The Intellectual Dishonesty of Professor (Senator) Abdi Samatar

By Adan M. Dawad

Senator Abdi Samatar: “The Union of Islamic Courts would have dictated to the rest of the country had they followed my advice.”

Senator Professor Abdi Ismail Samatar said that if President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed were his student, he would give him an F, a failing grade. Samatar argued that the International Community should force President Mohamed to resign the way it had forced him to resign ten years ago. Seven months ago he called on people of Mogadishu to kick the United Nations out. It is only in Mogadishu where a tenured Professor can call for violence. Goobjoog, a TV channel co-owned by Abshir Bukhari, the deputy chairman of the Upper House, interviewed him.

Senator Samatar claimed that he had advised the Union of Islamic Courts against expansionist adventures, and that he blamed them for the massacres of Somalis by “Amhara who invaded Somalia.” Amhara, an Ethiopian ethnicity, did not invade Somalia in 2006. The Ethiopian government sent its troops to Somalia “to protect the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia” then based in Baidoa. “I taught thousands of students. I have never lied to them” Professor Samatar said.

A Professor who honours a code of conduct (e.g. not to lie to students, not favour some students over others or not to be close romantically to a student) has discharged his duty. This does not place the Professor on high pedestal to use incendiary language or concoct vague phrases such as Soomaali Xalaal ah (a legitimate Somali). Mogadishu is a city still grappling with the traumatic debacle of 1991. Thirty years ago today forces loyal to General Aidid and Ali Mahdi were engaged in what some analysts had described as a fratricidal war.

Professor Samatar told the Goobjoog interviewer that the Union of Islamic Courts “would have dictated to the rest of the country had they followed my advice.” What did Professor Samatar teach students other than megalomania evidenced in his brazen self-promotion? The conclusion one can reasonably infer from Professor Abdi Samatar’s diatribe is his disappointment with the incumbent President who did not consult him.

In 2012 he wrote a post-election piece for Al Jazeera news website. He did not declare his interest: that his brother Professor Ahmed Ismail Samatar ran for the Somalia presidency. He exploited the editorial flexibility of Al Jazeera to write as a biased analyst. The definition for this attitude is known as intellectual dishonesty.

By Adan M. Dawad