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Beledxaawo

Beledxaawo – Heesihii siddeetanaadkii

Binti Cumar – Garnaqsi

Barbaarta yarkaan ka eegtay
Wiilkii isha iigu baaqay
Inankii caashaqa aan beernee
Anigu baaqbaaq ku raacay

Anoo beled-xaawo jooga
Muxuu bari iiga yeeray
Kolkaan Boosaaso gaaray
Muxuu Burco iiga heesay

Anoo  Beero sii maraaya
Hadduu badda doon ka raacay
Inuu been ila jilaayey
Adaa boqorow ogaaye
Ibixiyoo  iga badbaadi

Haddaan bogsadoon ka raysto
Sidaan uga booday caashaq
Jacaylba haddaan u booyo
Haddaan nin danbe u baroorto
Haddaan baxsanow iraahdo
Aniga balaayaba hayga raacdo

Baxdowga ninkaan u qaatay

Jacaylkii beri samaadka

Bishaarada iigu yeereen

Bilkhayrkana ugu jawaabay

Yarkii bahda ii fariistay

Yarkii beerkayga saafay

Yarkii bogga ii salaaxay

Inaanan baraarugaynin

Markuu ka bogtuu ogaaday

Hadduu beddel iigu jiiday

Inuu bohol ii qodaayey

Adaa boqorow ogaaye

Ibixiyoo iga badbaadi

Haddaan bogsadoon ka raysto
Sidaan uga booday caashaq
Jaceylba haddaan u booyo
Haddaan nin danbe u baroorto
Haddaan baxsanow iraahdo
Aniga balaayaba hayga raacdo

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

ON THE NEW SOMALI STUDIES : A RESPONSE

April 18, 2015

By Yusuf Serunkuma

If one is not Somali, writing a critique of #CadaanStudies under the present circumstances feels like choosing to end one’s academic engagement with Somalia. It feels a bit nervous and weird! Let me state from the beginning that this is no attempt to defend Dr Markus Hoehne’s uncalculated remarks. They do not concern the scope of this response. My interest is in retracing the epistemological and historical roots of this rather popular hashtag – theorised in Safia Aidid’s essay, “The New Somali Studies”[in The New Inquiry, April 14, 2015]. There is a saving grace for me though; I am black, not white. Unless we will have another hashtag, #MadowStudies! #CadaanStudies seems to suggest three things: First, that it is only the self can be objective [about the self]; second, that colonialism was white, and if this is granted, whiteness then becomes the timeless symbolism of colonialist scholarship. Third, the critique of #CadaanStudies seems to also suggest that proper and objective representation must involve direct and self-participation!

Let me start with my own experience of #MadowStudies in East Africa and the horn. Doing fieldwork in Kisenyi, a Somali-dominated suburb in Kampala – my hometown – a female Somali shopkeeper asked my Somali language teacher and translator, “What are you doing with this black man?” Months of mutual assistance and cordial conversation had brought my teacher and I quite close. Although we had known each other for barely a year, we interacted like old friends. Now the present questioner suspected an affair running between us, and was wondering what a brown girl, that is, with superior ancestry, would be doing with a black man, that is, of inferior ancestry. My teacher calmly put her off saying, “he’s just my friend.” It was then that it struck us that I was black and my Somali teacher/friend was “not black.” [I do not know the opposite of not being black in the context of the questioner]. Plenty of scholarship suggests, however, that certain sections of the Somali community believe their ancestry has Arab roots, and in some cases with direct relations to the line of Prophet. Available historical evidence does not allow us to dispute or confirm the claim – which would actually be a wasteful exercise. However, the claim that pits black against white /brown/blue or whatever is not just loaded with racist undertones, but is also ignorant and counterproductive.

Anyone reading Kenyan and Ugandan social and mainstream media will be struck by the amazing levels of East Africans’ ignorance about Somalia and Somalis. Especially after the 2010 Kampala twin bombings and the subsequent terror attacks in the region, all Somalia [and East African Muslims] has been reduced to Al-Shabaab. It is not rare to hear bogus claims on radio or in print such as “All Somalis are Al-Shabab” or “Muslims are killing us.” The Othering continues! In the context of the ongoing violence in Somalia, and its effects on the region, as a humanist and aspiring philological academic, I decided to cleanse myself of an East African constructedness and attempt to understand Somalia – the people and community – and perhaps provide a link connecting East African and horn of African studies. This is something I have been doing for the past four years. However, I dare say that I have never been as conscious of my black skin as I’m circulating among my Somali brethren either in Kampala, Hargeisa or Mogadishu. I should add however, that I am lucky to hang out with several hospitable and respectful Somalis who do not see me as black or inferior. But now and again you feel the community’s eyes piercing through your skin. You are black, contaminated and inferior! In some bizarre cases, I have to answer that I am not just a Muslim but also one who also prays!

