Is Somaliland an Independent Nation?

By | December 3, 2019

In 1991, a country was born of blood. It was built from the rubble of what
many consider to be Africa’s worst civil war. Driven from a genocide
the entire world ignored. It has three and a half million citizens. And its expats live in almost every
major nation on Earth. And yet, I wouldn’t be surprised if
you’d never even heard its name. After all, you won’t see it on your maps,
because your mapmaker doesn’t believe it exists. You won’t hear your government praise its successes,
or denounce its failures, because your government doesn’t
admit it exists either. You won’t learn about it in school,
or hear about it on the news, because nobody, absolutely nobody,
seems to admit that this country exists. And yet, here I am. Sitting on its roofs. Paying with its currency. Meeting its doctors. This is definitely a country. The real question is, why won’t we admit it? This episode is not about the history of Somalia,
or the civil war that destroyed the country. For more information on that, I’ll be releasing
a second video called the Hargeisa Holocaust. No, today’s video is just meant to answer
one simple question: Is Somaliland a country? Even asking the question alone
is a threat to my life. When I mentioned online I was visiting Hargeisa,
before I even said a single thing about the videos I intended to make,
I was sent death threats. Simply coming here was enough to have people
threaten to murder me and my family, because they suspected if I visited
I’d say things they didn’t want said. And honestly, they’re probably right. But what I found most interesting about it
was that those who’d claim to want me dead weren’t your typical extremist. They lived in Western countries, and were raised
predominately in North American school systems. They weren’t the uneducated masses. They weren’t Al Shabab. But my point in telling you that isn’t
to garner sympathy for myself. Getting threats in this line of work
is nothing new. I mention it because I want to make it clear
that an independent Somaliland isn’t a topic that people take lightly. You may have never heard of the country,
but to many people around the world, it’s worth dying for. Perhaps more, it’s worth killing for. And yet, even with that weighing on my mind,
I suspect that neither side of the conflict is going to be too happy with me
when I’m done. Because although I truly believe in an independent Somaliland, I’m not entirely supportive of what they’ve done with their independence. They’re a nation living in the doorstep
of legitimacy, and their survival is dependent on convincing the world they exist. But over the last few years, they’ve fallen
into the same traps of that dictatorship that led them to rebel. To explain what I mean, let me
take you back for a second. In 1960, the two newly independent states
of British and Italian Somaliland merged to become an ethnically driven super state. Their intention was to put aside clan differences
and create a country that could stand up to their larger, independent neighbours. In their grand vision, Djibouti, the Ogaden
and North Kenya would follow in turn. Once they saw the glory of a pan-Somali state,
how could they help but fight to join it? Yet, nothing is ever so simple. Agreements are only as good
as the people who create them. And the unity that was on everyone politician’s
tongue wasn’t exactly on their mind. Less than a decade after the two ex-colonies united,
a Southern-backed army murdered the president and took the entire country by force. While they claimed their intent was to stop clannism,
the reality is that they only intended to stop those who didn’t support them. Those clans that now found themselves outside
the inner circle would almost immediately feel the effects. Although they shared a single ethnicity, and had fought together against their neighbours for thousands of years, the reality is that
the Somali people had never really been united. The agreement of 1960 that had combined them
into a unified nation was a very ambitious test. A dream being forced to serve
as a foundation for reality. But for all the statecraft underway, the clans that dominated the nation had seen little cause to change. Power sharing only works if those
with power are intent to share. With their autonomy threatened,
once independent regions almost immediately began to reimagine themselves as autonomous. And in that clan division, the newly minted nation
of Somalia began to crumble almost as soon as it began. In the north, the Isaaq had ruled
for hundreds of years. They stretched from the Ogaden in Ethiopia
up into Djibouti and across Somaliland. Be it British imperialism, Somali unification
or an independent democracy, the heads of the Isaaq would always
expect to remain in power. They were the dominant group, they had
the historical ties, and it was their wealth that would keep things stable in their lands. Going against them, in effect, would be akin
to going against the entire north. Whether the smaller clans agreed
to it or not. Civil war was inevitable, and less than
thirty years after they’d come together, the country saw one of the worst in Africa’s history. As he had with all other clans in the country,
the dictator gave the Isaaq an ultimatum. Surrender or starve. But they had no intent to do either. The binary didn’t suit them. They decided to go with the silent
third option: resist. By the mid 1980’s, acting in parallel to a number of
other rebel groups across the nation, the north revolted in a way
that couldn’t be stopped. They would be independent again,
or they’d die trying. But the elites of the South weren’t
just going to let them go quietly. The dictator had to act or risk
