Published On: Thu, Jan 17th, 2013

Somaliland: Found In Translation

Recently I was able to read some very intriguing and quirky news about Somaliland, and as is my fashion, I thought it would be good to pass that news along to my readers. The first of the stories is a brief visit that Somaliland government leaders have taken to enhance their relationship with the United Arab Emirates. The second story is news that one of Somaliland’s most notable poets has had the honor of his work being translated into English for greater accessibility. Let us now discuss these stories in turn.

Relationship Enhancement

Some time ago, this blog discussed the entrance of the United Arab Emirates into Somaliland’s affairs over shared concerns about piracy [1]. There was recently an update from Somaliland247 [2] on a recent visit by two of Somaliland’s ministers (including the minister of foreign affairs) to Dubai to enhance relations with the United Arab Emirates. Such behavior, of course, is fairly typical for most states to engage in shuttle diplomacy and periodic visits with regional allies, but as Somaliland is a nation which still struggles to find recognition from the world, and is correspondingly more isolated from global affairs, any foreign meeting with the intent of solidifying economic and bilateral political relations is news, especially as the meeting included representatives from both the public and private sector of the UAE, including maritime interests.

Somaliland, of course, sits on the southern edge of the Gulf of Aden, and is massively important territory involved closely in efforts against piracy from neighboring Puntland as well as the usefulness of developing the strategic port of Berbera. Any news that would indicate an increase in Somaliland’s international profile, especially as Somalia attempts to develop its own government and wrestle with the legitimacy of Somaliland’s desires for independence, is news of interest in a very vulnerable and dangerous part of the world. Hopefully there will be further reports of plans to further help Somaliland develop its potential as well as help overcome its isolation.

A Poet Like Me

Some readers of Edge Induced Cohesion will be aware of my interests in poetry and playwriting and in the way my own writings have dealt with romance as well as politics. Given these interests, it was rewarding to read a report that the Somaliland poet Maxamed Ibraahim Warsame Hadraawi will be awarded the prestigious Prince Claus Award in the Netherlands for his contribution to the field of poetry [3]. The Somali people as a whole have a notable gift of long epic poetry, and Hadraawi is widely recognized as the most significant living Somali poet with a wide variety of works dealing with nomadic Somali life, love and romance, and the problems of Somali politics.

Hadraawi’s life has been dramatic and full of incident. After achieving initial fame as a young poet writing romantic poems, his turn into political playwriting landed him a five-year jail sentence in the 1970′s. He then started (with some associates) a long chain poem called The Deeley which involved Somali poets in a massive political poetry duel (!) that divided the artistic community of Somalia into pro- and anti-government factions. His political activities took him to Ethiopia, where he continued writing political poetry, and he even spent five years in exile in London where he refused to seek asylum and settle there and where he wrote more poetry expressing his deep appreciation for nomadic culture and Somali life as a whole, despite his suffering. He returned to Somalia and engaged in a lengthy one-man peace march that inspired a great deal of support, and has remained active in writing against the addiction of Somali men to khat/qaat, the stimulant that has fueled a great deal of Somali piracy and added more misery to a pretty miserable section of the world. He now lives and teaches in his Somaliland hometown of Burao, where he inspires others to follow his example of principled and poetry.

Now that some of his poems have been translated into English, a wider audience can appreciate his works and his life. This sounds like a man I would like to eat with and talk with, given our shared semi-nomadic ways, our love of poetry and drama, and our unfortunate and passionate interests in peace and justice as well as education. His recognition as a master poet in a culture that especially values and appreciates poetry demonstrates the vitality of Somali culture even given its extreme suffering. Hopefully his work can continue to inspire his people and encourage them to greater deeds as well as moral conduct in overcoming drug addiction and despair.

[1] http://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/04/24/somaliland-update-the-united-arab-emerites-enter/

[2] http://somaliland247.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/somaliland-ministers-on-uae-relations-enhancement-visit/

[3] http://somaliland247.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/some-work-of-the-greatest-somali-poet-mahamed-ibrahim-warsame-hadraawi-translated-into-english/

 

Source:Edge Induced Cohesion

  • M. Khalid

    Somaliland will be recognised by the international community not because it has fulfilled what they want but because its people are willing not to go back to Somalia. Great Somalia is no longer an issue in the life and politics of Somalis and every Somali is satisfied to live in his region. I am not worried about the lack of recogniton of Somaliland because I believe that I am safe and happy in my land.

