. Above all: the relationship between Yemenis and Somalis is deep, very old, goes far and is too close: socially, religiously and culturally. Claiming that Soqotra is part of Somalia by any Somali, is contrary to these bonds.