2/2011
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Youth, Peace and Poem

"You, who reside abroad

in another far country

this still remains a home to you

don’t limit your options"

The winner of the Poem Contest Ahmed Abdillahi Arab receives his prize.

Peace Poem Contest is promoting youth literature for peace to uplift the value and concept of peace among the young population. Somali people have rich oral culture and tradition of spoken word including poems, songs and folklore. This tradition is still strong and the Somali youth remain interested in poetry, they continue to engage in this tradition with specialized websites and online forums used as the popular medium of exchange.

Taste of Peace and Order

Somalia has become synonymous with conflict and human suffering as a result of continuous civil war in the last two decades. The prolonged conflict and civil war have created a culture of violence and lawlessness in the society, particularly affecting the young generation who were born during or after the civil war and have grown up in a hostile environment. Unemployed frustrated youth are vulnerable to exploitation by warring warlords and drawn into conflict.

Fortunately parts of former Somali Democratic Republic have been lucky enough to taste peace and order such as Puntland and self-declared state of Somaliland Republic which is not yet internationally recognized. Despite the peace prevailing in Somaliland it is surrounded by violent conflicts in the region and within itself.

Children in Somaliland primarily get basic education – although limited – but there are not enough vocational or higher education institutions for the youth after they have completed their basic education. The minority of youngsters who manage to get the chance to graduate from the few available universities find it difficult if not impossible to find any kind of employment. Unfortunately, a number of these educated few decide to leave for better opportunities in Europe, while many others drown in the deep sea between Somalia and Yemen or perish in the vast deserts between Sudan and Libya.

Peace is widely expressed and highly valued by Somaliland’s people but the concentration of peace and reconciliation is mainly directed to elder people e.g. clashes among clans. There are no effective programs aimed at reviving peace culture addressed to the youth.

Poems Instead of Guns

The above described problems and difficulties as well as the continuous radicalization of Somali youth inspired this idea of creating youth literature for peace to uplift the value and concept of peace among the young population using the rich and strong oral tradition of the Somali people.

The aim was to hold a national level Peace Poem Contest for the youth between 15 – 25 years of age male and female equally. Students and graduates of secondary schools were targeted in the first phase. The process is for the targeted group to first produce, write down and later recite poems or songs describing and exalting peace.

A large audience was gathered in the festival hall in the center of Hargeisa to witness a poet competition.

The best poems are collected to an album distributed to websites for download, organizations, schools, youth organizations, public transport vehicles, cafes and every one interested to maximum exposure. Also videos and DVDs of the contest are distributed to TV channels. This has stimulated the discussion about peace, brought much needed dialogue and benefited the community as a whole.

The idea was born from voluntary training courses which the member of the Horn Organization for Peace and Democracy ry, (Horn Democracy) extended to some youth groups and organizations. Leaders of Horn Democracy have been regularly visiting Somaliland for the last ten years and always carried out capacity building and experience sharing training for different sectors of the society, from parliamentary committees to local councilors and women's NGOs. The Idea of this project was developed by Horn Democracy together with other youth groups. Traditional and political leaders in Somaliland were consulted and they welcomed the idea and promised their support.

So far, Horn Democracy has organized peace poem contests for the youth on regional and national levels for the last three years (2009 – 2011). A lot of material consisting of DVDs, CDs, audio-tapes and a book were produced from the subsequent events and widely distributed to the public.

The competition component has really made the project interesting to the youth on the individual level and on a regional level. The best poet of each region was selected to participate at the national contest representing her/his region. The competition component of the project has made the project attractive to the public and formed a platform for young poets to showcase their talent, creating exposure and opportunities for the participants.

The three best of the poetry competition Mohamed Jama Abdi (from the region of Sahil), Ahmed Abdillahi Arab (from the region of Sool) and Ahmed Abdi Hirsi (from the region of Togdheer) with Roda Hassan and Mohamed Abdillahi. In front sitting Ayan Osman.

The 2011 grand finale consisted of the six poets representing the winners from each region of Somaliland, it was attended by a live audience of approximately five hundred, below is a print of the poem that won the first price. This thought provoking poem depicts the problems and struggles that are facing the Somali people as a whole and the impact of these problems on society and more specifically on the individual level.