losing his status. But I suspect few realized just how
atrocious his response would be. Barre’s answer to their rebellion was so vile it has been
appropriately nicknamed the forgotten genocide. The second and third largest cities in the
country were bombed to near total destruction. Prisons were emptied
so they could make way
for innocent civilians whose only crime was
to the wrong clan. Tens, if not hundreds of thousands of innocent
people were murdered in cold blood. But just because one side is evil
doesn’t make the other side pure. To their great discredit, the rebels of Somaliland
attempted to return the favour. This was war, after all. But despite being unable to act on the
same scale as those they opposed, atrocities were felt on both sides. Those that still preached unification in the lands
they claimed as theirs would see their wells poisoned and their families executed. The ends were always intended
to justify the means. In 1991, the dictator was in exile
and Somaliland declared itself independent. They returned to the borders that the British
had carved out hundreds of years before, and began setting up the trappings
of a modern state. Today, their independence is undeniable. The freedom index rates them higher than
any of their neighbours, including Ethiopia. They’ve instilled democracy and accepted
peaceful transitions between elected officials. They’ve centralized a bank
and created a currency. They’ve taken part in international diplomatic organizations, and entered legal contracts with multi-national corporations. They’ve created an independent military,
judicial system, and modern constitution. They even have a tourism industry. They’ve done virtually everything it takes
to call one’s self a country. The only thing they lack is recognition. So for over twenty five years, Somaliland
has been waiting for a nation, any nation, to call them free. And for twenty five years, the governments
of the world have turned a blind eye. With virtually no money on the table, superpowers
simply aren’t willing to stick out their necks. And why would they? Despite what Western politicians claim, freedom
is not in and of itself a sound political theory. If they publicly supported the people of Somaliland
in choosing their own fate, how would that reflect in their own countries? There are many reasons the world rejects
the obvious independence of these people. Canada, for example, will never support a breakaway
region so long as they have a Quebec. A Spanish politician may hear Somaliland,
but they think Catalonia. China punishes any nation that speaks of
Tibet or Xinjiang as anything but Han land. And on the continent, the African Union,
under an Ethiopian eye, would much prefer Greater Somalia
remain unstable. If their separatists can form unique nations,
what stops Ethiopia from dividing into its many disparate parts? And of course there’s always the money. The companies that have immorally wrestled
control of Somalia’s wealth would prefer not to have a second government to bribe
into submission, thanks. The reality is that nobody cares enough about
3 million Somalis to fight for their freedom. We sit at home and watch Blackhawk Down
and pretend that it’s all a lost cause. But that’s just our ignorance. The reality is that there’s simply
nothing in it for us. Freedom ain’t free. But as I said in the beginning, I don’t
think this video is going to please anyone. Because although I’m willing to stand here
and say that Somaliland is an independent nation, it isn’t what it claims to be. It claims to be a functioning democracy. A nation with a constitution, founded
on the principles of freedom from oppression, and independence for those who desire it. But for many of the minority groups
locked within their borders, this isn’t a reality they would recognize. Calling for reunification with Somalia
is enough to get a prison sentence. Poets and journalists sit in cells today,
simply for expressing their political opinion. Massacres of smaller clans have taken place
in both Eastern and Western regions, and will no doubt continue in the absence
of international pressure. The principles that drove the Somalilanders
to rebel are being repeated by the Somalilanders. No matter what else I say,
that can’t be ignored. So yes, Somaliland is a country. It deserves to be able to make its own choices
about how to govern its land. We, as the international community, should recognize
the incredible feats it took to get them here. We should understand what it means
when we leave them out in the dark. Oppressing minorities, no matter
how awful it is, doesn’t negate statehood. Locking up journalists, as much as it pains me
to say, doesn’t negate statehood. Many states oppress their minorities and
many states have no true freedom of expression. But as I’m sure that many of their citizens
will be watching this video, I want to speak to the country directly. If you’re a citizen of Somaliland,
I want you to take a look in the mirror. You deserve statehood as much as anybody. You don’t have to be a perfect nation
to be a nation. But if when you do look in that mirror, you even
for a second see a hint of the ghost of Siad Barre, I want you to realize that there’s more
to a nation than independence alone. You know what it’s like to be oppressed. You know what it’s like to have your voice silenced. To be put in jail for your opinion. To be killed for your clan. So take a look at those in Adwal,
in Sool, and Sanaag. Those crying out for justice in your own lands. And remember what it was like for you. Don’t just be a nation, Somaliland. Be a nation worth supporting. This is Rare Earth. But for the many…
Just gonna wait for him to slap by.

