Friday, December 31, 2010

A message to the Somali youth in 2011

By: Bashir Goth

The youth of my people, the future of the nation, I am addressing this letter to you as a person who grew up in a different era than yours. An era when stories about independence were still fresh; when feelings of Somali nationalism were stronger than clan loyalty; when we sang for a dreamland called Greater Somalia; an era when the blue Somali flag with the five-cornered white star in the middle symbolized a home for all Somalis in the Horn of African region. An era when we were imbibed with nationalistic songs such “NFD dhankeedaa, Dhinacaa Jubuuti, Dhulka la iga haysto, Ee dhaxal wareegay, Inaan dhagar ku galo, Oo dhiig qulqulo ayaan ku dhaarsanee…” An era when as children we slept and woke up with the Somali Radio playing “ Hawd iyo Danood, Haadaamo mee, Sow anaa hurdee, Sow anaa hurdee, Haadka la iima wadhin…” An era when tears used to well up in the people’s eyes and hearts used to pump faster with the melancholic lyrics of Abdillahi Qarshi: “Dadkaa dhawaaqayaa, Dhulkooga doonayaa, Hadday u dhiidhiyeen, Allahayow u dhiib…” the tunes the BBC Somali section still rings in its programs with many people not realizing that the lyrics of this tune were one time the La Marseillaise of the Somali people. An era when Somalis saw each other as brethren and the rallying cry was “Soomaaliyeey toosoo, Toosoo isku tiirsada eey, Hadba kiina taag daraneey, Taageera weligiineey…”.

I am addressing you also as a person who saw all these dreams dissipate; who saw the men and women who fought for these dreams die broken hearted and humiliated and many of them even imprisoned or killed. I am addressing you as a conscientious citizen who watched and observed his country descend into a killing field where brothers brutally slaughter each other in an unprecedented fratricide. As a person who to the best of his ability expressed his pain and frustration over the situation of his people in prose and poetry. I am addressing you not as a saint who has no sins of his own but as a Somali like any other person of his era who sometimes felt weak and almost crushed by the evil of tribalism. A person who knows the pitfalls and trappings of tribalism and can forewarn you of the dead ends and black holes ahead of you.

Harnessing technology

Youth of my people, I want you to look around and take a good stock of your bearings. I am sure what you see is ugly and depressing. It must not be only absurd but starkly anachronistic that you groan under the heavy burden of tollaayey culture in the 21st century when youth of your age elsewhere are changing the world beyond our recognition and for the better.

To remind you of some excellent examples, you already know or heard about Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, the 27-year-old founder of Facebook who was named person of the year by the Time magazine for his epoch making revolution in founding Facebook. By choosing him as The Person of the Year 2010, Time magazine said Zuckerberg has deserved the honor : “For connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them, for creating a new system of exchanging information and for changing how we live our lives.”

Another young man Jack Dorsey, created Twitter in 2000 when he was barely 24. As you can read in his biography and I quote it: “Dorsey was fascinated by the technological challenge of coordinating taxi drivers, delivery vans and other fleets of vehicles that needed to remain in constant, real-time communication with one another. When he was 15, Dorsey wrote dispatch software that is still used by some taxicab companies today.”

Back on the continent, a teenager has made history by building a windmill and bringing electricity to his entire village in Malawi. At the age of 14, William Kamkwamba who dropped out of secondary school when his family couldn’t afford the school fees, he taught himself the principles of physics to make the windmill. His story published as a book “The boy who harnessed the windmill” has not only become a best seller but a symbol of defiance for what one can achieve through determination and single-mindedness.

These are only a few examples and obviously there are thousands of youth everywhere in the world silently weaving their own success stories through inventions, writing, learning, sports and music.

I am sure that many of you profusely use these social networks. You go to Facebook and Twitter on daily basis but I am not sure how using these youth-created technology services touch your inner soul. Does it ring a bell in you? Does it trigger your creative talents to do something to make a change to the way your fathers and grandfathers lived? Or does it goad you to use it for your primitive instincts of tribal allegiances -and enables you to add more veracity to the hatred-based clan culture that you inherited from your fathers.

Brain harvesting versus harboring tribal hatred

Youth of my people, as you can see the world as your fathers knew it has changed; technological explosions of volcanic proportions have created new realities, new cultures and new societies. Anyone who denies swimming with the flow or sits on the sidelines will be either crushed by the waves or left to rot on the banks. The pastoral life of your forefathers that was based on herding livestock, small subsistence farming and a primitive culture of small groups of family bloodlines huddling together against perceived enemies is no more sustainable and may soon disappear as the urbanization advances consuming all available land for modernized agriculture and industrialization while climate change takes its toll as well.

The most precious asset that you have in today’s world is indeed your brain. I reflected on this in my poem DAWAN which I wrote on 4th November 1998 on the inauguration of Amoud University:

“…Waxa maanta dunidani
La isku daba furaayaa
Dirirtuna ka joogtaa
Waa maadh dahsoonoon
Daymo lagu arkayn iyo
Dal waliba aqoon iyo
Inta uu garaad da’o…” (Dawan, November 4, 1998)

Yes, this is what you have to invest in and harvest, not rearing camels in barren lands or continuing internecine and outdated clan wars. That was the life of yester years, the life of your nomad forefathers. That does not mean that you cannot go back to the countryside and modernize the way the nomad and farming communities live, but to do so you must first gain education and shape your destiny not only with the aim of getting more income but also by shaping and advancing your thinking and your culture.

As the Somali adage says: “Dhar magaalo sida loo xidhaa way dhib yartahay, dhal magaalo sida loo noqdaase way adag tahay.” (It is easy to dress like city people, but it is difficult to get the character and values of city people – meaning civility)”.

If you think that by going to school, living in a city and dressing like city people you can become a civilized person think again. Education should change your mental attitude, your philosophy of life and should open up your mind to evaluate issues on their moral grounds and not on inherited cultural and tribal mindsets. Baffled by why Somalis do not learn from their interactions with other cultures, Jama Duale, a poet whose reflections I admire, not only comes to the same conclusion but also satirizes about the futility of the Somali claim of brainstorming through Qat sessions in the following lines of a poem he wrote in the 1950s:

“…Maraakiibta way raacayeen, reer masar ahayde
Mijilisyada way garanayaan, laga macaashaaye
Maroongigana way daaqaayaan, maalin iyo layle
Haddii anay mansuukhiin ahayn, maankii laga qaaday
Mirqaankeeedu Soomaali sow, meela uma sheego…”

There is a simple test to do to assess whether education has changed you or not. Your nomad cousin comes to you crying and tells you that the clan’s homestead has been attacked by enemies who just happened to be your mother’s brothers. What will you do? I say this because how you react to this issue will determine whether your education has changed you and made you a better person or whether your brain remains fossilized in old times. If you would rather jump to your gun and follow your illiterate nomad cousin to shoot the hell out of his enemies, in this case your maternal uncles, instead of telling him to go to the authorities and file a case, then you should know that you are only dressed like city people and your education has failed to change you and make you a law abiding citizen. Unfortunately, most of us, Somalis, are so imbibed with the culture of revenge and empty pride that the passion for Tollaayey takes the best of us and we react impulsively to the tribal call.

Tollaayda qabiilku , Maxay dad qareen ah, Xumaan qabasiisay (My poem Qiiro, December 10,1984.)

Youth of my people, if you look at the revenge-based Tollaayey culture that many of us are so beholden to and defend with pride; you will see that there is indeed no pride in it. What pride is there in killing your maternal uncles? What pride is there in killing of any human being at all, let alone a close relative? Have you ever stopped to ask yourself since when did your paternal ancestry become more sacred than your maternal one; since when did your father become more sacred to you than your mother to the point that you can easily kill your mother’s brother but defend your father’s brother to death.

Youth of my nation, you are the cyber generation and the world is your oyster, it will be unfortunate if you limit your ambitions, your careers, your future and your innovation capacity to the clan horizon. Why should you insult your intelligence by narrowing your opportunities while technologies invented by your peers around the world are broadening your horizon and proving to you that there are no barriers to the outreach of the human mind? You do not need to shorten your lives on fighting for clan farms; camels or water wells when all you need to own is a computer to unleash your creative abilities. Why do you allow yourself to fall into the tribal vortex that sucks you to the bottom, dehumanizes your personality and reduces you to your basic animal instincts of revenge and bloodletting? Think about how you can connect half a billion people around the world, break all barriers of culture, time and distance, and create your cyber community like Mark Zuckerberg instead of succumbing to age-old traditions and spending your energy and your talents on scheming how to kill your uncles.

“…Muxuu qab-qab dhaafay
Hoostana ka qalaalan
Intuu qacda foolka
Dibnaha ku qaniinay
Qadaadkana taagay
U qoystay waxyeelo
Tollaayda qabiilku
Maxay dad qareena
Xumaan qabadsiisay.
Nin walba qorigiisa
Intuu qacda waaga
Qorfaha kula hoyday
Miyuu qummuciisa
Walaal ku qiyaasay ?...” (My poem Qiiro, 1984)

Remember whenever you kill your fellow brother on petty tribal issues and you proudly stand on his dead body waving your gun, the world is laughing at you. Your peers in advanced countries see you as a savage. They dismiss you as a primitive, ape-like African fighting on camels and water wells.