Abdillahi Mohamed and Roda Hassan

HORN Organisation for Peace and Democracy
(HORN Democracy ry)

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

www.horndemocracy.org

A poem (Somali, English) written by Ahmed Abdillahi Arab:

Geeraar Dagaalsokeeye

arrin daayin bayaansheyoo

diinta uu ku caddeeyey

misna aynan daryeelinbaan

soo daliishanayaaye

dad weynoow i dhegeysta

 

daayinkii ina uuntay

wuxuu diinta ku sheegay

in xumaanta ladaayo

in wanaagga ladoono

dhiig islaam laga daadshiyo

in dagaalku dhib keeno

 

maansadayda danteedu

daliil weeye baayaanoo

muslimiinta kudaahane

bal,aan dirka ka qaado

 

naftaydii degi weydey

hurdadii madaneeyo

diidey oonta laquuto

dugsigii tegi waayey

 

dantaydii ka mashquulay

fekerbaa idiloodey

dakharkaan ladhayaynine

dhiigu uu ida,aayiyo

doogta gaadhey naftaydee

cidi aysan daweyn iyo

waxa aan ladayoobey

waad dareemi kartaane

waa dagaalka sokeeye

 

intaa aan isdulsaaraye

dayecee iga muuqda

keligey imadaarine

dadku wuu wadasheegtay

dalka wuu wada gaadhey

 

Ummadyaay doqonniimo

waa waxaad ladulloowdey

haddii aad damqanayso

dadka maalin kastaaba

ka qaxaaya dalkaagee

inta doonni lasaaro

lagu daadsho badweyntee

hadhowtoole dugaaggu

hilibkoo dil-dillaacay

marba daan lategaayo

cidna aysan danynin

sow kamaad damqateen?

 

innagaa is dilaynoo

dadkeeniina dhamynay

dalka waynu qasnaaye

wanaag looguma deeqo

deg-deg waa lasocdaaye

qunyar looma dekeeyo

dabka waan hurinaaye

damiyeynan aqoonin

xeerkii diintu lahaydna

dhaqankii duqeydeeniyo

dastuurbaa kasokeeya

 

dabka aynu shidnaaba

markuu oogta kadaalee

dhamac hosta kadaaran

dambas uuka sarreeyo

diirrimaad ma sameeyo

innagoon dan ka yeelanoo

digniin aynan kaqaadan

ayuunbaan daf dhahnaayoo

dabeed waan gubanaa

dhuxushaa damiweydee

dadka qoobabka goysey

innagaa kadarraanoo

dagaal caado kayeellay

 

dhamacdii dami weydiyo

digo hoosta ka noolba

marbaa daad latagaayoo

meeshii doog kabaxaaye

miyeynaan damqanaynoo

dad miyeynan ahayn?

daawo maynan heleeynoo

sidan doorsan karayn?

bal inaynu dullownoo

damiirkii ina seexdoo

fekerkeenu dambeeyo

 

marka waagu dillaaco

haddii daahir la toogto

duhurkiina modoobe

casarkiina ducaale

maqribkiina darwiish

dadkeeniiba dhamaaye

dalka yaa uhadhaaya?!!!

 

su,aashaa idin daartay

jawaabaa dabataale

dalkii waan aragnaayoo

dulmibaan kuwadnaaye

haddaan saalaga deynin

duullimaadyo shisheeyiyo

kuwo duunyada qaatiyo

dad kalaa imanaaya

 

kun nin oo isku duuliyo

dadkaloo la galaafto

marka maalin laduugee

kuwo aan dambi geysanoo

dhaawacaan la daryeelin

daawo aan lala raadine

baroordiiqda haweenku

docahaaga ka yeedho

sow ayaan darro maaha?!!!

 

iska daaya dagaalka

wuxuun buu dumiyaaye

darajooyin makeeno

 

Ruuxa dhiig muslin daadsha

dar xumooyinka gaadha

balaan diirka kaqaado

 

ninkastoo dulbadnaayoo

dadku shiikh uyaqaanoo

beelo  daadihinaayoon

garta looga dambaynoo

hanti doora lahaayoo

dockasataa kawanaagsan

marka uu wax dilaabuu

dogob waalan noqdaayoo

meelahaa daf-dafleeyoo

dadka suuqa ku baadoo

carruurtu ay ka didaanoo

dumarku ay ka baqaanoo

dambiguu kusugnaa iyo

waxa uu dal-dalaayo

marka daa layidhaahdo

diinta hoosta ka caaya !!!