How should we think about social interaction or scholarship whose reception, response and critique assume that the place of origin or skin colour of the interlocutor is its “first intelligibility?”

Enter #CadaanStudies

If it wasn’t the hashtag, #CadaanStudies, it was the question, after Spivak (1988), “Can the Somali Speak?” These two, we are told, began as a “response to the total absence of Somali academics and researchers from the editorial and advisory boards of the newly launched Somaliland Journal of African Studies (SJAS).” In other words, the hashtag found fault in the absence of direct participation of Somali native academics [I have no idea what this means, either]! Because the query springs from a concern over objectivity and perhaps good scholarship, the implicit assumption is that participation guarantees objectivity! Going along with several examples of bigoted claims from colonial anthropologists, Aidid theorises that the hashtag “explores the ways in which colonial epistemologies continue to be the foundation of the field of Somali Studies.

“…the hashtag #CadaanStudies gestures towards the conceptual whiteness of knowledge production in Somali Studies. It is an analysis of the systemic and the normative positions and relations it produces. It is a way of thinking about the words of one anthropologist and the exclusions of one journal not as isolated incidents, but as signifiers of the current state of Somali Studies, and the ways in which it has continued to sustain non-Somali dominance on all things Somali. It examines how colonial logic is replicated in contemporary scholarship on Somalis, and in the research practices of non-Somali academics in their gaze upon the Somali.”

It is difficult to understand what Aidid means by “the current state of Somali Studies, and the ways in which it has continued to sustain non-Somali dominance on all things Somali.” Scholarship and writing is not a mining field that the first occupier monopolises the mineral deposits and nobody can claim any mining rights. Neither is starting a journal; something like, if one started a journal on a particular area or field of study, no one else is allowed to start another on the same field of academic inquiry. Perhaps a name can be patented, but an area or field cannot be patented, right? What then does our good theorist mean? Does she suggest someone has stopped Madows from starting their own journals on Somaliland? Well, if the problem has historical-economic roots such as logistical challenges like the absence of infrastructure, then that would prompt another debate all together. In the same way, I have problems understanding what she means by, “It examines how colonial logic is replicated in contemporary scholarship on Somalis, and in the research practices of non-Somali academics in their gaze upon the Somali.” What does the category “non-Somalis” mean in the world of scholarship? What is this obvious intrinsic relationship between “a colonial logic” and “non-Somali academics?” Is this an effort to compartmentalise knowledge and assign certain scholars “first intelligibilities” as a method of reading their scholarly production?

Safia Aidid is a graduate student of history. First, I do not understand a historian’s insistence on absolute objectivity, accuracy or truth. I thought after Foucault, we were all historians of the present, and Yusufu Bala Usman rudely reminds us, “Africanists” that, “neutrality [or objectivity] is an illusion.” Second, the sort of exclusive emphasis on Somalia overt in the excerpt above seems to suggest that this problem is unique to Somalia. Because, exactly, she’s theorising whiteness in Somali Studies! History tells us that this is not just a Somali problem. It is a larger problem across the world especially in formerly colonised places. Across time and space, academics in former colonies, Frantz Fanon, Ade Ajayi, Ali Mazrui, Partha Chatterjee, Gayatri Spivak, WEB Dubois, Stuart Hall, Edward Said have attempted to respond to this challenge in knowledge production. But the response has never been racial profiling! We have often called it Eurocentricism, not white-centrism. If the most current critique of Afrocentricism – which was a response to Eurocentricism – is that Afrocentricism is just an African version of Eurocentricism, how un-reflective then can White-centrism or #CadaanStudies be?

http://www.wardheernews.com/new-somali-studies-response/

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

The New Somali Studies

By

Since #CadaanStudies was launched on Twitter, the tweet that has received the most circulation has been something that British explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton wrote in his 1856 travelogue First Footsteps in East Africa:

http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/the-new-somali-studies

Burton had arrived in Zeila, his first stop before traveling through the rest of Somaliland and the broader Horn of Africa. He was keenly interested in the culture, beliefs, and practices of the curious “Somali race” that he encountered, and he discovered many things about them. He discovered, for example, that the Somalis of Zeila in 1856 believed that fever was connected to mosquito bites, and he speculated that this “superstition probably arises from the fact that mosquitoes and fevers become formidable about the same time.” He also re-discovered what he already knew: that the difference between “superstition” and “fact” could be traced along racial lines and that knowledge and thought was the realm of the European.

It would not be until 1880 that a French doctor, Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran, would discover the malaria parasite in Algeria, for which he would win the Nobel Prize. Finally, in 1897, a British medical officer in British India, Ronald Ross, would be credited with discovering that malaria was indeed carried by mosquitos.