100 thoughts on “Is Somaliland an Independent Nation?

  1. Rare Earth Post author

    This entire series is thanks to you.

  2. X Man Post author

    Somaliland is a state within Somalia like another 5 other states

  3. CJ X Post author

    Its funny how its almost always the north american somalis ( who by the way, have either never been to somalia, or are to scared to return there) , who are the quickest to play down the somalilands independent case…….

  4. Leo Conchola Post author

    Somaliland wants Independence they want to leave Somalia yet there's always some type of conflict going in

  5. Slender Man Post author

    It’s the same nation as Somalia. Hell, the people there are literally Somali.

  6. Dont Worry Post author

    Okay buy i dont get it are somalis and somali landers the same people like? Theyre all somali aint they???

  7. My More Post author


  8. tom hurley Post author

    Loads of Somalis from London are getting sent back by there parents cos they think it's safer than London

  9. Jjhjjjk Farah Post author

    The thing is that you don't understand is that somaliland is not more stable than somalia plus if somaliland becomes a country there would be conflict and the autnomous region in somalia will aslo seperate from somalia such as puntland there will be no more somalia

  10. Jjhjjjk Farah Post author

    Why don't you also mention the other 5 states in somalia like somaliland im from somaliland not everyone wants to be independent in certain areas which they force to remove the blue flag and jail you for it.

  11. True Comment Post author

    Somaliland is part of Somalia and it is one of the sixth state of Somali Federal republic. No division any more by white man. Go and divide Northern Ireland from UK or Spain.

  12. Mike Letterst Post author

    Somalians want independence from Somalia so they can create Somaliland. Yep, makes perfect sense!

  13. Jibis Lakis Post author

    It is sour subject it's all about clans I was born and raised in moqadishu and I wouldn't want my neighbours to be burned In their homes if they gained peace then i hope it remains forever

  14. Josh Johnson Post author

    I have a master's degree and consider myself well informed on international issues. I learned quite a bit. I was aware of Somaliland but since it was unrecognized believed it was not legitimate. You have broadened my understanding. Thanks.

  15. Noah Embry Post author

    Imagine the alternate history….a United States of Africa…..its beautiful. it could be just like America, but we only took six wars to figure it out. sorry I still called you British Somaliland at the beginning

  16. Truwoman Capote Post author

    Omg… The British are coming! The British are coming!

  17. CertainDeath777 Post author

    I love the quality of your videos. Great Audio, Great Pictures.

  18. mzlopez uk Post author

    People from issaq clan pray for somalia's destruction so they can have their fake nation somaliland aka issaqland recognised in their little issaqland if your not from their issaq clan you will be treated as a second class citizen and especially if you are from the darod clan. I am from darod clan and issaq clan are mentally ill people they have soo much hate for somalia and somali people from darod clan but darod are true somali patriots and never give up on somalia somalia hanoolato

  19. Roro Post author

    Wow, I was told this info my whole life; but this summarized everything so amazingly, thanks.

