Somaliland Foreign Minster Adna Adan Addresses Black American Political Association of California Convention

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ANN Reporter(SPRI), LOS ANGELES, 6 Oct 2003--The Somaliland Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Adna Adan Ismail, addressed the 25th anniversary of Black American Political Association of California ( BAPAC) held at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday evening, October 4, 2003.
Among the participants of the large gathering attended by prominent national, state and local leaders, celebrities and writers were:

- Former Speaker of the California State Assembly, and current mayor of city of San Francisco, Mr. Willie L. Brown, Jr,

- Mr. Herb J. Wesson, JR., Speaker of the California State Assembly

- Community Activist, Mr. Danny J. Bakewell, Sr.

- Theodore S, Chadler, Vice President, Fannie Mae

- Los Angeles City Major, Mr. Jim Kahn

- Los Angeles City Councilwomen, Janice Kahn,

- Former governor of California and current mayor of Oakland, Jerry Brown

- Arianna Huffington, syndicated columnist

- Jessie Jackson

- Lieutenantt Governor of California Mr. Cruz Bustamante

- Congresswomen Diane Watts and many other politicians. Among celebrity hosts were:

- Freda Payne - Singer/actress

- Hattie Winston,

- Ted Lange - Actor/comidian

- Glynn Turman - actor

- Marl Gibbs - actress

- Michelle Nichols

- Sheila Frazier(Star Trek)

- Dick Anthony Williams and

- Todd Bridges(differnt Strokes) and many others.

Following is Full Text of the speech of the Somaliland Foreign Misister, Dr Edna Adan Ismail to the convention:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is indeed a great honor for me to be invited to participate this highly prestigious occasion. I was humbled by your invitation and have accepted with pride on behalf of all Africans, and particularly on behalf of the women and children of my country.

First and foremost, allow me to convey to you that greetings and congratulations I bring you from the government and people of Somaliland on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Black American Political Association of California.

As you well know, the Horn of Africa, which is where I come from, has often been referred to as a chaotic trouble spot where warlords rule and bandits roam. I am sure that some of you have seen the highly prejudicial movie 'Black Hawk Down' which has portrayed the Somalis of Somalia as brutes whose favourite pass-time is killing.

Ladies and gentlemen let me clarify this from the outset: I do not come from Somalia. I come from the Republic of Somaliland, which is that peaceful, stable, democratic and independent country next door that very little is known about and whose achievements I am proud to present to you today.

Established as a British Protectorate in 1884, Somaliland was granted independence on June 26, 1960, by Royal Proclamation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. On the same day, the relevant documents establishing the transfer of sovereignty of Somaliland were deposited with the United Nations in accordance with United Nations procedures pertaining to Decolonisation. Immediately the newly independent country became recognised by 34 UN Member States, including the five Permanent Members of the Security Council. This made Somaliland the first Somali nation to become independent and also become a member of the United Nations.

Five days later, on the 1st of July 1960, our next door neighbour, Italian Somalia, also gained independence and untied with Somaliland thus making our country, Somaliland, the more senior of the two partners even though their act of union was never ratified by the parliaments of the two countries.

Regretfully, as in many partnerships, the initially hopeful union of the two young Somali countries ended in disaster culminating in decade of civil war between Somalia and Somaliland from 1982 to 1991. During that time, the military regime of the dictator Siyad Barre of Somalia perpetrated war crimes and acts of genocide against the people of Somaliland, killed a quarter of a million people, destroyed 90% of the cities of Somaliland, drove nearly half a million people from their homes, and littered the countryside with over one million landmines. These atrocities have been well documented by international forensic experts and are still visible today.

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