Burton’s condescension still characterizes the encounter between European and Somali. When ethnographic observation was crystallized as a methodology and a science, only Europeans were seen as capable of the rigorous analysis, reason, and knowledge production it required. Somalis existed only as the backdrop for their intelligence and understanding, as superstitious, irrational, unsophisticated, and unscientific.

#CadaanStudies explores the ways in which these colonial epistemologies continue to be the foundation of the field of Somali Studies. It began in response to the total absence of Somali academics and researchers from the editorial and advisory boards of the newly launched Somaliland Journal of African Studies (SJAS), which claimed to have been founded in collaboration with the University of Hargeisa, since deniedby the university. But the hashtag exploded after a member of the advisory board, Markus Hoehne, made his own observations about Somalis:

I did NOT come accross [sic] many younger Somalis who would qualify as serious SCHOLARS – not because they lack access to sources, but because they seem not to value scholarship as such. Sorry to say, but to become a successful political scientist, social anthropologist, sociologist or human geographer, you study many years without an economically promising end in sight. You have to work hard before you get out one piece of text and even then, you often get more criticism than praise. You certainly do not become rich quickly as a social scientist, at least if you have to pay your bills in Europe or Northamerica.

Now, where are all the ‘marginalised’ Somalis who do not get their share in academia? I guess you would have to first find all the young Somalis who are willing to sit on their butt for 8 hours a day and read and write for months to get one piece of text out. Okay, before you ‘crucify’ me now for my neo-colonial racist male writing, I ADMIT that given the lack of good quality higher education in social sciences INSIDE Somalia, one cannot enter into a fair competition between cadaan iyo madow [white and black] scholars here. BUT, there are many young Somalis in UK, USA and continental Europe who have a chance to get a degree from a well-established university in social sciences and become master analysts of Somali and other affairs (where are Somali sociologists who work on issues of discrimination or inequality in the USA or Europe, where are Somali religious scholars who engage in the debate about Islam in Europe? Sometimes you have to look beyond your Somali navel). But in my life, I met only very FEW diaspora Somalis who seriously pursued such a career (in social sciences). So, your activism is good, but what you actually would have to do – instead of getting outraged at cadaan scholars, is to sit down and get your analysis out and criticise not cadaan for writing sth, but your own brothers and sisters for not writing better stuff!

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

A TRIBUTE TO SAID SAMATAR

February 27, 2015

By Hassan M. Abukar

The passing of Professor Said Samatar, 71, was sad and sudden.

I never met the good professor in person, but we had exchanged several emails. I was very familiar with his research and books. In fact, his book, Oral Poetry and Somali Nationalism: The Case of Sayid Mahammad Abdille Hassan (Cambridge, 1982), is perhaps one of the best books ever written on the role of poetry as a tool to gain and maintain political power in the Somali society.

Said S Samatar
Said S Samatar

Samatar’s writing, sometimes hilarious, mostly insightful, made the reader ponder and laugh heartily. He also had a whiff of disdain in his interviews and writings for past and present Somali governments.

Two years ago, I wrote an article about a conflict between former President Siad Barre and Samatar in the 1980s. I wanted to get Samatar’s take on the story so I sent him a draft of my piece. To my amazement, the professor had another idea. As an editor of the journal Horn of Africa, he asked me if I could perhaps publish the article there. I was stunned. I’d written the article for a general audience and wanted it that way. It was flattering, however, that the good professor liked the article to the extent he wanted to publish it academically.

Read the full article http://www.wardheernews.com/tribute-said-samatar/

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Halyeeyo la Hilmaamay iyo Sooyaal Xanuun Badan

Haddii aanan soo noqon
Calankeyga nuurow
Allahayaw ku nabad geli

Cabdullaahi Cabdulle Dhoore, a Somali veteran (1977-78 war) was captured by the Ethiopians in 1978 after his platoon was pinned down. Shot nine-times and almost bleeding out, he was transferred to the notorious Harar prison – a prison infamously known as the “prison of no return”. Sharing prison cells with hundreds of Somali POWS, he describes the ordeal that he underwent.

Tortured daily, he recounted in horror of the events that he had to endure to stay alive. At times contemplating escape or death, he smilingly spoke of the patriotic attitude, the collective identity, the Soomaalinimo that his troops; his compatriots; his brothers in arms displayed that kept him motivated. Displaying immovable teamwork, they used to coordinate hunger-strike, sneaking out letters, cry out at the inhumane treatment of their captors (e.g. Red Cross provided them with basic necessities, the minute they left, it was automatically taken away).

At times, succumbing to his tears, he narrated the number of Somalis – whom he shared a cell with – that perished at the hands of the Ethiopians. “Two died on my own lap”, he mournfully recounts (tearfully breaking down):

“One — almost breathing his last breath — kept repeating the famous patriotic chorus:
Haddii aanan soo noqon
Calankeyga nuurow
Allahayaw ku nabad geli
If I don’t return oh my flag
My luminous flag
May Allaah safeguard you

The other one’s dying words were: Ummadda Soomaaliyeed, salaan iga gaarsi (To the Somali community, convey my greetings).”

