BUILDING ‘TOLNIMO’, INVIGORATING ‘FICIL’
Abdullahi Dahir Moge
Salka ugu shisheeyee NFD ku siman iyo
Saaca koonfureed ee saaciido taaliyo
Sinta bari galbeedkiyo subarrada waqooyiga
Umadda ku siman ee siqiir iyo kabiirba leh
Kala sooci maayo waa ii wada sokeeyoo
Somali baan ahay aan seeraari karinoo!
Sawdkaan aqaanaa Somali weeyoo
Sinjigayga dhalashadu Somali weeyoo
Samayskayga aadame Somali weeyoo
Sad waxaan la quutaa Somali weeyoo
Saaxiib waxaan nahay Somali weeyoo
Ruuxaan salaamaa Somali weeyoo
Cagta meeshaan saaraa Somali weeyoo
Go’goshaan ku seexdaa Somali weeyoo
Ma ogoli safaadkiyo kala Soocidoodoo
Somali baan ahey, sarrif kuma galaayoo!!
Poet Jaamac Kadiye Cilmi, the living legend, in ‘Somali Baan Ahay’
Garigoan. The main objective of this meeting is building ‘tolnimo’, and invigorating ‘ficil’, Ugaas Geele announced. He can be a bit boring, and verbose, but no one doubts his oratory skills. ‘Gentlemen, all protocols observed,’ he said, as an introductory greeting. And went on “as you are all well aware of, we are under siege, from iidoor,sheekash,jidwaaq,majeerteen,Aba-yonis,Gaadsan, to name but few, of our multiple enemies. These enemies have not sprung up out of the blue sky. They are all undergirded by a common goal and aspiration: to destroy us, to take our land. They had always nursed deep anathema and vendetta against us, perhaps for centuries. They think their time has arrived now that some senseless among us, i.e., the ONLF have picked a ‘vain’ war with Ethiopia.”
Ugaas Geele got emotional, as he got into the details. He was thinking inside: Cid walba kuwaasaa noo jabiyay. Even the ‘midgo’ are going to try their luck soon. The Reer Barre are already having ‘field days’ with us. What a shame! Time was when we chanted ‘Atoobiya aadanaw Nigus iyo arlada Absamaa la haan jirayee!’ These ‘mercenaries’ are standing on our way of reclaiming our rightful place, and lost glory.
‘Gentlemen, rest assured, we are the sleeping lion -a bit wounded maybe- but we will bounce back and take it from me, we will destroy them not one by one-but at one go- all of these patched up ‘insignificants’! However, not by the evident disarray among us! This has to end! ‘Dadku hoostuu iska wada og’yahay; wuu tashadaa’. But we are dispersed and are busy trapping one another.’ Then, he concluded his keynote speech with a dangerous premonition. ‘Idoor are pushing from the north, the Majeerteens have passed Warder. Abaskuul are at the outskirts of Cobole. ‘Xagee lagu socdaa, saw aduun xaalkii garanmaayno’. But those are not my headaches for now. They were always our ‘historical enemies’. What is unforgivable is what the ‘cockroach’ Sheekashs are doing to us, now. Should we be rubbished like this by a bunch of sanctimonious ex-clergy men? Ahey ah! Ungrateful dogs!’ Then, he gave the floor to Sheekh Mukhtar, to provide clarity on what the ‘diin’ says about people who behave like ‘Sheekashs’.
Sheekh Mukhtar is known for his mastery of the religion-inside out, so much so, the local women composed a short poem in praise of his flexibility and intuition. “Sheekhii baladka Sharciyadda ku baaxiyoow, adaan kugu soo baqdee, nacabka ha iigaga bixin.” His resourcefulness, in the subject matter of fasaq and nikaax, is legendary.
He sifted through few pages of a hand-written small ‘kitab’ and gave the verdict with ease. ’Waa yuhuud. It, therefore, follows Dhiigoogu waa xalaal. Because? They are the proverbial ungrateful rabble who had bitten the very hand that fed them.’ He wound up with, “the ‘diin’ calls for resolve; not to give the left cheek when you are slapped on the right.”
