Michael Rubin: A Mercenary Writer or a Lobbyist?

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Abdullahi Ahmed Suleiman

Mercenary writers are known in the west. They are paid to write on anything regardless of whether it is morally right or wrong and normally these writers are unemployed. Anyone can hire them as long as they are paid. A mercenary writer is a hired gun for the money. His loyalty lasts as long as the cheque keeps coming, which means he could be working for someone else the next day.

Mr. Rubin qualifies as a Mercenary writer, he is paid to disseminate disinformation on Somalia that contains fabricated stories and misleading content intentionally dressed up to look like factual information. The sole purpose is to sway the public opinion by making the reader believe indeed the information is true.

In March of this year, he was recruited as a lobbyist by the Somaliland administration, but evidently his connections in the Washington, DC, are not strong, hence his role is now limited in spreading false anti-Somali sentiment.

Mr. Rubin is neither a specialist of Somalia nor East Africa or Even Africa. His source of information comes from his clients who pay him to write what they want. Studies on the impact of fake news on Social media show that people who possess analytical thinking are less influenced by the news compared to those with low IQ. Though fake news has a more negative impact on a polarized society like Somalia as certain members of the community are obsessed with spreading fabricated stories against their opponents. Fortunately, less than 3% of the Somali population read Mr. Rubin’s op-ed pieces and 99.5% of them believe that he is a moron who is doing this purely for money.

There are people in this world who will do anything for money, so he is not unique in this case, but what is unique about him is the fact that he has a journal (Washington Enquirer) that publishes his shameless writings on Somalia and Somali leaders.

Somalia is heading in the right direction whether Mr. Rubin likes it or not thanks to President Farmajo and PM Khayre leadership. Many verifiable signs of progress have been made on a myriad of issues including the economy, education, foreign policy, and social development. Nevertheless, during the post-conflict period, governments do face difficulties to ensure 100% security, thus Al-Shabaab and other non-state criminal actors are using violence to exploit the “security gap”.

Restoring appropriate governance structures and building public trust is paramount to the stability and security of the country.

People like Mr. Rubin are paid to work on fragmenting the country into different entities. Although his endeavor to tarnish the new Somali image is failing, but his meager activities are exploited by greedy local politicians who are doing everything they can to halt the progress made by the current government. The enemy, both internal and external are united to divert the international public opinion to assure that Somalia remains a failed nation.

We need to keep in mind that state building is a daunting task and will not be quickly achieved, particularly in Somalia where the conflict existed for a longer period which obliterated the social cohesiveness and social fabric.

A comprehensive state-building strategy is needed that requires the support of Somali and non-Somali stakeholders. Also, educating the public on the threats the country is facing is a matter of a great priority. Al-Shabab is the biggest internal threat that Somalia faces. The FGS should try to initiate dialogue with Al-Shabab to bring the country into normalcy as security concerns are the biggest obstacle impeding the stability and the development of Somalia.

The anti-Somali sentiment writers will continue spreading their hatred. We will not keep silent, but continue exposing their true motives publically until we defeat them.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Markacadeey’s editorial stance.