Editor’s Note: Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud spoke to the Twin Cities Somali community Friday at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Fartun Weli—a Hopkins resident and executive director of Somali women's health education and advocacy group Isuroon—shared this guest column about Mohamud’s visit.
I couldn’t go to the Convention Center to welcome our new president Hassan Sheikh Mohamed, but the energy of those who were there is amazing. I have never seen so many Somali members so happy and supportive of any president since the civil war started. They said the new president has vision and communicates well with the ordinary Somalis. He cares about the poor, especially women who have suffered unbearably. Some compared his communication style with President Obama, who Somalis admire.
My husband, Jamal, was able to attend the event, and he came home energized and happy. My husband always said he will never go back to Somalia but now talks about going back to volunteer to help rebuild our country. Somalis at the convention chanted, “It’s a new beginning for Somalis and Somalia”.
I am usually very critical of Somalia’s leaders and don’t trust the election system. However, I had a good feeling about the new president and hoped that he doesn’t disappoint me. Therefore, I watched his entire speech on YouTube, and I was struck by the choice of his words. He used healing words and reminded Somalis that we are all brothers and sisters. President Hassan said, “The world is three days—yesterday, today and tomorrow. If some Somalis are still holding resentment about the civil war, they will miss better opportunities of today and tomorrow.” The president urged reconciliation and better communication among Somalis. He promised to build transparent government and bring back the integrity of Somalia.
President Obama acknowledged our new president and his government. This means the United States will be funding Somalia to rebuild. Hopefully, (insurgent group) Al-Shabab members will be captured so they don’t kill any more civilians. I am thrilled to have my Somalia back. Now I have two countries that I both love.