    • Sanaagboy

      I do feel the same thing. We only need to ensure that constant stability be mainatained wherever possible, and eventually the progress will follow.

    • Truth1

      M.Khalid……When you say ''its people are willing not to go back to Somalia'', who are you referring to? Is it the some Is@@q separatists like you, or the people from Awdal, Khaatumo and the rising Is@@q pro union? The international community knows the reality on the ground no matter how hard the separatists try to hide. And pleas don't mention the so called referendum you had, which was as corrupt of not more as the last so called election.

      NOW LET ME EDUCATE YOU ABOUT THE WORD ''Somaliland''.
      Both the north and south were called ''Somaliland' (Italilan Somaliland & Britain Somaliland). The reason they were both called ''Somaliland'' is: it means THE LAND OF THE SOMALI PEOPLE. Britain colonised the northern part of THE LAND OF THE SOMALI PEOPLE, and the Italians did the same in the south. Before the colonial times, there were empires. There was no such thing as two States. If there was such as two States, then obviously they would have never name it the same. You can try to make up a hoax fairytale separatists history on your own if you want, but the reality is that the real history is there and documented and will always remain there. The IC knows it, Somalis them self know it.

      • Hornid

        Faqashboy as long as former French Somaliland is gone then you cannot stop now former british Somaliland to his way for re-recognition. So fix ur zoomalia becoz Somaliland Will never be ruled again by Faqash and walanweyn from Mogadiscio. No more BS somalinimo..

        • Truth1

          @Hornid….For your information, French Somaliland shares land with the Anfar people, and it had a fair referendum. On the other hand, Brithish Somaliland are all Somali. And the majority of the people of that territory don't seek secession. It is the minority separatists (Is@@q's like you who seek secession. The IC is fully aware of the so called referendum, which was as corrupt if not more than the so called last election. The midnimo is there and was always there, is just you (separatists) oppressed those who wanted it, while claiming to represent them. Your lies has reached its end era.

          • Hornid

            Afar people are minority in Djibouti as more and more somali immigrated from SL and Ethiopia ( Issaq,Isse,Samaron). The country Will always be ruled by Somali and that's why Djibouti was logically full part of Somaliweyn project illustrated by star in blue flag. Somali djiboutian decided to stay away from Somalia in 77 becoz they saw how Waqoyi people was humiliated by Koonfur and did not make historic mistake of SL which strongly believed in Somalinimo. Beside Somaliland don,t consider also Somalia as full somali becoz of Bantu, jareer, barwani and other people living there not really somali. Indeed Somali Djibouti are real traitor of Somaliweyn but worst zoomalia welcome their soldier in their ground how walanweyn could dare to speack of love somalinimo after that? Finally for referendum issue let's do again in SL with all IC observer u want, result Will be same. Majority reclaim their lost sovergnity..

      • Hoodo

        Truth 1 or lie two
        Sometimes ignorance and lack of proper education on a topic can be lethal. It’s reasonable to study a topic before putting it out there for all to see.
        Spinning facts always gets back to the spinner therefore Mr please get your facts straight and save face for yourself.
        I am not going to ague with you here however facts are facts and no one can change them to support his or her agenda. Viva Somaliland.

  • Kinsi Ibrahim

    People of Somaliland have proved that it is possible to live in a Democratic Government, they have done everything by themselves. Such determination will be awarded. They have welcomed the Somalis from the North with open hands when they needed refuge. Recognition is not a big deal, people in Somaliland live in peace, harmony and they are happy with what they have. They do respect the South Somalia and also all their neighbour countries such as Ethiopia, Djbouti. Therefore, they have proven to be respected and recognition will come one day…. viva Somaliland

  • Kaboon.

    Kaboon-supreme is welcoming such encouraging news. The supreme also advises reer somaliland to keep going.

  • Kayse

    Separatists have nothing else to offer but a silly picture of few Somali traditional items while they claim to be "Not Somali". They should perhaps offer them Ethiopian injera and see how the Arabs react.

  • Academic

    I am sick of those people who always skips the topic in order to speak their mind the topic was the progress of Somaliland, i don,t know why such people like TRUTH ONE talk about tribes, that shows how un academic he or she is, also congratulation KINSI IBRAHIM whom i believe she improve him wrong tump up Kinsi.

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