  20. MrHyro Post author

    Nations keep nations illegitimate by denying they exist… what happens if citizens deny a nation exists?

  21. the jaramogi Post author

    Thanks for this video and yes you are hitting the Nail on the Head.
    My ancestry are mixed and from the North and I respect the stabilization of Somaliland. They should strive to make it a country and not based on clansman-ship but every Northerner!

  22. Storm Post author

    your ability to pack emotion into a single final statement is startling – really good work. <3 from Australia

  23. Jack Mark Post author

    maxeey kenya iyo ethopia iyagoo ka kooban dhowr qowmiyadood u midesan yihin . somali oo hal qomiyad ah ne qabil qabil ugu so kala tagayaan.

  24. Jack Mark Post author

    isaaaq laba gobol uu daga qabilada kale ma qasbanayan waa yaabe

  25. Abdurahmaan Abdurazaaq Abdullah Sugule al-aswad Post author

    I'm from and live in Somaliland and I'm against it being an independent country. We and Somalia are 1 people, 1 culture, 1 religion and 1 history. We rise together or we fall together. Clanism and so on will just stop us. If Somaliland decides to become independent whats stopping other parts of Somalia from splitting away? What happened in the past was wrong but the Isaaq weren't the only people who had bad shit happen to them. It's best we stay together

  26. Pharaoh Akhenaten Post author

    Good job from a Djiboutian and fuck those threats brother👏

  27. Christopher Foret Post author

    @3:20 those guys holding hands walking stopped holding hands when they saw camera?? wonder why?

  28. NoRegrets Post author

    wow thanks for reviewing my homeland where im living in right now

  29. Joshua Stefanides Post author

    White man knows what’s best for your country huh?

  30. Nayland Smith Post author

    Yep, looks like the typical African shithole. Thanks for the confirmation.

  31. Mr. CU NT Post author

    I hooked up with a girl from Somaliland for a lil bit. She was there till she was 8 n then she moved to Canada. She was super chill n would tell me about Somaliland. Her family was really nice but super strict when it came to certain things.

  32. Mad Cinder Post author

    When it comes to recognizing a nation, I don't really feel the need to look at what they did in the past. If atrocities make one ineligible, then we couldn't recognize Germany or Russia or Turkey or China or Japan or nearly any other country. Most have done terrible things to become what they are now. That's not what matters. Remember the past and learn from it, but look forward, move forward.
    Every nation that wants to break away from a larger entity should have that option. Most people in Quebec would rather stay in Canada, and they prove this every time. If they voted to leave, then I'd be willing to let them. But they haven't, and so they shouldn't force that on the majority who don't want to leave.
    Catalonia is not Quebec. Artsakh is not Quebec. Somaliland is not Quebec. And the same goes for so many others, ones that most people have never heard of. When the people want to be free, they should be. When the people don't want to be free, they should at least have that choice.

  33. Jack Mara Post author

    Well Somaliland isn't the only defacto state in Somalia. Also Putland is a defacto independent territory. And the regions held by Al-Shabaab in some kind too.

  34. chek arooz Post author

    Sometime it is more difficult to unite if you are of same race. May Somaliland be free and join other countries in dignity and pride.

  35. Mohamed Saeed Ahmed Post author

    Welcome to the Republic of Somaliland a politically stable with no terrorist attacks.
    you can actually visit the Country and it is becoming an attractive African destination

  36. akbrooks70 Post author

    I like geographical documentaries so I watch these, but I absolutely hate his narration…

  37. Roger Exposito Post author

    Geez man! Who writes those last lines of yours! Another wonderful and eye-opening video. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.

