Wednesday, May 18, 2022
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    Columnists

    Maritime Dispute Deal Could Bring Peace

    Columnist: Daniel Furnad is an international journalist based in Kenya for the last decade.  A veteran of CNN and Associated Press Television, he has traveled to 85 countries, 25 in Africa, and reported from 6 continents, interviewing Presidents, Prime Ministers, Kings, and Jennifer Lopez.

    The disputed area off of Somalia and
    Kenya’s coasts could be worth as much as half a trillion dollars.  Oil, gas, other potential riches lie at
    sea.  Neither country can pull it out of
    the ground alone.  International energy
    companies will share the riches, perhaps getting a better deal for their
    investment than the country or countries whose territory it is under.

    It must be said that after its impressive
    performance at the International Court of Justice, ICJ, that Somalia looks in
    good shape to have the judgment go it’s way. 
    The Kenyans didn’t even show up, although they did file a lengthy brief
    on paper.  Watching the proceedings it
    was easy to see the effectiveness of the Somali argument.

    So,
    let’s wait for the judgment and go and sell off the rights to the
    territory!  Money in the treasury right
    away!  Development for Somalia now!

    Perhaps
    not so fast.  By sharing a little of that
    money, perhaps more could be accomplished. 
    Maybe working together before selling off the rights could bring higher
    prices.  Perhaps it would bring in a
    wider set of bidders and competition could drive us the worth of the area.  There could even be a plan set up for
    developing shared refineries, and even more, money kept by the African
    neighbors.

    Let’s
    slow down and see how this might affect the Horn of Africa.  Cooperation between Somalia and Kenya
    offshore could lead to more cooperation on-shore.  The pipeline that is going from South Sudan
    to Kenya’s LAMU port shows us that regional teamwork could be a good idea.  Why not add to that spirit?

    And
    how about the current political crisis in Somalia?  An agreement that crosses borders could be
    used as a carrot.  How about cutting
    Jubbaland in on the profits?  Might that
    make Ahmed Madobe more interested in cooperating with the Federal Government?

    There
    is no easy formula to decide with regional peace and goodwill is worth.  Even for politicians who see the energy cash
    bonanza as a way to line their pockets, how much do they need from this?  Isn’t there more to be made when working
    jointly to explore natural resources for the benefit of all?  These are all questions worth asking, deals
    worth exploring. 

    A potential windfall for a few could become a major boon for the whole region.

    Mogadishu City is losing Its Trees

    Columnist: RIDWAN YUSUF

    Due to the rise in the city population and the construction boom,
    Mogadishu is slowly losing its most valued environment pillar “the Trees”
    Forests are essential to combating climate change. They drink up huge amounts
    of planet-heating carbon from the atmosphere and provide shelter for species
    struggling to adapt to global warming. For that reason, experts have called for
    measures to protect forests. But what about trees in cities? We hear much less
    about them. Yet the trees that line streets and backyards are just as important
    as those in the forest actually, maybe even more so. And we are losing them,
    too.

    When you look around Mogadishu comparing to the previous 10-15 years the
    city has tremendously lost its green shelter. Many trees have been cut down
    without any replacement. Those trees have a powerful impact on health and
    well-being and climate change.

    Even though urban areas are small compared to rural areas, the value of
    trees is more important because these trees are in more proximity to people.
    This loss may not seem huge, but it’s substantial in proportion to people.

    In addition to soaking up carbon dioxide, trees clean the air of other
    pollutants by absorbing gases and trapping noxious particulates in their leaves
    and bark. They cool buildings by providing shade and warm them by lowering wind
    pressure. They also can reduce noise and slow floods.

    These trees matter greatly because they are where people are.

    The trees in the city are more valuable because they are cleaning the
    air where people breathe and reducing energy and air temperatures where people
    live and work a large population lives in urban areas. As a result, those trees
    are critical in terms of human health and well-being.

    When cities lose trees, they are deprived of the associated benefits.
    These benefits include air pollution removal and its effects on human health carbon
    sequestration and energy conservation, that is, the reduced amount of energy
    being used because of trees. The loss of trees is costing cities tens of
    millions of dollars each year worldwide.

    City dwellers can slow the decline of tree cover by planting new trees, but that doesn’t entirely solve the problem. We have to better understand what we have in urban areas appreciate the value of the trees and understand how things are changing. There needs to be more discussion about what cities want their future to be. Decide what you want to sustain then make a plan to sustain it.

    Women in Islam and Somali culture

    BY COLUMNIST OMAR HASSAN ABDULLAHI

    Somali traditional culture is entirely Islamic-based culture that blends
    nomadic pastoral traditions and norms with Islamic teaching. The shape of the
    culture is affected by the interaction between these two factors.

