Operation Restore Home – Letter to the Somali People
To all our members, supporters, ambassadors, activists and volunteers around the world, I greet you all with the Islamic greetings of peace, asalaamu calaikum waraxmatullahi wabarakaatu.
As director of Worldwide Somali Students & Professionals (WSSP), I would like to take a few moments to articulate the state of our movement, our vision for this New Year and the support we need from the Somali people.
Since March 2011, when we announced our intention to execute Operation Restore Home, our reach and support among the Somali people has grown tremendously, to which we thank all of you, our members and supporters around the world.
This growth in our reach is not just reflected in our online audience - as measured by the number of users who follow our Facebook fan page (over 6,000 people), watch our YouTube videos (over 75,000 views) or visit our webpage (more than 300 visitors per day) - but also by the organisational structure we have built around the world in just over 9 months.
We now have WSSP Ambassadors in just about all continents and countries around the world where there are large Somali populations. We have clear structures of organisation for both the professional and student divisions. As we grow, these structures will serve us well in helping us channel our strengths and expertise to where they are needed.
With just over 6 months to go before the start of Operation Restore Home, it is important for our members, supporters and all good-intentioned Somalis with interest in this endeavour to understand the logistical challenges ahead. When we announced this Operation, we were under no illusions of the difficulties ahead.
We knew that it would take many months and years to see the fruits of our labour. We knew that in order to affect change in Somalia, we needed to present an alternative vision of who we are: a vision that elevates “Somaliness” to the centre stage and one that replaces the tired, divisive and destructive ideologies of tribalism and regionalism.
But above all, we knew that our collective silence would only fan the flames that have engulfed our country. I know that some of you are sceptical that without a lasting peace in Somalia, endeavours such as Operation Restore Home are unlikely to gain much traction in the long run.
Let me be the first to say that peace in our country is undeniably the missing catalyst and it is true that our efforts will be challenging if the status quo persists. But to all members and supporters, do not be disillusioned by the situation in our country. As a global youth movement we have done more for peace in 9 months than you think.
We have done this by uniting Somalis from all parts of our country to the cause and by putting our nationalism and love for our country ahead of any monetary or other short-term interests. Somalia will return to its greatness and inshallah we will all live to see that day.
Despite the above mentioned challenges, WSSP will follow through on its ambitious target of getting up to 1,000 committed Somali professionals and students to take part in Operation Restore Home. The emphasis on “professionals” and the order of words is not a coincidence here.
We will be relying on Somali professionals to lead the efforts. At least half of the 1,000 individuals intended to take part in the Operation are likely to be individuals who already reside in Somalia and have expressed/demonstrated interest in taking part. Approximately one quarter will consist of WSSP support staff and personnel who will be providing logistical and technical support from their respective locations but not directly involved in the Operation.
The rest will consist of individuals who have been chosen by the WSSP board of management either because they have demonstrable experience in their respective field, involvement with the efforts of WSSP for at least a 6 month period or preferably both.
There are specific dangers inherent in flying individuals from the Diaspora to parts of Somalia where there is either ongoing conflict or the risk of conflict at the scheduled time of the Operation. Thus I would like to re-iterate that the numbers of individuals who WSSP will be responsible for and who will fly from parts of the Diaspora community for the purposes of Operation Restore Home will be limited.
Given that our members are scattered across different time zones and have different commitments according to these time zones (e.g. different term dates for universities), we will also be looking to have different times of departure for different countries. More details of this will be made available in the coming months. Whilst we cannot predict what the situation will be like on the ground in 6 months time, it is my responsibility as director to minimise any dangers that may result as a consequence of carrying out this Operation.
That is why we will be implementing the above criteria for selecting individuals who will be under the official WSSP Register of Participants (ROP). All individuals who will take part in the Operation will be requested to sign a legal document for the contractual terms of agreement which will summarise the expected conduct within the scope of the operation.
Moving forward, I would like all Somalis with interest in seeing a Somali people who are united by the cause of re-making their country for the better, to take a few moments to go to our website (www.wssp.org.so) and register yourself with a modest donation of $10/$20.
We are planting the seeds that will bear tomorrow’s fruits and the time is now for the Somali people to unite and say with one voice “enough is enough”.
Kasim Mohamed Ali
Director of WSSP