“...Aaheey aah
Iyo aah
Sowka sheeka adduun
Ka qoraaya abkay
Ubadkooga iskuul
Afrikaanku alwaax
Inu yahay sida ape
Bahal ayda ku nool
Ku baraaya aqoon…”(My poem Amar Dhacay, December 17, 1984)

Youth of my nation, you have to make a choice. Do you want to be in the 21st century, take these successful young people of your age as role models and make your future and history from a computer screen or do you want to carry on your fathers’ and grandfathers’ mission of self-destruction over barren land and tribal feuds.

The world has changed. Old powers are crumbling and there are new forces on the march. After being many years in the dustbin of history, China and India are today writing the future history of human civilization. The Arab Gulf Countries are heralding the Arab re-awakening and reclaiming the proverbial glory of the Abbasid and Andalusian ages. The African continent is also experiencing what some people call as the African Renaissance. Africa is awakening to the new global reality. The new opportunities created by the access to the Internet and modern telecommunications technology are empowering people to free themselves from the clutches of poverty. It is you, the youth of Africa that have to lead this new movement of liberation against poverty, ignorance and corrupt regimes.

Youth of my nation, the older generation has let you down. They left you a legacy of shame and disgrace. The ruins of our cities, the refugees of our people everywhere in the world and the destruction of our identity and dignity are a living testimony to the stained heritage they left for you. It is a great burden indeed but the ambition and the vitality of youth can overcome all obstacles. All you need is to shun the past with all its ugliness, claim your future, break all barriers and embrace change. It is you and only you who can starve the tribal fire. Life is beautiful and you can make miracles if you follow your dreams instead of brooding over the broken dreams of the older generation. You are not accountable for the failure of the older generation; you are responsible only for what you do with your own times. Just recall the Quranic Ayah: “Those are a people who have passed away. Theirs is that which they earned, and yours is that which ye earn. And ye will not be asked of what they used to do”. (Al Baqara, 2:134)

Don’t ever be discouraged by the grim reality of our people. Grimness of any nation stays only as long as its youth allows it to stay. You have good examples in history. There are countries that are advanced and prosperous today that have seen worst days than we have in our region. The resilience of the human spirit knows no bounders and once you hit the gutter, the only option you have is to climb up to the top. And this is what you should do to wipe out the tears of your mothers and prove to them that their dreams in you, the dream of any mother for her sons and daughter, will be realized. You should reassure them that the long night would soon end, sing to them with me:

“Dalkaygow wallaahiye
Warwarkiyo waxyeeladu
Cidna lama walaaloo
Qofna weerka dhiilada
Wehel looma siiyoo
Kuma waaro ciilkee;
Waxad wayda haysaba
Waagii dhawaayoo
Walaacani ku haystiyo
Walbahaarku wuu tegi;
Wallee maalin dhow waqal
Weelka loo dareershiyo
War caloosha deeqoo
Gaajada badh wiiqoo
Wadnaha ii qaboojiyo
Weedh aan ku diirsado
Waayeelka hirarkiyo
Ababshaha wardoonkiyo
BBCiidu way werin…” (My poem Walbahaarku wuu tegi, 1999)

Youth of my people; you have the tools of enlightenment to fight the darkness of tribalism. You have the pen, the football, the music and the technology in your possession. Create your own sports and cultural clubs. When the nomads and farmers start their fratricide games, you reply to them by playing games together, reading books together, singing together, dancing together and meeting on Facebook and twitter to reach out to each other. When they battle with guns, clash on the pitch in peaceful, bloodless and friendly games. Prove to them that you would better play, dance, sing and embrace the beauty of life with your maternal cousins and uncles than kill them.

Reject the vulture politicians who live on the nation’s carcass, fossilized academicians with retired ideas who trade in intellectual prostitution and extremist mullahs whose mission in life is to kill everything beautiful so they could thrive on the rotting flesh of their mothers, sisters and daughters whom they killed for nothing more than selling vegetables in the market, breast feeding a child, laughing with a neighboring boy, singing in a wedding or wearing a bra.

Youth of my country, you can start your enlightenment revolution by proclaiming 2011 as the year of the Somali Youth Renaissance; a year that you walk out from the cloak of tribalism to the light of civility and modernization; a year that you see your fellow Somalis as your family members and not your enemies and other people everywhere as your brothers in humanity that you share with them one endangered earth and not as infidels that deserve to burn in hell. You should start your renaissance from yourself. Only when you liberate yourself from the clutches of the petrified medieval ideologies and tribalism and you forge ahead with your future shoulder to shoulder with the youth of the world, only then you can look yourself in the mirror and say: “Yes, I am free, I am my own man or woman”, and only then you can help others to stand up as well.

Shining moments

Luckily you don’t have to start from scratch. There are already some success stories with real heroes. The sheer number of universities the Somali people have established over the last chaotic two decades is a stunning example of our people’s resilience. The fact that Ridwan M. Osman, one of the first graduates of Amoud University, the doyen of Somali universities after the country’s collapse, is now pursuing a graduate course in the prestigious Cambridge University is a story of enormous hope. Dr.Hawa Abdi who along with her daughters have been chosen as the “Women of The Year of 2010,” by Glamour Magazine for their fearless efforts of running a hospital in a lawless country where the mere existence of women let alone saving lives in a battle field is a daily struggle, are exemplary heroes that deserve more than a Nobel Prize. A woman of equal tenacity though working in safer conditions is Dr. Edna Adan who established the first maternity hospital in Hargeisa. Fowzia Haji Adan who pioneered and campaigned for the creation of Hargeisa University is another shining example of how one individual can move a whole community to a good cause.

Ayan Ashour, and yes it always has to be a woman, as the inspiring force behind the creation of the fast spreading Readers’ Clubs in Somaliland including Maskaxmaal in Borama, Timacadde in Gabiley, HRC in Hargeisa, BRC in Berbera, Halkaraan in Burao and Anfac in Erigavo, is a woman whose interest and patronage of the Somali literature and music is comparable to what Madame Geoffrin was to the French Enlightenment in the 18th century or to what May Ziadeh and Rose Al Yousef were to the advancement of Arab literature in the 20th century. Not only does Ayan single-handedly organize and hold two major annual Somali cultural festivals in London and Hargeisa, but she also made it ritual of touring all the Reader’s Clubs around the country and attending their book reading sessions. Ayan is a woman who made her mission to keep the Somali culture alive and kicking against the barbaric onslaught being waged by dark forces. In a similar effort, though with less limelight, Maryan Omar Ali, Aryette, has collected, properly documented and archived 9000 songs through her personal effort and money. This is the literary heritage of the Somali people that would otherwise have disappeared into obscurity.

Youth of my people, these are the unsung heroes of our nation that you can keep in the focus. And apart from those outstanding personal stories, you have runaway success stories in the business sector. Isn’t it amazing how a country dubbed by the international media as a failed state has some of the most successful money transfer companies in Africa. How such a failed state managed to have as many airlines as any country in Africa flying to every corner of the country. How the Somali telecommunications companies are one of the best with the cheapest rates in Africa. How the Somali diaspora are despite the stereotyping and cultural stigma following them to every airport have created some of the most booming businesses in East Africa, South Africa, Minnesota and elsewhere. How thousands of second generation Somali-American and Somali-European children have excelled in schools and universities, tenaciously overcoming cultural barriers and the burden of coming from unprivileged refugee underclass. How many of them are educating, integrating and advancing in social and cultural hierarchies, trying like other fellow citizens to follow their dreams of becoming useful, tax-paying citizens. These are stories which are buried under the rubble of our demolished identity; under the hubris of an arrogant media infatuated with a patronizing attitude of nothing good comes out of Africa.

Youth of my people, it is you who have to change this condescending behavior towards our people by contributing positively whereever you are. And this again comes through education, integration and pursuing your rightful dreams. If you are confused about where to contribute back home as you see the Somalia that your fathers knew is no more, I can surely tell you that goodness somewhere is goodness everywhere. So just do it for heaven’s sake no matter where you do it. Does it matter if Dr. Hawa Abdi carries out her humanitarian services in Mogadishu, Kismayo, Dhadhaab or anywhere else in the world as long she saves human lives? Does it matter if Ayan Ashour fulfills her cultural revival passion in Somaliland, UK or elsewhere as long as her aim is to preserve the Somali poetry and music and spread enlightenment among the youth? Does it matter if you volunteer your services to the local community in your suburbs in Minnesota, London, Ottawa or Amsterdam? No, it doesn’t matter. To me goodness anywhere is goodness everywhere and so you should.

All you need is an open mind and to view the world through your own eyes and not through the prism of a tainted inherited culture. One good example about how your entrenched cultural mindset can block your thinking is a story that happened between my son and I. He was about three years old when one day he took some of his toy machines and started building something. Finding him so engrossed, I asked him what he was doing. He said he was trying to come up with a machine that keeps apples fresh all the time and prevents them from rotting. I immediately shot down his idea and told him that only God could do that. Stopping whatever he was doing, he turned to me with a baffled and frustrated look in his face and said: “Then what is the use of being human…” At that moment I realized the damage I did. With my closed mind, I tried to put a culturally tainted lid on my son’s enquiring and open mind. Who knows he might have invented the machine he had in mind. And even if he didn’t he would have at least exercised his mind with freedom and without any cultural barriers blocking his thinking. This is what I never did again. My son taught me a lesson in the power of free thinking. And if you have any doubt just imagine if Zuckerberg and Dorsey would have invented Facebook and Twitter if they had such age-tainted cloaks draped over their vision and looked over their shoulders in every move they made.

