The misery, the heartbreak, the courage, one of many tragic stories

It’s difficult to watch, and very emotional.


K’naan Goes Back to Somalia

I love the positivity of K’naan.

Somalia’s greatest love story

Every people have great stories, in which they pass down to future generations. We Somalis are great storytellers. Come to a place of gathering with Somalis, especially the older generation and one will surly hear many stories being told. Somali’s love to tell stories. Poetry plays a central role as a form of expression and unfortunately that role in my opinion is lessening with the younger generation like myself. Although I love listening to the stories and great poems from our elders I am just not well versed in the language at the moment to appreciate the beauty and depth they convey. They get it, while I stay at the surface never reaching the core unless it is explained to me in broken down steps. I searched very hard for these stories and poems translated into English, but to no avail for the most part. One of my favorite stories and poets is the story of Climi and Hodan, a love that never was but has inspired millions and will live on forever with their people. A background of the story and poems by the love stricken Cilmi is provided below (Copied and pasted from Google searches)

“Her name seems to you so simple.
But to me it brings grief and woe.
I shall never give her up, not till the day they tread earth into her grave”
Cilmi Bodheri

Bodheri’s poems were inspired by a tragic and true tale of “forbidden love”. While working in a bakery in the northern port city of Berbera, a young woman of exceptional beauty named Hodhan came in to buy some bread. As she said “good morning” to him, instantly he fell in love with her. He could not sleep; he could not eat or drink. He was struck by her beauty.

In a conservative society, it was forbidden for any man to contact any woman or express his feelings without permission; and besides, he was a mere baker and she was from a richer family of higher social standing.
The tradition would have been for his family to approach her family and formally meet. But this was not possible due to their relative social standing. The descendents of his family are still poor today.

“A proud grace is her body’s greatest splendour.
Yet is she gentle, womanly, soft of skin?
Her (gun’s) dark gloss is likened to blackest ink.
And a careless flicker of her slanted eyes
Begets a light as clear as the white spring moon.
My heart leaps when I see her walking by,
Infinite suppleness in her body’s sway.”

So he composed poetry to confess his love for her. In a traditional and nomadic society, his words broke with taboo and recited by heart by many Somalis today.
He finally got a chance to see her again. He heard that she would be visiting a neighbour. But he never saw Hodhan, he fell asleep and was angry at himself for missing his chance to see her.

“I have heard that other men have stepped forward to claim the girl on whom my mind was set.
Wind, swear to be by the everlasting one that you will carry my words though the air.
Tell her that stone houses and walls would have felt the pain.
Tell her that termite hills would have sprouted green grass if they had but heard these words of mine.”

Courage and stoicism were valued in Somali nomadic culture, not talk openly about love and its afflictions. His clan became worried that he was now at marrying age, but was not interested in anyone other than Hodhan. They brought four beautiful young women to him, and they uncovered the top part of their dresses to show him their breasts, then he was asked to choose one amongst the four girls as his bride. He refused.

“If eyes could capture the splendour that could soothe the heart,
Or human beings could be satisfied by beauty alone.
I have seen already that of Hodhan.
And now, young ladies you have touched once more that wound.
The heart that I have been nursing, you have broken again.
Let God not judge you, cover your chests.”

Bodheri left behind an extraordinary collection of poems of unrequited love, inspirational to this day. Musicians have used his words to create music and dance from Somali, Ethiopia, Kenya and surrounding regions.
Later, he became distraught; a “different man” after learning that she was to be married to another man richer than himself and from the same social class as her. He was inconsolable. Hodhan used to cry too when she saw all these poetry and people criticizing her for not going to him.

Hodhan is said to have gone to him one day to see him, but Bodheri was sleeping. Hodhan didn’t want to wake him so she left, upon finding out he had missed Hodhan Bodheri wrote the following:

Sleeping during the day is not a wise idea
Unless I am cursed why did I miss Hodhan

Bodheri was finally persuaded to marry and leave Berbera, but he kept dreaming of Hodhan and talking to his wife as if she was her. Unable to tolerate this, she left him and Bodheri returned to Berbera. He became very emaciated and would not eat or drink. He had lost his mind.

“When the camels come back thirsty, from many nights of grazing in the pasture, they are brought to a halt just short of the well.
While a youth sings trying to keep them calm, but they want to press forward for already they hear the “hoobey! hoobey!” of the watering chant.
I am like that when I hear you say: Hodhan.
It is degrading to yearn for what you cannot have.
Alas! Alas! What disaster has befallen me?”
Cilmi Bodheri died in 1947; his body is buried in a dusty cemetery in Berbera. The tale says that Bodheri died of a broken heart, childless and still in his youth.

One poem I came across on Google:
When the camles come back thirsty,
From many nights of grazing in the Hawd,
They are brought to a halt just short of the well,
While a youth sings, trying to keep them calm.
But they want to press forward, for alrady they hear,
The “hoobay! hoobay!” of the watering-chant.
I am like that when I hear you say “hodan”!
Her name seems to you so simple,
But to me it brings grief and woe,
I shall never give her up,
Not til the day they tread earth into her grave,
Rapt in a deceitful trance,
I thought I was sleeping by her side,
But it was a jinn, not she herself,
A jinn made in the image of her sister.
I tried to catch her by the hand
But the place by my side was empty-
I found I was striving in vain,
For there was no one there.
I tossed from side to side, then suddenly awoke-
I rumpled my bed like a prowling lion,
I attacked the bedclothes and punded them,
As if it were they that had caused my loss.
Like a hero against whom men have combined
I covered my face, all but my defiant eyes.
I was humbled, like a boy who could not save from robbers,
The herd entrusted to his care.
I felt disgraced as a woman does
When the words “I divorce you” are said to her.
It is degrading to yearn for what you cannot have,
Alas Alas, what a disaster has befallen me!