Goodness me! You think a devil comes down from the sky in radiance and amid thunder and lightening, these days? You are deadly wrong. It can be the down-at-heel impecunious guy next to you!
The diagnosis was undoubtedly made. Just because those, -the ‘useless’ ONLF- are fighting on our name, they think they can stab us at the back? The payback day will come soon; and make no mistake-we will repay them with an interest rate of 60%. The chant started with zeal. ‘Rasso will be conquered soon! Rasso is the New Jerusalem! Death to ‘Yuhuud and Sheekash!’ the ‘Dhaanto’ begun in earnest! Jecliyaayeey Imeey oo la jaara. Everybody was pleased. All the ‘lions’ have spoken.
Out of countenance, by what he just heard, a ‘donkey’ spoke quietly. “Why do we pick all these enemies? Who can prove they are working against us? And why not seek peace with our brethren? Might we have wronged some of them? Nin walaalkii day dayahayaa, dhuuman kari waayee! Why only think about land in geographical terms. This land of us can sustain 200 million people with ease. The United Kingdom, with the same size, had 60 million inhabitants of all decent. It is industrialized, beyond your imagination. The skies above us can expand our ‘territorial reach’; if we build skyscrapers. If we make peace with everybody, we can enlarge the land mass infinitely. We, as a community, can settle, graze our livestock on, or fetch water from Kenyan border to Djibouti. The issue of property rights, in one of the most sparsely populated lands on earth, should not have worried us, now. Why always see things from antagonistic perspective?’
The entire ‘lions’ roared, at once, at this’ coward’ man. Ugas Geele, was the harshest, “I can never miss oxymoron and bathos! Frankly, I can tell the bad bull in the flock by its horn. I knew you were short on ‘ficil’, -the moment I saw your big cumbersome lower lip. But never did I imagine you could go down to that low level! Now, leave our meeting and go to your adoring wife. Mas dil iyo naag la muran miidhan, iga dheh! You are only good enough for producing children. Heartless!” The man walked out silently. He was, clearly, a minority.
Rasso. Abdi Nuux, the coordinator of the fight against ‘the fascist Ogadens’ spoke quietly and composedly. ‘My people, these Ogadens are not human beings. They have an inflated view of themselves. They think they own all of us. They think we were created to serve them. The statistics are there for anybody to see. They barely account to 20% of the people in the region; yet they pull all the shots. Injustice!! Now, alxamdu lilaahi, we are in strong position. This organization of them, the ONLF, should better rename itself ‘the Front for the liberation of Ogaden and subjugation of Sheikash (FLOSS). Don’t listen to their manifestos. All they stand for is to oppress us and other people in the region. Wake up and stand up for your guard. ‘Yaa la xoreyn, inagaa la inoo socdaaye.’ He finished.
A young boy stood and announced the latest news on their enemy’s predicament. According to kildhi 6.com, he said, 12 ONLF members are captured by the heroic ‘Ethiopian Defense Forces’; and 20 of their reserves in the community are killed by Oromo tribesmen in Lagahida. Loud applause and cheer erupted, as participants of the meeting congratulated one another on this landmark victory. ‘Allahu akbar, sir maqabe alla u sahan ah’. The myth of the ‘Colossus’ disappearing into thin air before our own eyes! Rejoice oppressed people of the land! Rejoice! “eeboooow mahadaa…”
Mohamud, a Sheikash elder, a ‘donkey’ not a ‘lion’; raised his hand and offered a piece of sane advice. ‘It is true we have a dispute with these brothers of us. It is true we feel hard done by them. But is it fair of us to support an external enemy against them? And if the enemy succeeds in defeating them, what will be the pay off for us? I don’t agree with whatever is said here. I don’t believe there is a conspiracy by Ogaden’s to cleanse us. Their women are raped day in, day out. Their men are in jails, and many families are distraught. The ‘ones’ in regional power, you blame as the ‘torch-bearers of their domination’; are the very same people who had incarcerated thousands of ‘the bad people’ into the labyrinth of jails in the region. We should seek a peaceful means to resolve our difference. We are like ‘teeth and a tongue’; we can bite each other, sometimes nastily. But we are inseparable. Let us not hype hatred and malice.’