Youth of my people, as I conclude this personal appeal which I hope would find its way to your hearts, may I ask you to reflect with me on the words of the following stanza’s which I extracted from a long poem “Miyir Qabow” that I wrote in 1995 to free myself from the clutches of tribalism.

“…Ma dib jiro qabiilow
Qaadhaan ku noolow
Qudde iyo hunguriyow
Dheri qaaxo weynow
Qaddarkii dadkaygow
Qudh aad goyso mooyee
Nin aad qalato mooyee
Hooyo iyo qabkeedood
Kala qaaddo mooyee
Daka kala qaleeyoo
Kala qaybi mooyee
Miyaan reer qormayn iyo
Nabad aad u qaadhiyo
Qorsho iyo wanaag iyo
Kolla qawl macaan iyo
Qabar aan ku seexdiyo
Qurux kaa sugaayaa
Ma dib jiro qabiilow
Qaadhaan ku noolow
Muddaan kugu qarwaayoon
Qawlkii Ilaahiyo
Sidii waxad quraan tahay
Qalbigayga laabtiyo
Loox kugu qoraayee
Waxan qiiro weyn iyo
Qori kugu ilaashaba
Markaad qululo hoosiyo
Qodqod dayni weydeed
Qoys ku soo aroortaan
Gartay qiimahaagoon
Sanka kaa qabsadayoon
Xamaantayda qaatee
Waxba dayrka qoobkiyo
Qoorta ha iiga soo lalin
Abidkaaba soo qooq
Ninkaad xadhig qalloociyo
Booraan qarsooniyo
Qudhun hoosta kuu yaal
Qooraansi eegmada
Ku qaldayso yeelkii
Ani qaaba qowskiyo
Qulubkaad i gelisiyo
Mar haddii quruuxdii
Qaadir iga bogsiiyoon
Maanta miyir qaboobahay
Qabillow udbaha quro
Qummayoy bax oo dhimo
Intaa qaaday oo dhigay
Laynkaan u qaydiyo
Qabadsiiyey dawgee
Tixdu saban qad weeyoo
Waygu soo qayootee
Qormo kalena aan dego
Ninkii cudur qabiiliyo
Xin qareen dhaqaajee
Qoyskayga mirayeen
Qayd aan ku seexdiyo
Qabaal iiga teginee
Aar inaan u qoystiyo
Qori aan cabbaystiyo
Qummuc iga sugaayow
Qaan kuuma haystoo
Qoro inaan qabiil nacay
Ninkii naxali qabiiliyo
Qoonkii awowgii
Qarniyaal horoo tegay
Nin aan qolo wadaagnaa
Qatasha ugu jiidiyo
Qaadhaan fogaadiyo
Ani qabata xoogliyo
Qool ila sugaayow
Anuu qaras gaboodiyo
Wuxu Qaaddirkeen riday
Kaama qaan dhabaayoo
Qoro inaan qabiil nacay
Ninkii hayb qabiil iyo
Qudhac baynu wada nahay
Qadra Aabbaheediyo
Inaan dilo Qammaan madar
iigu qaylinaayow
Qoro inaan qabiil nacay
Gabadhaan ku qooqiyo
Maryan qaararkeedii
Cadawga iga qariyee
Nin ay quudhsanaysoy
Qolonimo wadaagaan
Qoorta uga geliyow
Qoro inaan qabiil nacay
Ninkaan laanta qaadkiyo
Qarjamida wadaagneen
Qaacida iyo heesaha
Qayibo godkeedii
Maalmo kula qayilayow
Saaxiibkaan u qadi jirey
Isna qurubka uu helo
ii qarooci jirey een
Maanta kala qaloonow
Qaan kuuma haystoo
Qoro inaan qabiil nacay
Kii qooddi beer iyo
Qindi meel u jeexiyo
Made qorraxdu duubtiyo
Qalax igu dilaayee
Carradaydi qaatow
Qaan kuuma haystoo
Qoro inaan qabiil nacay… (Miyir Qabow, April 21, 1995).

By Bashir Goth

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Haweenka Soomaaliyeed Waa Dheemanka Dalku U Aayey
By Bashir Goth

Nin deeqba haweenle baan ahay
Haddana dafiraaya baan ahay
Dabeecado jaanle baan ahay
Darbaal nin ku seexda baan ahay
Haddana ka dillaalayaan ahay
Nin dayn lagu biiliyaan ahay
Dawaro ku xeraada baan ahay
Haddana duhur jiifa baan ahay
Duddada nin ka buuqa baan ahay
Darroorrina joojin baan ahay
Duqayda nin caaya baan ahay
Digriiyo ku faana baan ahay
Talana dooyeysan baan ahay
Qudhaan dabanaynin baan ahay
Daayeer maryo loo xidhaan ahay
Haddana wax dacaayadshaan ahay

Cutubkan oo ku jiray gabaygaygii Soomaali Dafuufan Baan Ahay (1999) ayaan xusuustay markaan arkay deeqda ku dayashada mudan ee ay haweenka ka soo jeeda Awdal/Salal ee deggan dalka Ingiiriisku ay ku taageereen dhismaha jidka Boorama-Dilla ee hormoodka u yahay ururka ASARDA.

Ma aha mid curad ah oo waan uga baranay in haweenku ay wanaagga iyo samafalka u dabacsan yihiin, in ay dhisaan wixii rag dumiyey, fuliyaan hawshii rag ka seexday, oo ay hawl u heelanaadaan inta raggu hadal iyo huuhaa ku foogan yihiin.

Waxa dhab ah in deeqda cududa leh ee haweenka Awdal/Salal ay ku bixiyeen saacdo yar gudahood ay ragga ku qaadan lahayd muddo aad u dheer haddiiba ay huraan in ay wax bixiyaan.

Balaayo kasta oo dhacdaa waxay is beddel ku keentaa aragtida qofka, waxay u dillaacisaa indho cusub oo uu wax ku qiimeeyo. Taasi waxay dhaxalsiisaa in uu barto qiimaha runta ah ee wax walba leeyahay. Waxa ka mid ah in wax uu qofku markii hore qiimayn jiray uu ogaado in aanu qiimo buuran lahayn, wax uu indhaha ka lalin jirayna uu arko in ay yihiin jawharad aan qiimaheeda la malayn karayn oo ka qarsoonayd.

Haddaba waxa hubaal ah in balaayada Soomaali ku habsatay waxyaabaha laga bartay ay tahay qiimaha iyo doorka udub dhexaadka ah ee ay haweenk ku leeyihiin bulshada dhexdeeda. Waxa jirtay maalin uu Abwaan Xasan Sheekh Muumin ka hadlayey madal qaadhaan loogu ururinayey Jaamacadda Camuud magaalada Boorama uu sheegay in dadku markii ay balaayo dhacdo ay ka naxaan iyaga oo eegaya dhinaca dhibtda iyo dhiiladda. “Aniguse maanta waxan leeyahay” ayuu yidhi: “Balaayoy Mahadsanid. Maxaa yeelay dadka reer Awdal maanta jaamacad kuma ay fikireen haddii aanay balaayo dhicin.”

Waxa kale oo isla maalmahaa hadal kaa la mid ah yidhi Suldaan Yuusuf Aw Muuse Gasle isaga oo la hadlaya weftigii taakulada Jaamacadda Camuud oo uu kula kulmay tuulada Jaarraa Horato. Markii uu jalleecay in xubnaha weftiga ay ka mid yihiin dhalliyaradii dalka wax u baratay oo intii ay dugsiyada ka baxeen dabadeed aan dib loo arag ee Xamar iyo dhul fog u qadhaabsi tegey, ayaa waxa hadaladii uu madashaa ka yidhi ka mid aha: “ Horta maanta Ilaahay baa mahad leh. Idinkase wax mahad ah oo aan idiin haynaa ma jirto. Maxaa yeelay ciiddii aad wax ku barateen ayaad ka dhoofteen oo aad dib u soo eegi weydeen. Ciiddii ayaad ma dhalays ka dhigteen. Haddaba maanta markii Xamar dhibaato ka dhacday ee aad soo guryo hoyateen ayaad wax qabanaysaan. Markaa waxan leehayay Ilaaha meelihii aad ku dhuumanayseen idina soo saaray ee ciiddii idinku soo celiyey ayaa Mahad leh.”

Labadaa hadal ee xikmadda lihi waxay la cudud yihiin hadal aad uga dambeeyey oo uu yidhi ninkii Madaxweyne Obama u ahaa Horjoogihiisa Aqalka Cad (The former White House Chief of Staff) Rahm Emanuel , hadalkaas oo ahaa: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste, and what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you didn’t think you could do before.” (Qofna ma jecla in uu dhibaato xoogle oo soo martay khasaariyo, waxan uga jeedaa waa fursad aad u heshay in aad fuliso waxyaabo aad markii hore moodaysay in aanad fulin karayn.)

Hadaladaasi waxay inna tusayaan in macdanta fiican ee qofku soo bixi karto kolka uu balaayo la kulmo. Carabtu waxay tidhaahdaa marka cuudka la shido ayaa udgoonkiisa la ogaadaa.