The tears of Somalia by TAYYIP ERDOGAN

“The tears that are now running from Somalia’s golden sands into the Indian Ocean must stop. They should be replaced by hopeful voices of a country where people do not lose their lives because of starvation and where they express their eagerness to develop and restore peace and stability. Regardless of which culture we come from or where we live, I am confident that our common heritage as human beings will motivate us to ease the suffering of Somalia.”

I love this man and his dedication to Somalia. InshaAllah his hope and dedication to help Somalia is nourished and uplifted.

Article Source

Thank you Turkey and Prime Minster Tayyip Erdogan!

The Somali people have faced a lot of difficulties and great challenges in the past 20 years since the fall of the government. Every Nation and people have faced dark days and these are the dark days for Somalia. And with God’s help Somalia and the people of Somalia will have better days ahead. We shall rise and rebuild Somalia. I am confident and have faith in my people. We are a strong and resilient people. Peace, security and prosperity rather than violence, insecurity, and poverty will InshaAllah become the norm in Somalia.

During these dark days of the Nation’s history, in which we face senseless violence, ruthless fanatics, and devastating famine all sending scared lives to death far too early, the Somali people will always remember the generosity of the Turkish people and the great leader Prime Minster Tayyip Erdogen. As a Somali American I was moved to tears when I saw Prime Minster Erdogan and his entire family descend upon the city of my birth, once a beautiful city, the jewel of Africa, but now claims the title of the most dangerous place on Earth.

Your symbolic visit Prime Minster Erdogen by bringing your entire beloved family to a city no world leader in your position dared to enter and the world by and large has abandoned for the past two decades was courageous. Your commitment to help Somalia and the people of Somalia in these tough times is admirable. Your nobel consciousness to hold the world accountable for what is happening in Somalia and speak for the voiceless at the UN and on the world stage is inspiring. Your passionate vow to rebuild Somalia and educate young Somalis by offering them scholarships to come to Turkey renews our hope for the future. The Somali Nation and Somali people everywhere like myself will never forget the support you and your Nation Turkey have given us in this hour of need. We can not thank you enough and we count on your support. We pray Allah SWT to support Turkey and Prime Minster Erdogan.

Long Live Turkey! Long Live Prime Minster Erdogan! And may Allah SWT heal our wounds and give our children a better world to live in. Ameen.

K’naan, Bono Interview on the famine

Somalia: the Real Causes of Famine

“The broader question is: What outside forces triggered the destruction of the Somali State in the early 1990s?

Somalia remained self-sufficient in food until the late 1970s despite recurrent droughts. As of the early 1980s, its national economy was destabilized and food agriculture was destroyed.

The process of economic dislocation preceded the onset of the civil war in 1991. Economic and social chaos resulting from IMF “economic medicine” had set the stage for the launching of a US sponsored “civil war”.

An entire country with a rich history of commerce and economic development, was transformed into a territory.

In a bitter irony, this open territory encompasses significant oil wealth. Four US oil giants had already positioned themselves prior to the onset of the Somali civil war in 1991:

Far beneath the surface of the tragic drama of Somalia, four major U.S. oil companies are quietly sitting on a prospective fortune in exclusive concessions to explore and exploit tens of millions of acres of the Somali countryside.

According to documents obtained by The Times, nearly two-thirds of Somalia was allocated to the American oil giants Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips in the final years before Somalia’s pro-U.S. President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown and the nation plunged into chaos in January, 1991. …

Officially, the Administration and the State Department insist that the U.S. military mission in Somalia is strictly humanitarian. Oil industry spokesmen dismissed as “absurd” and “nonsense” allegations by aid experts, veteran East Africa analysts and several prominent Somalis that President Bush [Senior], a former Texas oilman, was moved to act in Somalia, at least in part, by the U.S. corporate oil stake.

But corporate and scientific documents disclosed that the American companies are well positioned to pursue Somalia’s most promising potential oil reserves the moment the nation is pacified. And the State Department and U.S. military officials acknowledge that one of those oil companies has done more than simply sit back and hope for peace.

Conoco Inc., the only major multinational corporation to maintain a functioning office in Mogadishu throughout the past two years of nationwide anarchy, has been directly involved in the U.S. government’s role in the U.N.-sponsored humanitarian military effort.( The Oil Factor in Somalia : Four American petroleum giants had agreements with the African nation before its civil war began. They could reap big rewards if peace is restored. – Los Angeles Times 1993)

Somalia had been a colony of Italy and Britain. In 1969, a post-colonial government was formed under president Mohamed Siad Barre; major social programs in health and education were implemented, rural and urban infrastructure was developed in the course of the 1970s, significant social progress including a mass literacy program was achieved.

The early 1980s marks a major turning point.

The IMF-World Bank structural adjustment program (SAP) was imposed on sub-Saharan Africa. The recurrent famines of the 1980s and 1990s are in large part the consequence of IMF-World Bank “economic medicine”.

In Somalia, ten years of IMF economic medicine laid the foundations for the country’s transition towards economic dislocation and social chaos.

By the late 1980s, following recurrent “austerity measures” imposed by the Washington consensus, wages in the public sector had collapsed to three dollars a month.”

For full article please see:

Racing against the odds

My heart aches and I feel helpless for Somalia. This report is both tragic and inspiring.