Open Letter to Somali Community in UK

By Abdirahman Omar Osman (Eng. Yarisow),
Mogadishu, 17 April 2016

My fellow Somalis in the United Kingdom, I am writing this letter to you [Somali Community in UK] with a view to encouraging and persuading you to unite all your efforts and to come out in full to support the campaign to ensure Britain remains part of the European Union.

I have joined the campaign to keep Britain Stronger in Europe from Mogadishu, 6934.66 km away from London. And I would like you to join the campaign too. My main worry is that if we Somalis in UK don’t understand the importance of our vote and don’t come out on the referendum day to vote, we may see a different result than what we want and what is in our interests. It is time that we all debate and fully understand the importance of this timely referendum. The last referendum in UK was in 1975, and at that time we didn’t have the opportunities that we now have, most of us in 1975 did not imagine that one day we would become UK Citizens and that we would be voting on a decision making process that will be vital for generations to come.

Please look at the Stronger-in website to see more on the benefits of remaining in the EU. Please also share this link with your friends and family, and encourage them to join the campaign too. As you can see from this link UK will have better economy, better leadership and better security if it remains part of EU. The UK economy will be stronger, which in turn helps the growth of the economy by creating more jobs and delivering lower prices for our families in UK. According to statistics around 24 billion UK pounds of investment comes from Europe to UK. We Somalis in UK travel to Europe so frequently, therefore, that we will, for instance, be able to enjoy cheaper airline tickets and strengthen the connections among European Somali communities. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also come out in public to strongly support the campaign to remain part of Europe and warn of the consequences for the global economy should Britain vote to leave Europe.

We Somalis in UK are better off being in Europe. As part of a strong, unified Europe, the UK is one of the leading nations around the globe; it is in all our best interests to be part of EU in order to maintain our position in the world. Britain will be safer as the security threats we face now are global meaning we need global solutions and partnerships working. Being part of Europe means more jobs and opportunities for our children as they enter the job market, after graduating from universities in UK. We Somalis in UK are the greatest beneficiaries amongst the various communities in UK, as our first generation are now completing their universities and are looking out for jobs.

As you are all aware the campaign has already begun in UK ahead of the referendum day on 23 June 2016. This is the day that people in UK – all of us – will decide whether to be part of the European Union or not. I would remind you that Britain is part of Europe geographically and can no longer apply the isolationist views of past centuries. Secondly the UK Prime Minister, Rt Hon David Cameron MP has already negotiated a better deal with all EU member states’ leaders and was given, exceptional, unique and secured special status deal that UK will still maintain its sovereignty in many ways, such as the military, immigration and so on. Therefore, I strongly believe that it is the interest of UK citizens to be part of the rest of Europe so that the European Union will be stronger, more efficient and fit for its purpose. Without UK, the EU will be dangerously weakened and unable to fulfil its roles and responsibilities effectively. With a weaker EU, UK will also be weaker even if as an isolated geographical neighbour. Europe needs the UK as much as the UK needs Europe.

The reason I am writing this letter to you is that I understand very well the importance of engaging with you, as I am a member of Somali Community in UK. When I was in UK I was one of Community Leaders there. I vividly remember on occasion 10 years ago, we knew that if we united and put aside the differences that plagued our homeland, then we would achieve a lot. As a result of our unity of purpose, we focussed and were effective in the political situation in our home country. After 8 years in Mogadishu helping the Somali government I am confident that our sacrifices were well worth it, as the country is now more stable and peaceful than in 10 years ago. A lot of that was made possible by the assistance of the British government, as UK has played a significant part in these improvements. It is now time for us to respond and support the country that has helped Somalia. Therefore, I strongly encourage you all to realise our potential influence and unite in this campaign as it is in our interest and in the interest of our future generations in UK. A stronger EU will be good not only for UK but also for our beloved home country too.

Rt Hon David Cameron MP, UK Prime Minister and Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP, the Labour Leader and the Leader of the Opposition are both campaigning in support of the remaining part of Europe. The issue, therefore, is not along political party lines, but rather a nationwide issue that affects all parties, all UK citizens and all citizens of the world. Jeremy Corbyn has warned there could be a “bonfire” of workers’ rights if the UK votes to leave the EU in June. UK Government believes that the UK will be stronger, safer and better off by remaining as a member of a reformed European Union.

I hope that I have managed to set the scene for you, I want to begin an active discussion with you all on how we can ensure that we all vote sensibly in our best interests on 23 June 2016 so that our voices are heard, very loudly and very clearly. I strongly urge you to stand up and unite for the sake of our future generations and work so incredibly hard to talk to your friends and family members to convince them to join the campaign.

This is no time for fear or worst, disinterest and disengagement – constructive or otherwise. It is a time to scale up and get involved. If we don’t stand up for what we believe in, no one else will. The consequences of leaving Europe will be great. And they will be devastating. We must vote so we don’t have to regret the consequences of the outcome later. Please continue campaigning and make sure that we all vote on 23 of June 2016 so that Britain will remain a member of the reformed and more effective European Union.

Abdirahman Omar Osman (Eng. Yarisow)
Former Minister of Information / Treasury & former Senior Advisor & Spokesperson to the President and two Prime Ministers of Somalia. Worked UK Local Government for 10 years as Housing Manager
[email protected]

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