Waxa hubaal ah in marka nabadda iyo barwaaqada lagu jiro ay dadku is dhigtaan oo aan wax badan la qabsan, balaayaduse ay dardar geliso qofka awooddiihiisa iyo rabitaankiisa si uu balaayada uga gudbo oo uu guryo samo u gaadho. Gabadhii Maraykanka ahayd ee la odhan jiray Helen Keller oo ahayd gabadh carruurnimo ku weyday aragga iyo maqalkaba dabadeedna rabitaankeeda iyo hadhiwaa la’aanteeda awgeed ku guulaystay in ay tacliin barato oo weliba ay buugag badan qorto waxay tidhi:

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” (Dhaladka qofka laguma kobcin karo raaxo iyo degnaansho. Sida keliya ee lagu soofayn karo nafta, himiladana kor loogu qaadi karo, guulna lagu gaadhi karaa waa iyada oo qofku dhibaato ku laylyamo.”

Markaa hawsha uu qofku u galo sidii uu dhibaatada uga bixi lahaa ayaa keentaa in uu helo sirta horumarka nolosha sida aan ka dhuuxi karno hadalka uu yidhi Abwaankii reer Swistzerland ee la odhan jiray Henri-Frederic Amiel qarnigii 19aad: “You desire to know the heart of living, my friend? It is contained in one phrase: make use of suffering.”(Saaxiibkayow, miyaad rabtaa in aad ogaato sirta nolosha? Waxay ku ku jirtaa weedh keliya: ka faa’iidayso dhibaatada.”

Haddaba waxa runtii caddaadatay in dhibta iyo balaayooyinka ku habsaday Soomaali meel kastaba ha joogtee ay soo faqday oo banaanka soo dhigtay run in badan inaga maqnayd ama laga indhola’aa oo ah in haweenka Soomaaliyeed ay yihiin dheemanka dalka iyo dadkuba u aayey.

In kasta oo waxa maqaalkan igu dhaliyey ay ahayd kaalinta wacan ee haweenka Awdal/Salal ee deggan dalka Ingiriisku ay ka galeen dhismaha jidka Boorama-Dilla, waxan jecelahay in aan xuso in haweenka Soomaaliyeed ay yihiin kuwa ay dhibta ugu weyni ka soo gaadhay balaayooyinka dhacay, sidaa awgeed ay taasi keentay in ay ka gilgishaan oo inta ay raggu dilka iyo burburka wadaan ay iyagu geedka nolosha adkeeyaan oo ay carruurtooda tusaan in ay ay dhibta ka soo bixi karto nolol qurux badan sida foosha xanuunka kulul ee hooyada ay uga soo baxdo nolol qurux badan.

In aan xuso hawlaha haweenka Soomaaliyeed qabteen waxay u baahnaysaa qoraal intan ka dheer iyo waqti badan, laakiin waxa marag ma doon ah in ay laf-dhabar ka yihiin wax kasta oo horumar ah oo meel kasta laga sameeyey. Jaamacadaha, Cusbitaalada, xarumaha agoomaha, jidadka iyo gurmadka aafooyinka intaba waxa si cad uga muuqda doorka lama illoobaanka ah ee haweenku ku leeyihiin. Intaa waxa weliba u dheer in haweenka dalka jooga ay yihiin kuwa had iyo jeer u xaydan sidii ay u soo kasban lahaayeen quud maalmeedka ubadkooga, kuwa dibadda joogaana intooda badani ay keligood carruutooda koriyaan.

Iyadoo ay sidaa tahay ayaa waxa la yaab leh in kuwa xaaraan quutayaalka ah ee qoriga la cararaya meelaha dagaalku ka socodo waxa ugu horreeya ee ay noloshooda iyo xuquuqdooda ku tuntaan ay tahay haweenka. Ujeedadooduna waxa weeyi iyaga oo og sida keliya ee ay nolosha dadka ku joojin karaan oo dadku isku dhiibi karaa in ay tahay in ay haweenka jidhkooga googooyaan, banaanada ku toogtaan, inta nolol ku hadhana hawada iyo qoraxda u diidaan oo iyaga iyo ubadkoogaba neefta ku dhejiyaan.

Waxa kale oo xusid mudan oo dad badani aanu aad u ogeyn in gabdhaha Soomaaliyeed ee ku nool wadamada Gacanka Carabta ay yihiin kuwa keliya ee ay ku tiirsantahay nolosha reerahoodu. Gabdhahaa oo u badan kalkaaliyeyaal cusbitaalada ka shaqeeya ayaa noloshoodii iyo mustaqbalkoodii u huray sidii ay waalidkood iyo walaahood u daryeeli lahaayeen iyaga oo weliba ku jira duruufo adag oo aad uga duwan kuwa ay ku nool yihiin haweenka jooga dalalka reer galbeedku.

Waxan qormadan ku soo xidhayaa in aan sida odayaasha aan hadalkooda cuskaday aan u hadlo oo aan idhaahdo: Balaayooy mahadsanid mar haddii aad na bartay qiimaha haweenkayaga. Waxase arrinkan iiga horreeyey oo waa hore arkay Jaamac Ducaale oo ahaa gabayaa caan ku ahaa degmooyinka Wajaale iyo Dilla oo gabadh uu dhalay oo la odhan jiray Bidhiidho ay wiilashiisii oo dhan uga fiicanaatay. Jaamac arrinkaa hadalhayn buu ka reebay oo wuxu yidhi: “Maalin baan goblami gaadhay, oo waa maalinta inanta Bidhiidho wiil iga noqon gaadhay”. Markaa aniguna waxan leeyahay Soomaalidu maalinta ay goblami doontaa waa maalinta haween Soomaaliyeed la waayo.

Nin deeqba haweenle baan ahay
Haddana dafiraaya baan ahay
Dabeecado jaanle baan ahay…

By Bashir Goth, Email:

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Suspending Universal TV turns more light on Somaliland

By Bashir Goth

The suspension of the popular Universal TV by Somaliland Minister of Information is a classic example of an outsider eagerly yearning to close the door behind him once he entered his coveted palace. Abdillahi Geeljire was barking loud a long time from the outside of the government palace, dreaming one day that his barking would be rewarded. Now, that his dream has come true and that his thirst for power has been satisfied, he wants to close the door behind him. How can he allow anyone else snarl at him or at his government?

It is an irony of sorts that Abdillahi Geeljire has been given his cabinet post as a reward for the caustic and biased propaganda that he used to write against Rayale’s government. People say that he used to be close to former President Rayale and when things went awry between them, he decided to wage a smear campaign against the previous government under the guise of being an opposition.

But now he feels the heat and because he knows the power of the media as it served him well, he is panicking that the same weapon might be used to unseat him and his government. This is why he has no qualms about kicking the ladder that brought him to the top lest others use it for the same purpose.

His accusation of Universal TV that it was harming the national interest is also another cliché often used by dictators and chicken-hearted politicians who don’t like anyone turning the light on the little things they do in the dark.

One thing that Mr. Geeljire is not aware of or maybe he is but decides to ignore is that using the false cloak of defending the national interest in axing and silencing the media is laughable to say the least. This is the language of yesteryears when the innocent masses were doped and enslaved on empty slogans. In the age of the internet and 24/hour news, only an un-savvy stooge would marshal such a feeble justification to gag a media channel.

Another fact that Mr. Geeljire and his ilk have to know is that a voice suppressed is always more powerful than a voice expressed; simply because once emotions are expressed they are ventilated, easing up tensions, but once you suppress emotions and opinions, they build up until they explode. So if Universal TV says little unfavorable things about Somaliland and your government, let it go because that is the safety valve for the simmering anger of the people. It purifies the air, mitigates the swelling anger, and makes the government eyes even sharper to see a little bit of reality.

It was Thomas Jefferson who once said "The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure."

It is through this spirit that even the American President couldn’t do anything when some idiotic person announced that he would burn the holy Quran even to the disgust and derision of the government and the public at large and the grave damage that this person’s action would have done to the American national interest. But freedom of speech is enshrined in the American constitution as the First Amendment and no one even the president can stop anyone from exercising their right to express their opinion freely.

The First Amendment is a beautiful and powerful statement that guarantees citizens their inalienable rights to speak their mind. It is a piece that empowers the individual and humbles the president and the government; a piece that you need not only to read and reread, Mr. Minister, but one that you have to hang it up in your office to remind yourself and all your visitors how much you care about the freedom of speech and how much you aspire to see Somaliland to have such values enshrined in its constitution.

In my opinion and maybe many others, being hostile to the media never brings positive results. On the contrary it results only in damaging the country’s reputation and portraying its democracy as a joke. Remember, it was the tide of the media that brought your party to the government seat. We can therefore tolerate if you buy some reporters and broadcasters as your employees as you already did, but we cannot allow you to get away with a wholesale emasculation of the media. Remember even Queen Arrawelo couldn’t get away with such action and instead of one Oday Biiqe and one Ilyuub watching over her actions, we have today many Oday Biiqe’s and hundreds of Ilyuubs watching over your actions and that of your government. Therefore, suspending TV stations and banning newspapers will only heighten our watchful vigil and incite us more to turn many more lights on your impropriety.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Shunning extremism on both sides

Bashir Goth

Burning the Quran, what burning! As President Obama rightly said this is just “a stunt” and without the limelight given to it by the sensation-seeking, globalized media that makes a mountain out of a molehill, Pastor Terry Jones would have remained an unknown pastor holed up in his equally unknown Dove World Outreach Center.

His prime objective was to bring world attention to himself and to his church and he succeeded; as the media brouhaha that is following his antics has just given him that.

One cannot blame the media for sniffing the source of news but it is the Muslims who can either deny Pastor Jones the opportunity to further exploit his media stunt for more self-promotion or fall for his cheap clownish gimmick and reward him for his action by giving him undeserved and unnecessary attention.