He was imprisoned for a full 10 years, only to be released in 1988 on the onset of the Somali civil war. Though the released prisoners received a hero welcome, they unfortunately did not get their rightfully deserved rights that they were promised. Instead he had to fight for it only to saw the Somali nation that he fervently fought for – and be imprisoned for — disintegrate before his eyes in 1991.

Cabdullaahi and countless Somali veterans have been forgotten. Whilst other nations force-feed us who-died-who in the World Wars; we ignorantly neglect our forgotten heroes and do not give them the dues that they rightfully deserve. Whilst we are engaged in petty clanism that has ruptured our homogenous society, we fail to honour those that symbolise our unity and the history that binds us.

May Allaah have mercy on our forgotten heroes.

His interview will be part of the upcoming Somali documentary, Kacaan: The Untold Stories.

‪#‎KacaanTheUntoldStories‬
www.kacaandoc.com

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Waan Yaabbanee!

Suugaantii Tarabi:

Sida yool hayaan
Yam yidhoo abaar
Looga dhigay yagleel
Yufle oo qabow
Dhaxan yalax leh baan
Ku yaboohiyaa
Sida yala tukaan
Hadba kayn yuka ah
Yuuqyuuqsadaa
Waan yaabbanee
Siduu iigu yimi
Yax ma idhi jacayl
Yarow aragtidaa!

Sida geel yukamay
Yibladoo harraad
La yahoomayoo
Ceelkuna yalool
Yahay biyo yaraad
Yuudaadsadee
Sida yala tukaan
Hadba kayn yuka ah
Yuuqyuuqsadaa
Waan yaabbanee
Siduu iigu yimi
Yax ma idhi jacyal
Yarow aragtidaa!

Yeey iyo yaxaas
Wada yeedhayaan
Ka dhex yuubanoo
Cirkoo yagal ka kacay
Daruur yugataybaan
Debed yuururaa
Sida yala tukaan
Hadba kayn yuka ah
Yuuqyuuqsadaa
Waan yaabbanee
Siduu iigu yimi
Yax ma idhi jacayl
Yarow aragtidaa!

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Anigu ma ahi Charlie Hebdo

Anigu Charlie Hebdo ma ahi. Anigu ma raacsani xorriyatulqawl keenaya in diimaha guud ahaan afdheer oo minshaar ah lala galo. Aniga la iguma khasbi karo in aan la jiro cid Nebigayga aan jecelahay shactaro iyo aflagaado rakhiis ah kala xishoon weyday. Anigu ma taageersani, xaqna la iiguma laha in aan taageero, caddaalad ka aamusaysa bulsho dhan oo la halaagay laakiin u kacaysa 12 waxshi oo khalkhal geliyay wada noolaanshaha ummadaha dunida. Anigu kuma qanacsani doodda odhanaysa Yurub Islaam kuma noolaan karo. Anigu waxa aan qabaa in Islaamku yahay xaqiiqo jirta jirina doonta oo ay tahay in ay reer Yurub shifo ku afsaaraan. Anigu waxa aan aaminsanahay in Islaamku yahay diin nabadgelyo, barwaaqo iyo wada nolaansho. Anigu ma aaminsani warbaahinta nooceeda indhosarcaadka iyo khiyaamada miidhan ah. Anigu cidna falka ay samayso cid kale wejiga uguma dhabooqo. Aniga qur’aankaygu waxa uu leeyahay “nafna naf kale denbigeeda looma xanbaariyo”. Anigu odhan maayo falka uu masiixi ka sameeyo dunida dacalladeeda waxa masuul ka ah diinta masiixiyadda. Anigu ma aaminsani felsefadda sheydaanka ee ah: nala jir ama naga jir. Anigu waxa aan ramaysan ahay duni kala duwanaanshuhu qurxiyo ee aanu qobqobin.

Sidoo kale anigu uma sacab tumayo falal aan laga fiirsan dhibaatada ay keeni karaan. Anigu ma raacsani dad iska tukaamaysanaya in birta laga aslo. Anigu ma oggoli in cidna lagu xadgudbo diintii ay doonto ha haysatee. Anigu waan u qirayaa xaqa ay reer Yurub ku leeyihiin muslimiinta dhex deggan. Anigu Yurub waxa aan uga mahadcelinayaa wanaagga ay u gashay muslin kasta oo dalkiisa ka qaxay. Anigu waxa aan ahay muslin aaminsan: cidda aan dadka u mahad celin Ilaah na uma mahad naqdo.

Innagu waxa aynnu nahay muslimiin. Innagu ma nihin Charlie Hebdo.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2015 in Uncategorized