  38. Jai R.Emmett Post author

    "Street assaults over tattoos", I'd really like to hear the details here

  39. herroherrar Lee Post author

    im from Merka city Somalia love my Somaliland blood brothers

  40. The Truth Post author

    2001 Referendum:

  41. Matteo de Robertis Post author

    How much of what happened is Italy's fault? I feel a little guilty right now

  42. HappyBeezerStudios - by Lord_Mogul Post author

    I see it very simple: If a group considers themselves to be their own people, and others around consider them their own people, they have the right to govern themselves of their choosing. Be it part of some other country, part of their own country, semi-independent, scattered around others, etc.
    They are people of their own and should be allowed to choose their fate themselves.

  43. Luxembourg Time Post author

    $10 that if they changed their country’s name people would acknowledge their existence

  44. King King Post author

    SomaliLand consist of 5 regions 3 of them want to be unified with Somalia and they are Awdal, Sool and Sanaag.
    But way this regions 3 want to be unified with Somalia because the south Somalia fight "Siyad barre" the dictator and make him flee out of Somalia.
    In a nutshell south Somalia is the one who defeated "Siad barre" the dictator who attacked what is now called SomaliLand.

  45. Paul Okano Post author

    Just discovered your channel Rare Earth, thanks for telling the story of Somaliland!

  46. EJZYEBEJZYE Post author

    Have you realized that almost every single civil war on earth was because or had something to do with the borders that Britain carved after freeing their colonies? Hmm just a coincidence lmao

  47. Rosolino Lo Sciuto Post author

    L'Indipendenza e la Sovranita' e' stata parziale mentre la democrazia e' del tutto soggiogata

  48. Fasolati Post author

    If Somaliland should be given independence because they are clan of 3 million then Ogadens in Ethiopian region should be given independence also.

    The ogadens from Darood clan have population of 5 million and are Somalis. If that is not possible then Somaliland independence should not be allowed.

  49. Jamal Warsame Post author

    Thanks a lot god give you bless you and whatever you want

  50. Brett Post author

    The U.S. is about ready for balkanization like these African countries.

  51. True Comment Post author

    Somaliland state of SOMALIA 🇸🇴
    #We are better together
    # Welcome to Hargiasa

  52. Sisi’s drawing tutorials And more Post author

    I am somali and this is 100% accurate

  53. Cernunnos Wild Post author

    It'll take generations of being consistent with the attitude you mentioned here.

  54. Abdimalik Caddare Post author

    l am from somaliland thank you so much for you documents and vidio about somaliland independent s

  55. Jason Tang Post author

    "Don't just be a Nation, Somaliland, be a Nation worth supporting."
    Someone say's "Chills" down there, but it is serious and absolutely important.
    Greetings from Hong Kong – thanks for your intellectually rigorous and awesome video.

  56. Habi Rashiid Post author

    I am 16years old from somaliland
    And i believe that one day my countary will be recognized

  57. Abdi Essa Post author

    I say this with all due respect I don’t give a shit about Somalia. We as Landers want nothing to do with them.

  58. yeah cheers Post author

    Fantastic documentary. Your videos provide a clear perspective in a world of chaos.

  59. Sahyl Hussain Post author

    A white westerner trying his best to divide United Muslim state. Remember how these Westerns colonised the Africa, divided middle east into smaller nations. A United Muslim force is threat to them. When Muslim nations are small it's easy to control and influence. When a country is geographically big you will have more resources and economic opportunities to build and become a powerful force to recon with. Instead of getting divided, be a bigger country which can become one of the strongest country in Africa. I urge Somalians to be United to achieve this big dream.

  60. Abhi 739 Post author

    How can somaliland be nation, when it survived on Somalian resources, language, education for thousand years

  61. cabdi deeq Post author

    My advise to all the Somaliland people is to be patient
    Keep doing what u are doing and u will reach your goal with or without. International support

  62. Comedy Effect Post author

    why would a guy in western society be so stuck up as to send death threats to someone because they talked about a country they've probably never even been to?

  63. We live for COD Post author

    When I first heard Somaliland I thought it was a theme park 🤣😂😂


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