Muslims need not go any further to know that no force in the world, let alone a man who claims to have no more than three dozen people as his followers can obliterate the Quran. Jones says that he is waiting a message from God as to whether he calls off his burning of the Quran or not, but Muslims know that the Almighty God has given them his word more than 15 centuries ago and had unequivocally promised them that He and no one else has sent down the Quran and that He alone shall preserve it:

“Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur'an and indeed, We will be its guardian. (Al-Hijr 15:9)

It should be clear to anyone who believes and understands the power of this Ayah that no one can challenge the power of God and anyone who does that is just making an illusionary and futile attempt to deceive the world and to create a stunt to gain some transient and laughable worldly benefits for himself. With that in mind, it is expected of enlightened Muslims to take the moral high ground and act as the holy Quran enjoins them to behave in a situation like this:

“And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.” (Fussilat 41:34)

It is again the Quran that teaches Muslims not to reduce themselves to the level of the ignorant but rise above it and set a good example in civility and human decency when they receive ill treatment from an ignorant person:

“…And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace…” (Al Furqan 25:63)

It will indeed be unbecoming for any Muslim who knows the core message for which the prophet was sent to act any other way than to follow the Prophet’s footsteps and heed his words:

"The only reason I have been sent is to perfect good manners.”

So what manners one can imagine fits in this case than not to allow oneself to be dragged into the abyss by such a deviant person who has been disowned by his own church that he founded in Germany and condemned by and large by all religious denominations in America and the world and by the majority of the American political leaders regardless of their ideological orientations. It is, therefore, silence in this case that is more profound and more resounding than raising any commotion that could be counterproductive. It is not a silence of weakness but it is a silence that sends the most powerful message as the 9th century British Poet Martin Tupper said:

“Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech”.

In a situation like this, one may also take solace of the inspiring story of Abdul Muttalib and the Abyssinian King Abraha. Just as Pastor Jones wants to burn the Quran, Abraha brought with him a massive army, many of them mounted on elephants, to destroy the Ka’aba of Mecca, the place of worship of the Arabs at the time and the most venerated place for all Muslims now. The story goes that when Abraha’s army reached the vicinity of Mecca some of his army looted 200 camels that belonged to Abdul Muttalib, the grandfather of the Prophet Mohammad, who was also the most respected elder in Mecca and the custodian of the Ka’aba.

Abdul Muttalib came to the camp of Abraha and demanded the king to return his camels to him. Surprised to hear that all Abdul Muttalib wanted was a compensation for his camels and not to dissuade him to leave the Ka’aba, Abraha asked Abdul Muttalib why he didn’t talk about the Ka’aba instead of his camels. Abdul Muttalib’s answer was simple and clear:
"I am the master of the camels,” he said, “whereas the Ka’abah house of worship has its lord to defend it". And when Abraha indicated that no one could defend it from him, Abdul Muttalib told him that he was on his own. Finally, Abraha gave him the camels back, while the fate of his mission is well illustrated by Surat Al Fil (The Elephant).

Over 15,00 years ago and through his Bedouin wisdom, the Prophet’s grandfather realized that it was futile to hassle with a daring ignorant over something that was in the hands of a better defender than him and his clan.

Another striking lesson for Muslims in feeling pity for the actions of the ignorant is the story of how Prophet Mohammad reacted to the calamity he met in the hands of the people of the village of Taif when he went there to call them to Islam at the beginning of his mission. Instead of listening to him, the people of Taif ridiculed him and sent their children and the insane to chase him out of the village by throwing rocks at him. The story says that when Mohammad was out of the village he was soaked with blood from head to toe and his shoes were clogged to his feet.

Seeing him in this pathetic state, the Archangel Gabriel brought him a message from God telling him that if Mohammad wished God would order the Angel in charge of the mountains to move the two mountains on either side of the village to collide and crush the people to death. Mohammad’s reply which should stand as a glaring example of tolerance and rising above ignorance was:

“O Allah, guide these people, because they did not know what they were doing.”

One finds no better and no wiser example in dealing with a situation like that of Pastor Jones or any future misfit begging for media attention than that of the Prophet. Anything else will only be facing ignorance with ignorance and igniting a fire that will burn good people on both sides.

The best lesson that both Americans and Muslims can learn from this incident is that extremist people are a minority voice that don’t represent anyone one but their own deviant souls. Therefore, Americans should know that when a fiery Muslim cleric shouts death to America, he doesn’t talk on behalf of the millions of Muslims around the world who admire the good values of the American people and likewise Muslims should realize that when a person like Pastor Jones shouts burn the Quran, the majority of the Americans see him as a nut case who doesn’t represent the great American people.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Two roads, similar history – Awdal Road and Fairfax Country Road
Bashir Goth, Washington D.C, Sept. 07, 2010

It is more than 30 years since the people of Borama started their long journey for the building of the Borama-Dilla Road. They started their bidding in the early 1980s when the construction of the tarmac road coming from Hargeisa was abandoned at Dilla. Ever since, the elders of Awdal have tirelessly raised the issue with every government delegation and every NGO that came to the region. Now after almost 30-odd years, the people have realized that an external assistance was not forthcoming and the only way they could build the road was to rely on their community’s resources and effort.

Having that in mind, it was inspiring for me to read a similar story in the pages of the Washington Post where the community of Fairfax County, Virginia in the United States, had to wait for 50 years for the construction of a road. I just happened to open the pages of the paper’s Sunday edition on Sept. 6, 2010 to read the following title:

After 50 years, Fairfax County Parkway finally heads toward the finish line
As I delved deeper into the story with great interest I was amazed by the resemblance of the history of the two roads despite the difference between the two communities in terms of wealth and civilization. The Fairfax Country Parkway was built in pieces just like the Borama-Dilla Road is being built now, mile by mile.
"The funding has been so uneven over the years, and as a result it got built in pieces," said Rep. Gerry E. Connolly, who served as a Fairfax County commissioner for 14 years before being elected to Congress in 2008.

Just as the Awdal community found the government to be an unreliable financial supporter and had to rely instead on local money, the Fairfax County community also found the state to be a non-reliable funding partner and had to resort to local community for support.

"The state wasn't a reliable funding partner, and an unusual percentage of the project got funded by local dollars,” Connolly said.

The comparison, however, has a more bitter taste for the Fairfax County community as their County happens to be the most prosperous county in one of the most prosperous states in America, while the Borama-Dilla Road is located in one of the poorest regions in Africa. Therefore, while the progress of the Fairfax Country Road was hampered by government bureaucracy, the delay of the Borama-Dilla Road was partly due to lack of resources and partly due to lack of proper appropriation of the government’s meager resources.

"It has taken seven Virginia governors and the better part of four decades to complete a 35-mile roadway in the most prosperous county in one of the most prosperous states in the country," said Bob Chase, executive director of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance. "That's relevant in terms of how complicated and difficult it is to advance critically needed transportation projects in Northern Virginia."

As the Fairfax Road nears its end, the community there has already started dreaming of a brighter future where metro services should come to the area.

"Metro has got to be a part of our future," Connolly said. "It's got to come down I-66 to Gainesville, it's got to come down I-95 to Potomac Mills and we've got to have light rail down the Richmond highway corridor.

Maybe it is time for Awdal people as well to start planning for the post road period, a period where they have to dream of a new dawn of larger highways and even train or metro systems connecting the different parts of the region. But as Connolly urged the Fairfax County community for patience by saying:

"These things are critical projects for the future…but these things take time. You can't just do them overnight." I may also caution the people of Awdal that with patience and perseverance that you will prevail. So fellow Awdalites, stay the course and know that you are not alone in your struggle for development as you share history with one of the richest counties and states in America.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Should Somaliland allow the formation of a unionist party?

Bashir Goth

Ludicrous idea, isn’t it? How can I suggest such a treacherous idea when I am known as an unflinching advocate for Somaliland’s independence and sovereignty? How could I dare even to utter the ugly U-word which I have denigrated so forcefully and irrevocably in many of my writings? I can see jaws dropping with bewilderment, devoted readers unbelievably double checking the source, and some of those already besotted with cynicism against the loyalty of clans on the fringes of Somaliland jumping to conclusion as soon as they see the title without reading any further and saying with a great sense of satisfaction: “Hey, gotcha? We knew all along that he was a unionist in disguise?” Likewise, I can see also unionist “Somalilanders” getting ecstatic about my rebellious approach.

Before anyone jumps to any conclusions, I would like to point out that Somaliland has chosen democracy as its system of government. And democracy entails equality and freedom for all citizens. Under the tree of freedom come its many branches such as freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion. Under the umbrella of this system of democracy and freedom comes also one’s right for dissent among many other rights. Any tax paying citizen should have the right to challenge the political system and be able to express his/her political opinion in a peaceful way. Democracy is not only about conformity, or herd mentality, or even about seeing only different shades of the existing system; but it is also about calling for dismantling the existing system and taking the nation’s destiny to a completely different direction if need be. It is therefore the right of every citizen to demand and promote the political system he/she sees as suitable for the country.

If the Kulmiye government opens the gate for the creation of many political parties as the party’s leadership promised during the election campaign, I can envisage many parties carrying different ideologies and diverse political orientations coming to the political scene. Other than the plethora of clan-based parties that will choke the party pipeline, one can anticipate the arrival of some ideology- based parties such an Islamic party, a secular party, a liberal party, a social-democratic party and most probably a communist party. With the onset of such unfettered democracy I don’t see why it should still be a taboo to create a unionist party, demanding Somaliland’s reunification with Somalia.