Abdi Nuux showed him the door. Hit the road; ay-yahoow, aan dhiiga laheyn. “We know you get remittances from your Ogaden brother-in-law in London”. Luckily, you are a minority, a useless minority. But don’t spoil our meeting; get out.’Dakane ii hiili kuma tidhaaye, ha I iloobin bay ku tidhaa, he reminded all. ‘We will never forget’. Primitive dogma!
By the way, our ‘cyber-lions’ alerted me to this latest of their tricks. We know they are peddling ‘cheap hypocritical sermons’ all over the websites. “All of a sudden, proselytes of virtue! Preachers of morality! It is a manifestation of how weak they are. They are getting a real battering.” Up in your ass! Bastards! Goormay Somali u baahdeen?
The next morning, when I met grandma Cibaado, and told her about the two meetings, she told me yet another chilling story-from her sea of wisdom. ‘Son, Our Somali people are like that. They are weird’. She said. ‘They like ‘lions’; yet lions kill their animals, kill themselves, and scare livestock away from pasture fields. It offers no help to mankind. But it is praised, and admired. A donkey provides a lot of support for humans: it is used for tilling land, transporting the sick to health facilities, carrying water and food, and doesn’t harm anyone. It is obedient at all times. Yet, our people despise it.’
The analogy was palpable. Men, who preach peace and harmony, are ‘donkeys’; ‘demagogues who incite hate, division, fear and murder are ‘lions’. That is my community, I now understood. Thanks to ayeeyo. Had she been from the ‘right’ part of the world, I wouldn’t have found such pride in reading Madeline Albright’s the Mighty and the Almighty. Her wisdom was enough to come up with 100 booker-prize winning blockbusters.
In the evening, when I went out to eat in a local ‘xabashi’ hotel, I saw both Ugas Geele and Abdi Nuux reporting to Colonel Mulugeta. First the former, and then the latter came with his report after about an hour of the other’s departure. I watched them from a dark corner, perplexed.
After they left, the Colonel sent out an urgent SMS to xildhibaan Alpha-Alpha of Gashamo. It read: Phase I: Commence ‘Operation Xodayo’ at 1900MT (military time). Enemy: ABR. Target: Secure all water ‘birkeds’. POWs negative. Expire all, Repeat! Expire. Contingency: contact Nigussie in Danot for back-up. Phase II: wait for advice. Mark: X-tremely confidential. Progress Report: every 30 minutes to Hotel-Alpha-Romeo-Alpha-Romeo HQ.
The xildhibaan sounded non-committal and worried. ‘But colonel, all HY clan elders don’t support this attack; I really have a problem. ‘Urgently dispatch their names. I will take care of them. I will talk to Deeq: district administrator.’ The colonel ordered.
Col. Mulugeta then clapped and waved for Tigist, the waitress, to come. Time for some debauchery after the hard work! “TG, more Beer, one for me, one for you; and you will join me tonight in my celebration. It is gonna be a long ‘lively’ night. Get ready.”
He stretched his hands above his shoulders to shake off the fatigue of the day, and triumphantly hymned: ‘Ya taa baa tuu, Sumale! ‘ (Hurrah! filthy Somali’s!).
[*] In Addition to being a couple, me, and Ruqiya, are also half-half’s so to speak. Like the Half-caste, in the Angolan war novel Mayombe, we are locked in this ensuing Manichean logic, of two ‘siblings’ organized around polarizing forms of political and social foci: son against mother, wife against husband, brother against sister, yesterday against today and is against isn’t. We are in ‘identity discomfort’, and creatures of insufficiency in a world of competing binaries: none of us pure enough! Mayombe suggests the way out of this impasse ought to be to find new parameters, new categories, new nomenclature, all neutral ‘miscegenated’-not of different races but of different tribes in this case- to resolve the unremitting ‘struggle within struggle’, or accommodate this personal but very deep nagging problematic.