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Somali authorities mistake SAMSUNG brand for an English word

By Tajuddin
In OPINION
Feb 20th, 2016
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Samsung Service Center in Mogadishu

Samsung Service Center in Mogadishu

This article by: Shafi’i Mohyaddin Abokar
Email:shaficiislow@yahoo.com

The content of this [report/study/article/publication…] does not reflect the official opinion of the DIPLOMAT NEWS NETWORK.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

– Somalia’s authorities have mistaken the brand name [SAMSUNG] for an English word, as the campaign against billboards written in foreign languages intensifies, while Somalia’s Identity documents still write in the English language.

Passport is the key document of one’s national identity. It is a document which relates somebody back to the country where they are from.

I am taking the passport as an example; because Somali government’s recent orders to ban billboards written in foreign languages are contradictory to what is being practiced in the offices of the governmental institutions.
One main example is that on Somali passports, names of passport holders are written in English, while they could still write in Somali. For example somebody’s name appears on their passport as Hassan Abdi, not [Xasan Cabdi] which is the Somali language version of that name.

This is not an anti government article, but it is absolutely meant to illustrate that Somali government officials’ announcements are not always in line with what they are practicing in their offices, because they don’t do as they say and their ears don’t hear what their mouths are saying.

Somali authorities are now in a major campaign against billboards written in foreign languages, but to my surprise they went to Samsung headquarters in the capital and erased the word [Samsung] from the board fixed on the front wall of the building. This campaign was lead by officials including the spokesman of Mogadishu’s local government.

Samsung is a major international brand which I was first thinking that authorities of Somali capital might have been familiar with, but it didn’t happen. I reached several people for comment. They said that it was a shocking experience that leaders are mistaking a brand name for and an English word.

A university lecturer in Mogadishu who demanded anonymity for security reasons, said it was misfortune that Somali leaders don’t know what they should have to do, but instead are mistaking a major international brand name for an English word.

“We are living in a country where authorities don’t know their duties. There are too many things to do instead of wasting time and energy on billboards. The security is very poor, the city is not tidy and rubbish is scattered on everywhere. So many Somali children don’t go to school, because they are from poor families who can’t afford to pay for their education, so I would say the government should tackle all those problems before fighting billboards” said the university lecturer.

The government says that the removal of billboards written in foreign languages was part of the campaign to promote and encourage the development of the native language in a country which almost seems to be abandoning from its local currency and the use of US Dollar has been more popular than Somali shilling.

I contacted over 125 Somalis and more than 98% of them suggested that there are more other important things which must be Somalianised instead of fighting billboards. Below are the recommendations I have gathered during my survey.

· Names on Somali passports and National IDs must be written in Somali language.
· The country’s annual budget must be announced in Somali shilling instead of US dollar.
· Government employees must be paid in Somali shilling. Not in US dollar.
· Somali authorities must make announcements in Somali language.
· Billboards on governmental institutions must be written in Somali language.
· When parliament meets list names of MPs in attendance must be written and announced in Somali language.
· Somali leaders had to speak in Somali language during the recent vision 2016 meeting in Mogadishu, as most of them addressed in English and they will hopefully do so in the future.

However, these are the most important suggestions made by the people surveyed in this article, but it is yet unsure whether the Somali officials who didn’t come to power with the consent of the people would listen to these suggestions.

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