In Somaliland today there is a strange and unfounded fear of anyone expressing an opinion for union. Strange because Somaliland has adopted democracy as a political system and democracy is indivisible. You cannot deny citizens to demand their democratic rights to hold and express opposing views; and unfounded because the people of Somaliland have made their choice to abandon the union and reclaim their sovereignty with their own free will. Therefore to punish and criminalize people for calling or publicly advocating for the Somali union is an insult to the intelligence of the people of Somaliland. If anything, it shows insecurity and paranoia about the sustainability of the Somaliland project.

The absurdity is that any Somali from anywhere in the world, particularly Somalis from Ethiopia, Djibitouti, Kenya and even Somalia can enter, stay and do business in Somaliland, but Somalilanders who happened to have participated in the politics of Somalia cannot attend even the burial of their own relatives in Hargeisa, Borama, Buroa or any other place in Somaliland. Somalis who hold high political posts in Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti are welcomed in Somaliland even though they uphold their respective governments’ official position of rejecting the recognition of Somaliland, but Somalis who hail from Somaliland by birth are treated as criminals and thrown into prison if they step on the soil of their homeland and are not even allowed to visit their ailing mothers. Their only crime is that they oppose the secession of Somaliland. This makes Somaliland democracy and freedom a cruel joke, at least to the families of the victims of such an absurd reality.

And finally, here is the beef. Yes, I am a firm believer in Somaliland’s sovereignty and independence and will remain a staunch advocate for its recognition. The people of Somaliland underwent great suffering and yet still found the courage and willpower to invest a priceless amount of energy, time and wisdom in creating a country from scratch and establishing such an admirable model of democracy in Africa. And despite its lack of recognition, I want to see Somaliland determined to uphold its constitutional democracy and hopefully one day be a guiding light for African countries as well as others professing democracy yet denying their citizens basic rights. Obviously, neither I nor any sound human being would like to see Somaliland’s achievements go up in flames for someone’s fantasyland dreams, but I also strongly believe that Somaliland has attained a high degree of political maturity to democratically and peacefully challenge and defeat anyone that confronts its legal rights at the ballot box. Hence, I resent seeing my beautiful Somaliland that stands on unshakeable democratic pillars, behaving like a banana republic by incarcerating and denying its citizens the exercise of their political rights. And that includes allowing the minority unionist individuals to raise their voice and form their own party. We all know that such dissenters do not stand a chance of winning any votes, but giving them a political platform may contribute to deflating their argument and saving their lives from dying in the hellfire of Mogadishu.

28 August 2010.
Mr. Cukusow Wax La Qariyo Qudhun Baa Ku Jira

Bashir Goth

Sida aan ognahay waxa ay warbaahinta Somaliland fidisay digniin uu Afayeenka Madaxtooyada Somaliland Cabdillaahi Maxamed Daahir (Cukuse) uu u jeediyey saxaafadda isaga oo uga digay falanqaynta iyo faragalinta arrimaha Diinta iyo Qabiilooyinka.
Ma aha markii ugu horreysay ee Cukuse uu isticmaalo erayga “digniin”. Waxana la yaab leh nin sheeganaya Afhayeen Madaxweyne oo isticmaalaya erayga “digniin”. Haddaba, waxa habboon in uu Cukuse ogaado in aan erayga digniin aanay ku jirin xeeraka Afayeenada Madaxda. Saxaafadda digniin lama siiyo. Maxaa yeelay marka aad tidhaahdo “Waxan uga digayaa” waxa daba taalla ciqaab, waxana markaa ka dhan-dhamaya digtaatoornimo, waxana ay xambaarsan tahay “shaqo ayaan idinka qaban doonaa”, taasi oo la mid ah ul taagan. Waa car juuq haddii kale is jira. Digniini ma aha hadal ku habboon Afayeen dal dimoqraadi ah oo xaqdhawraya saxaafadda xorta ah ee aad adigu bahda ka ahaan jirtay.

Afhayeenka waxa looga fadhiya in uu erayada uu odhaanyo ka fiirsado, eray kastana eego miisaanka uu leeyahay iyo macnaha uu xambaarsan yahay. Waa in uu wax kasta magaciisa ugu yeedhaa. Taasina arrin fudud ma aha haddii ay isaga la dhib yar tahay.
Waxa jirta sheeko tidhaahda faylasuufkii Shiinaha ee la odhan jiray Konfushiyas (Confiucius) ayaa mar la weydiiyey waxa ugu horreeya ee uu qaban lahaa haddii dalka xukunkiisa loo dhiibo. In yar markuu fikiray ayuu ku jawaabay: “ Waxa ugu horreeya ee aan qaban lahaa waxa weeyi waxan sixi lahaa wax kasta magaciisa. ( I would rectify the names of things).” Ninkii su’aasha u soo jeediyey ayaa isaga oo yaaban weydiiyey: “oo arrintaasi siday xukun wanaag u keeni kartaa?” Markaas buu faylasuufkii ku jawaabay: “ Marka wax kasta magaciisu qaldan yahay, hadal caqliga gala laguma hadlo. Marka uu hadalku caqliga geli waayana waxna sida ugu habboon looma qabto. Marka waxna sida ugu habboon loo qaban waayana dhismaha bulshada ayaa dhaawacma. Marka dhismaha bulshadu dhaawacmana ciqaabta iyo dambiga ayaa is le’ekaan waaya. Marka ciqaabta iyo dambigu is le’ekaan waayaana dadku waxa ay garan waayaan wax ay sameeyaan. Ninka qummani wax kaleba ha sameeyee waa in aanu hadal aanu u meel dayin ku hadal.” Sidaas bay diinteenuna u tidhi: “ (ilaahay) Aadam wuxu baray magacda….Wa calama Aadama Al Asma’a…”

Haddaba, Cukusow waa inaad garataa in erayga kaa soo baxaa haddii aanad u meel dayin uu dhaawac gaadhsiin karo Madaxweynaha iyo dawladdaba. Hadhawna aanad Saxaafadda ku canaanan karin.

Haddaba waxa lagaaga fadhiyaa ma aha digniino aad bixiso ee waxa kuu banaan in aad beeniso wixii aan jirin ee saxaafaddu qorto oo aad bayaamiso waxay runtu tahay. Erayada aad adeegsan karto marka aad doonayso in aad saxaafadda toosiso waxa ka mid ah: “ Waxa habboonayd, runtu waxay tahay, waxa wanaagsan, ilama habboona, way fiicnaan lahayd, waxan talo ku bixin lahaa iwm…”. Markaa digniin maya.

Waxa kale oo aad saxaafadda uga DIGTAY in ay ka fogaato ka hadalka amuuraha Diinta iyo Qabiilka. Waxase hubaal ah in aanay saxaafaddu abuurin muranka diinta iyo hadal haynta qabiilka midna. Saxaafaddu waa dhuunmareen (medium) oo wixii dhaca ayuun bay werisaa. Qabyaaladda waxa baabi’isa caddaalad. Haddii ay xukuumadda jirtaa caddaalada baahiso qabyaaladda hadalhaynteedu wuu iska baaba’aa, laakiin ha ka hadlina kuma aasanto. Waxad ogsoon tahay in Diktaatoorkii Siyaad Barre uu yidhi qabyaaladdii waan aasnay ee qofna yaanu ku hadlin isaguna uu hoosta (Gosha)ku haystay. Markaa arrintiisu waxay ahayd aniga ayuun bay ii banaan tahay in aan ku shaqaysto qabiilka. Haddaba markaad amrayso saxaafadda in aanay qabyaalad ka hadlin miyaad illowday in ay saxaafaddu tahay ta looga baahan yahay in ay iftiimiso qaladaadka xukuumadda ee qabiilku ka mid noqon karo. Wuxu hadalkaagu u egyahay in aad leedahay indhaha naga weeciya(Laliya) waxbaan laaqanaynaaye. Ogsoonow saxaafaddu haddii ay u muuqan weydo qabyaalad xukuumaddu waddo wax aan jirin qori mayso.

Arrinta diinta waa laga hadli haddii xukuumaddu soo kala dhex gasho dadka iyo ilaahay. Dadkeenu Muslim buu ahaa 14 qarni iyo ka badan. Markaa haddii Wasiirka Diinta iyo Awqaaftu fidmo abuuro oo uu yidhaahdo wixii aad soo caabudayseen aniga hortay waa waxba kama jiraan ee anigaa dariiqa toosan idinku ridaya saxaafaddu xaq bay u leedahay in ay dadka weydiiso in ay raalli ka yihiin iyo in kale. Xaq bay u leedahay in ay farta ku fiiqdo in diin waageeni ahi ina soo gashay, xaq bay u leedahay in ay sidii dacawga ka daba cido ciddii ummadda soofdaran habaabinaysa. Haddii aad doonayso in aad sida gorayada madaxa aasato saxaafadda waxa ku waajib ah in ay dadka tusto in qarqarka dambe uuni ku muuqdo oo uu maduxu ku aasan yahay.