    The place of women in an Islamic society is determined by the Koran
    (Qur’an) the tradition of the Prophet Mohammed (PUB), and the interpretations
    of Islamic law and traditions influenced by social customs and practices. Islam
    establishes complete and genuine equality between man and woman. This is a fact
    readily acknowledged by everyone who knows Islam well and understands Islamic
    law as outlined in God’s book, the Qur’an, and in the sayings and practices of
    the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

    Islam asserts the equality of men and women in their creation. The Qur’an states that God has created all mankind from a single soul, and from it, He created its mate, and from the two of them He spread abroad so many men and women. [4:1] He also says: Mankind, We have created you all out of a male and a female.

     Through the revelation of the
    Koran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammed (PUB), Islam liberated women from
    unacceptable conditions that prevailed in the tribal society of pre-Islamic
    Arabia.

    Among the rights granted to women by Islam were the rights to life and education as well as the right to inherit, manage and maintain the property.

    Interpretations and the application of women’s rights under Islam are profoundly affected by social and economic factors. Social practices, customary laws, poverty, war, and illiteracy often subvert the status of women. Thus, women’s rights in Somali society are generally affected by the prevailing political and socio-economic conditions.

    The advent of urbanization, particularly after the end of World War II, incorporated increasing numbers of Somalis into the livestock trade and exports, with the two sectors becoming the basis of wider commercial activities within the urban economy. Opportunities for women in both the livestock trade and the new urban commercial activities were very limited. However, the increased level of urbanization created the conditions for improved women’s participation in the informal sectors of the urban economy and limited but significant progress in girls’ education. These changes did not immediately result in an overall improvement in the lives of Somali women, but built the foundation for greater acceptance and gradual access of women into public life, through education and employment during the nine years of civilian rule after independence.

    During the military regime of the 1970s and 1980s, women’s public
    participation broadened. Female school enrolment and job opportunities
    increased and women were able to hold positions in the army and civilian
    government institutions.

    Today, women play a significant role in nation-building efforts. This has increased the conflict between the traditional roles of women and the real demands of today’s daily life in post-war Somali society on the one hand and their expectations and opportunities on the other. The conflict between the role they are expected to play, and that which they seek and in reality perform, can only be reconciled through the elimination of the discrimination against women. Seeking to achieve this will in turn strengthen the effectiveness of their participation in the ongoing reconstruction efforts.

    In the Somali culture, a woman lives with her family of origin but is
    expected to leave it and join her husband upon marriage. However, as a wife,
    she is not fully incorporated into the lineage or the “dia-paying group” of her
    husband because under the Somali system wives retain the ties of their lineage
    of birth. This situation throws ambiguity over women’s real group identity and
    allegiance.

    Somali women have the best dressing code that is in line with the sharia teachings. The most common pairing in Somalia is the Hijab ( jilbab ) with a long dress. The jilbab is a long head covering which covers the arms, back, and chest. If a hijab is worn, it is often with an abaya. Even female children are made to wear these coverings. Niqabs aren’t worn as commonly as the jilbab. But if it is worn at all, it is usually seen as the highest modesty in the Somali community.

    The skin lightening trend

    COLUMNIST AYAN ISSE HASSAN

    Skin lightening is popular in many parts of the world, including Somalia and the
    Middle East. But medical experts say that in Africa a continent where regulations
    are often lax or scorned the widening phenomenon is laden with health risks.

    Some
    citizens, for their part, see it as a toxic legacy. Somalia is experiencing a
    massive trend of increased use (of skin bleaching), particularly in teenagers
    and young adults. It is confusing what has come of the young ladies exchanging
    their natural beauty with something artificial. It is said that most girls have
    resorted to bleaching to increase social acceptance and increase the chances of
    attracting a husband minding less the long-run effect of this practice. The
    horror is that we do not know what these things do in high concentrations over
    time in the body. You wouldn’t expect someone to alter his true identity
    because of mere recognition or acceptance. Ladies need to understand there is
    nothing bad in maintaining your skin color.”

    Ingredients in the skin lightening creams may include hydroquinone, steroids, mercury, and
    lead; the same element that is poisonous. These chemicals damage respiratory,
    kidney, and reproductive systems. They cause cancer, affect the nervous system,
    deform unborn babies.

    The market is rapidly expanding as business opportunists seek to cash in on the
    country’s booming youth population. The sprouting new cosmetic kiosks are
    visible in the town.

    Most African Countries have banned skin bleaching products with high amounts of
    hydroquinone and mercury, with the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa
    urging people to “reject all colonial notions of beauty”.

    Those who start using skin lightening say they invariably stay with the practice.
    Before you know it, it has become some addiction where you want to maintain
    that look. Just like with plastic surgery, it begins to feel like it’s never
    enough.