Hadalkaagu wuxu u egyahay in saxaafaddu damaqday boogo aad doonayso in ay qarsoonaato ama ajandha aad soo wadateen oo aydaan doonayn in dadku ogaado. Haddiise ay kaa daacad tahay waxa fiicnaan lahayd in aad faahfaahin ka bixiso hadalada laga argagaxay ee fidna diineedka inagu abuuri kara ee ka soo yeedhay wadaadka aad arrimaha diinta u dhiibteen. Mase illoobay wadaadku in Idaacaddu hoos timaaddo Wasiirka Warfaafinta oo aanu isagu shuqul ku lahayn. Miyuuse illoobay in dalka xornimo ka jirto oo aanu cidna ku dirqiyi Karin bucsharad uu dibadda kala yimid.

Ogsoonow Cukusoow saxaafaddu aamusi mayso weliba waxa u dambaysa in ay badka soo dhigto halka wadaadku ka damqanayo iyo cidda uu gacan hoosaadka la leeyahay. Haddaba inta aad saxaafadda u dig iyo damlaynayso bal horta xukuumadda aad Afhayeenka u tahay bar sida wax walba magaciisa loo yidhaahdo adiguna iska bilow, had iyo jeerna xusuuso in saxaafaddu mabda’eegu yahay: “wax la qariyo qudhun baa ku jiro.”.

Maqaalkan waxa lagu nashriyey baraha Internetka Somaalida 18 August 2010.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

An open letter to Somaliland’s President-elect: Congratulations but take heed

By Bashir Goth
July 01, 2010

Now that you have won the election; let me first congratulate you, Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, on winning the long-awaited presidency. It has been indeed a long journey for you and you have shown the tenacity and the single-mindedness it takes to be focused on your goal. I have admired your abilities to rally different sectors of Somaliland’s people behind you.

I also extend my congratulations to the people of Somaliland for their wisdom, dignity and civility. By coming out peacefully in their thousands in huge rallies during the campaign and giving equal respect and hospitality to all the three parties, our people have demonstrated a high level of political maturity. I have no doubt that history will witness Somaliland people as being the real heroes of the 26 June 2010 presidential election. They made us all proud Somalilanders.

Mr. President-elect, with the election now behind you, it is time that you have to be reminded of the people’s expectations. There is no respite for you. We cannot afford to give you a honeymoon. Not because you don’t deserve it, but because you have urgent work to do. Your table is already full. Apart from the promises you made during the election campaign which were too many, there are pressing domestic, regional and international issues that you have to deal with. In addition you are aware that as a veteran politician your legacy starts from day one. A political novice can be allowed to make mistakes. But any mistake from a veteran politician like you will be fatal. Therefore, you have to make it good on your first move.

Domestic front

On the domestic front, the most urgent work waiting for you is to unite the people that have been fragmented by the election campaign. We expect you to reassure everyone that you are the President of all Somaliland and not of one segment of the community.

It is time to depart from your confrontational rhetoric and show the magnanimity of a statesman. It is time for humility in victory Mr. Silanyo and not time for bravado and vengefulness. Peace is the foundation on which Somaliland stands. And sustaining that peace needs conciliatory leadership, inclusive government and a healthy democratic debate.

We will not judge you by the gaffes you made on the campaign trail, but we will judge you by the actions you take as a president. We will judge you by the kind of government you form, the political approach you adopt and the peaceful overtures you make to your political opponents. We will judge you by how hard you work towards delivering the promises you made during the election campaign. It is, therefore, up to you to decide whether you rise above local politics and see the bigger picture or immerse yourself deeper and deeper into the domestic bickering and tribal quagmire. Remember Mr. President-elect what is built by Tolay is destroyed by Tolay. So keep your distance from the Tolay mentality and lead the people towards nationhood.

You have come to the power on a message of change and hope; on transparency and good governance; on strengthening free enterprise; on building modern infrastructure; on the provision of good healthcare and quality education; on creating jobs for the youth and ushering in an era of economic prosperity; and on top of all on redoubling the government’s efforts to win international support for the legitimacy of our nationhood.

These are a tall order Mr. President-elect. But these are your promises and you are expected to deliver them. The clock is already ticking and people have started watching it. You accused the previous President by saying: “Riyaale wuxu sheegay in dhiishiisii u buuxsantay, anagu dhiil ka buuxsan mayno ee shacabka ayaan dhiisha u buuxinaynaa…”. (Rayale said he got his bowl full; we will not fill our bowls but we will make sure that we fill the people’s bowl). This is why many people have voted for you, Mr. President-elect; they believed in you and now they are dusting their bowls.

Mr. President-elect, we are a tribal society and as you know a tribal society is like a house of cards; if one card falls the whole house collapses. We have survived thus far by using our time-tested customary laws and wisdom in constantly mending our faults, constantly licking our wounds, constantly listening to the voice of reason, constantly yielding to reconciliation efforts and collectively acting to safeguard the greatest assets we have which is peace first, peace second and peace third. For only in peace we can dream and only in peace we can prosper. We expect you, Mr. President-elect, to nurture and sustain this peace at any cost.

Our women, Mr. President-elect, are the bedrock of our nation’s survival, the breadwinners of our families, the gatekeepers of our harmony, the goodwill ambassadors between our people at times of crisis and the strongest voting constituency. They need to be heard, to be well represented in your government and to be given the priority in all development projects.

Neighboring countries

Having friendly and mutually beneficial relations with our neighboring countries has been the basis of Somaliland’s peace and prosperity. Wisdom demands Mr. President-elect that you build on these good ties and take them to even higher levels. Ethiopia in particular has been a strong ally of Somaliland for a long a time. This is a strategic and mutually productive alliance for both countries; it is an alliance that has to be kept and handled with great care and diligence.

Somalia, Mr. President-elect, is totally another issue. Wisdom and experience have taught our people to stay away from it. Unlike Somaliland, Somalia has all the international community on its side. We cannot do a better job so let Somalia clean up its mess with the help of the international community. Somalia is our sisterly neighbor. We feel their pain, we pray for them and we hope that the opposing forces there would listen to the voice of reason and restore peace and stability for the people, but you have been elected to lead Somaliland to nationhood and it is obvious that Somaliand’s sovereignty and nationhood do not run through the blood soaked streets of Mogadishu. As I write this piece, Somaliland Election Commission is announcing the 2010 Presidential election results and I am sure you are excitedly following your victory and Somaliland people are jubilantly celebrating the occasion; but in Somalia, the President of the TFG is leading fierce battles against destructive and suicidal forces, tragically on the 50th anniversary of Somalia’s independence and it’s unification with Somaliland. The standing policy of Somaliland’s successive governments has been to avoid dragging ourselves into that quagmire.

Your duty, Mr. President, is to keep our borders tight and our people safe from the intolerant ideologies ravaging Somalia.

State institutions, political parties and The Election Commission

One final word, Mr. President-elect, democracy in Somaliland, though vibrant and glamorous, is still fragile. It thrives on herd mentality and lacks the acceptance of dissent voices. As a veteran politician we expect you to bring a more accommodative political environment where citizens can freely debate their opinions without fear of political repression and physical incarceration; where people can enjoy equal rights; where freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of worship are respected as basic human rights and where the rule of law takes precedence over tribal allegiance.

Creating state institutions where staffing is based on qualifications, integrity and competence and not on clan affiliations and nepotism could be a memorable hallmark of your term of office. You can make a good start by forming a lean and professional cabinet of ministers with a clear mission to bring a qualitative change of style in administration and to translate the message of hope and change that was your election platform into a tangible reality.

The three-party system we have, Mr. President-elect, has proved to be a protective shield against the fragmentation of our people into clan fiefdoms. I understand the temptation to open the door for the creation of more parties, but you know that would also be a recipe for disaster. The 1969 chaotic election in former Somalia where more than 60 clan-based parties made a mockery of the multiparty system should be a warning guide for you. Having lived through that ugly state, it was wise of our late President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal to have enshrined in our constitution that Somaliland’s national parties should not exceed three at presidential and parliamentary elections. It is my humble opinion that this should be maintained to save our people from falling apart like a fractured glass.

Finally, Mr. President-elect, the Somaliland Election Commission has proven to be a pillar of the country’s democracy. The Commission members executed their duties with a commendable professionalism. It will be highly expected of you to empower this institution and make it one of Somaliland’s enduring democracy gatekeepers.

Congratulations Mr. President-elect but take heed.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Ciddu Yey Didin – Maanso xisaabtan ah
From a Poet’s Pen:
By Bashir Goth

It may seem unbecoming for a poet to take pains to elucidate his work for the general reader. And I may absolutely agree with Robert Penn Warren who said: “The poet is in the end probably more afraid of the dogmatist who wants to extract the message from the poem and throw the poem away than he is of the sentimentalist who says, “Oh, just let me enjoy the poem.”

The poet, however, may be obliged to play the role of a critic in the absence of literary critics and in the presence of younger Somali immigrant population for whom the language of Somali poetry may look like gibberish and the imagery archaic.

This is unfortunately the plight of immigrant poets who write for a younger Somali speaking generation who find themselves so distant from their language and rich culture. Although art in general seems to be as endangered as Somali dugongs in today’s technology driven world, the high art of Somali poetry seems to have suffered a devastating blow as a result of the mass migration of the Somali people to the West.

Poetry is about the beauty of language and no matter whether one understands the words or the meaning the music alone always exudes beauty. As Carl Sandburg noted “poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess what is seen during a moment”. I find it unfair to poetry to be left covered in a mist. I prefer to raise the curtain just enough to entice the readers to explore more by themselves. Therefore, unlocking the poem’s meaning will follow the text:

Hadduu canbar iyo

Illaa calankii

Taallo caaniyo

Caaqil weyn iyo

Uu ciiltire iyo

Ceeleeye ahaa

Sidii culaygii

Cidaad marsadoo

Aan ceebiba qaban


Gol cammiranuu
Ku caweeyiyo
Caadilku xareed
Firdowsa cawa leh
Ha ka cabbiyee
Cigaal dhimayoo...

Read more Harowo, Camuudnews, Awdalpress, Farshaxan

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Hadh Qaboobidaayey, Hooyo

I wrote the following song as a tribute to my mother on the occasion of the Mother's Day, 9th May 2010. My mother, Sheikha Rahma Egeh Dirir, was also my first teacher who taught me reading and writing and imbibed me on the beauty of the Somali literature and culture through her stories, lyrics and poetry that she used to tell me during my childhood. The song is also a tribute to all mothers and particularly Somali speaking mothers who can understand the meaning of the lyrics.

Waddamada adduunka intooda badan ayaa bisha May laga xusaa maalinta hooyada. Dhab ahaantii haddii Hooyada wanaageeda lagu xuso ammin kasta iyo arad kasta oo la joogaba lama gudi karo xaqeeda, hase yeeshee waxa lagama maarmaan noqotay in ay yeelato maalin gaar ah oo lagu xusuusto.

Haddaba heestan soo socota oo la yidhaahdo HOOYO waxan ku xusayaa hooyaday Sheekha Raxma Cige Dirir oo hooyonnimada ka sokow ah macallinkaygii ii bilowday Alif-Ba’da ee i bartay akhriska iyo qoraalka Quraanka iyo Afka-Carabiga, indhahayga u furtay nuurka aqoonta. Waana ababiyahaygii igu anqarisay jacaylka suugaanta iyo dhaqanka ee aan sheekooyinkeedii, halaanhalkeedii iyo tixihii ay ii dareerin jirtay yaraantii ay ii noqotay ceel wahdi ah oo aan iga maaxdumin iyo sahay aan madhanayn oo aan kaga gudbo suudiga waayaha, kana qadhaabto midhaha aan suugaanta ku curiyo.

Heesta aniga oo munaasabadda maalinta hooyada u hibaynaya hooyaday waxa la wadaaga hooyo kasta oo adduunka joogta, gaar ahaan kuwa ku hadla af-Soomaliga ee fahmaya afka ay heestu ku qoran tahay. In kasta oo ay habboonayd in heesta la dhegeysto iyada oo muusig wadata, xilliga ayaa igu simi waayey, muusiguna goortiisa ayuu iman doonaa isaga oo sida heestu u qorantahay uun u dhici doona.

Hadh Qaboobidaa, Hooyo

Dunidoo holcaysoo
Halasuhu wax leefay
Halkaad adigu joogtiyo
Hadh qaboobidaayey
Hooyo, hooyo, hooyo
Jiilaal hawaarsaday
Hamaddigu wax laayay
Goshaad igu habaysiyo
Hugaagii dugsoonaa
Hooyo, hooyo, hooyo
Colaad la isku hiifiyo
Meel balo ka hoortay
Hurdo nabad ku seexdaa
Hooyo, hooyo, hooyo
Anoo kaa hulleelaad
Hareertayda joogtaa
Dhagixii i hantaaqaba
Hobo' baad i leedahay
Hooyo, hooyo, hooyo
Anoo kuba hilmaamaad
Laabta igu haysaa
Habaar iima quudhide
Ducaad igu hagoogtaaa
Hooyo, hooyo, hooyo
Halyeey iyo haldhaa iyo
Hoodo iyo Hibaaq dhala
Hadba kii hafeef qaba
Hurdadawga saakuma
Hooyo, hooyo, hooyo
Waan arkaa humaaggii
Adoo igu hadraayee
Hadhka iyo habeenkii
Waan kugu hadaaqaa
Hooyo, hooyo, hooyo
Eebbeheen ku hanayoo
Wadka maalmo kaa hay
Oo jannooyin hooda leh
Ku waar hoyga aakhiro
Hooyo, hooyo, hooyo

©Bashir Goth, 09 May 2010

Friday, April 09, 2010

Somali music between Maryan Ali’s refined taste and Al Shabab’s philistine manners

By Bashir Goth

Never have I felt so much hope and gloom at the same time for Somali music; that wonderful aesthetic product by default of the otherwise harsh Somali pastoral life. Onboard a plane from Minneapolis to Washington DC, I read an interview that Professor Ahmed I. Samater conducted with Maryam Omar Ali, commonly known as Aryette, a woman with a passion for Somali music and literature.
The lengthy interview which ran over 20 pages was published in Bildhaan, an International Journal of Somali Studies, which I picked up while attending a Tol Convention in Minneapolis in early April.

With an ear for music since childhood, Maryan explained how she managed to possess a collection of about 9000 songs of solo music and from Somali plays. Among her collection are the original and finest songs of the celebrated singers such as Magool, Mohamed Suleiman, Omar Dhuule, Zahra Ahmed, Maandeeq, Baxsan, Fadumo Qasim and others as well as some of the memorable plays of the sixties and seventies. They include Shabeel Nagood and Gaarabildhaan, the two great works of the legendary Hassan Sheikh Muumin. She has also in her possession Galbeed waa la xoreeyey by Hassan Abdillaahi Ganay, Kariye’s Jacaylkii Waalaye Aynu Weeraka aadno and Osman Adan Askari’s Wadhafkiyo Shimbirihii War Iskuma Hayaan of which Maryan herself has authored the script and some of the songs.
Mentioning her leaning towards the patriotic songs of the early sixties which Professor Samatar calls the “honeymoon years of the 1960s”, Maryan’s talked about the memorable lyrics of the time such as Mohamed Suleiman’s “Dharaartaan Waxyeeladii dhaqdhaqay” and Osman Mohamed and Nooleya’s “Naa Kaalayo bal kaalay aan gelin soconee”.

Citing Magool as Somali singer par excellence, Maryan describes the singer’s rendition of “Kii Dhaba Jayaclkuna” as occupying a special place in her “aesthetic taste.”

At one point, Maryan has even raised Professor Samatar’s interest by emphatically insisting on the artists being better observers of the society’s ills and foreseeing the future than the scholars.

“Somali scholars often think of themselves, perhaps pretentiously, as the brains, eyes, and ears of the nation. Are you saying that the artists are equal to them?” asked Dr. Samatar.

“Yes, and, I believe, they are even better than you scholars!,” Maryan said,” Fannaanin live closer to durable myths, yet they are unafraid to peek into the future.”

Still amused by the idea, Dr. Samatar asked Maryan to elaborate more, to which she responded: “First, at the general level, I believe that a Fannaanin and Abwaan usually demonstrate a courageous allegiance to a vision of truth and delicate sensibilities that, together, define their sense of being in the world.” She also cited that the Abwaans and Fannaanin as “creators and keepers of the best of the Somali tradition. They were a major element in the rise of collective consciousness and the efforts towards decolonization. With the dawn of independence, they kept a flickering vision of national unity and purpose among the people and warned of the gravity of the gathering menace that was to envelop them.”
She however got my unequivocal admiration with her concluding testimony about what arts (fann) mean for her.

“There are, in my opinion, two perspectives of this topic,” she said in the interview. “One sees Fann as a source of passing time or fleeting entertainment (madadaalo). Thus, there is neither such attention paid to nor appreciation of the hard creative labor that lies behind the composition and the event. The second understands Fann as a precious marrow in the making of strong bones of a culture and national identity. Among the lasting indicators of the dignity of a society is the degree of excellence of its Fann production.”
With these powerful words lingering in mind I couldn’t help comparing Maryan’s admirable 35 year long passion, as she explained to me in a telephone conversation later, in preserving the Somali musical heritage to that of Rose Valland who saved the French art treasure from being stolen and looted during the Nazi occupation of Paris. What makes Maryan’s collection unique, however, is that she does not only collect songs as anyone of us would, but she indexes them, classifies and categorizes them according to their themes and genres, digitalizes them, labels them with the names of singers , lyric writers and music composers and eventually archives them. She undertakes this tremendous work which consumes both her energy and resources while fighting off a breast cancer that may have weakened her body but never her zeal and devotion for saving Somali music for posterity.

Somali music and literary heritage in my view are the only monuments that Somali people truly share and commonly admire, and Maryan’s passion for collection has made them a paradise regained of what would otherwise have been lost forever. As Maryan’s words took me back to “the honeymoon years of the 1960s”, I spent the rest of the two-hour flight reminiscing about the glorious past, the great music and the iconic poetry of the Somali people. I even hoped that the day would come when Maryan and probably other anonymous curators of Somali music and Somali artifacts would be honored just like Valland for saving the nation’s cultural heritage during these trying years of the Somali history.

But as soon as I landed at Dulles airport I woke up from my dream world to Washington’s warm spring weather and the gloomy news of Somali Al Shabab and Hizbul Islam extremists banning Somali radios and TV stations in the areas they control from playing Somali music. It is on reading about this barbaric drive of cultural genocide that I decided to give a call to Maryan and thank her for being a Godsend cultural custodian who would be getting the recognition she deserves for her priceless efforts from future generations and would be rewarded for her good deeds to humanity in the world hereafter. There is no doubt that once the terror reign of Al Shabab and Hizbul Islam with their philistine treatment of art and music and their hatred for cultural beauty are long forgotten in the dustbin of history, Maryan Ali’s name will resonate with generations of lovers and scholars of Somali music and literary treasures.