 

war iska daaya xumaanta

ku dedaala wanaagga

si,aydaan udulloobin

digniin siiya naftiina

danqadoo is xilqaama

danihiinna ulleexda

dumarkiinna xaq dhawra

ubadkiinna daryeela

waalidkiin ka duceysta

ehelkiin ka dambeeya

deriskiin ka xishooda

udedaala naftiinna

waddankiinna daneeya

ciidda hooyo udooda

ka difaacda shisheeye

debed kii ku maqnaa iyo

dal kaleeto mid aadey

taas un bay ku dambayne

yaan la door bidin gaalo

diintu waa ma huraane

waa in loo deg-degayoo

daacad aan u ahaanno

 

taasi wayga dar-daaran

mid kalaan doc ka raacshee

waa digniin iyo waano

 

hebel waa ducuf laan yar

&anaa kaa dun wanaagsan

kadaweeya naftiinna

deyr ka yeesha qabyaalad

qof qudhoow hadanaynin

Ruux qabiilo udoodey

isagaa kudan seegaye

dadku waa isku leebal

 

waxba yaanan kudaahin

intaan daaha ka qaaday

haddaan doodda kudhaafo

geeraarkii wada duugeye

su,aalaa udambeeya

 

durqun ruux ka bilowdiyo

dad lafaaninayaa baa

dagaal uu ka dhacaayoo

dhiig udaadanayaaye

dan miyaa arrinkaasi?

 

naftu way damqartaaye

wixii daanno ugeysta

ma inlooga digaabaa

mise waa inladaayo?

 

dood qabiil ku salaysan

in dagaal ka dhacaayoo

dadna uu ku dhintaa

dan miyay kujirtaa?

 

dalkeenoo rabshadaysan

dadkiisiina qaxaayoo

qofba meel udalwaayo

dabaqaad isku tagtana

 

dekenooyinka qaariyo

dulmigaan isku hayno

diiqad aadan gam,aynin

wax la deysan karaayoo

loo dul qaato miyaa?

 

waxa doog ina gaadhey

dedaalkeena habsaamiyo

dareenkeena yaraaday

ayuun baa ka dambeeya

 

 

daayinkii na Abuurtoow

adigaa dunidaada

sida ay kudambayniyo

daawadeeda ogsoone

ku daryeel samahaaga

 

anna doocda iqaadee

dareenkayga ka buuxda

digniintaad argtaan iyo

duco qaaliya weeye

 

alloow dawlad wanaagsan

diinta aan hor istaagin

daacadoo layaqaanoo

dalka oo dhan xoraysa

dadku uu ku midoobo

dastuurkeeda habooniyo

dalabkeeda laraacoo

qofna  aan dulmiyaynin

dalka noogu dhex beer

aamiin aamiin aamiin

 

Civil War

Something quite clear

ordained in our religion

we have failed to honor

I would like to explore it

So hear me out, oh my people

 

Lord, who created us

ordered us in his religious text

to leave evil behind

to search for the good

not to spill human blood

that war brings endless problems

 

the focus of my poem

is to clear fog,

so let me remove the clog;

my soul refuses to settle

sleep no longer interests me

food, I refuse to eat

school, I won’t attend

too busy to attend to my needs

my thoughts are killing me

my untreated wounds

dripping with my blood

 

 

the trauma to my soul

no one has treated

the reason for my suffering

 

I am sure you can feel

is Civil War

all these layered problems I have

the physical evidence you can see

but, I am not the only one

 

everyone suffers the same

it’s reached the whole country

 

Oh my people, stupidity

is why we’re cursed

 

can you not feel our pain?

Every day, some of us fight in a war

some of us are packed into a boat

dumped in a far ocean

 

eaten and sliced by sea's killers

leftovers scavengers carry away

 

no one stops this continuous cycle

Does this not pain you?

 

We are killing ourselves

our people nearly extinct

our country ruined

goodness has disappeared

in a hurry we leave

in peace, we refuse to settle

a new fire we always start

stupidity knows no knowledge

nor the boundaries of religion

nor a culture

nor a near constitution

 

this fire we continue to light

the flames begin to glow

more coal we add to it

ashes cover the burning coal

a purpose we must have

a warning we ignore

in a hurry we burn it down

 

that coal refuses to die out

burning people’s feet

we are worse than that

fighting, we’ve made a tradition

that coal that refuses to die out

sustained by the warm ashes below

people forcefully stand on it,

is on the same spot vegetations used to grow

Do we feel no pain,

are we not human?

Do we not have a cure?

What path can we choose?

 

lost as people

our brains sleeping

our thoughts centuries behind

 

when the morning light shines

if Dahir is shot

Modoobe shot at midday

Ducaale shot in the afternoon

Darwiish shot at sundown

We will be extinct

Who will be left for this country?!!!

 

touched by my question

the truth in our midst

this country we can see

unfairness consumes it

if we don’t desist from this

fleets from abroad

people who rule the rest

and many other people shall come

 

a thousand men wage a war

the collateral they cause, buried on the same day

sinless they remain

the injured not tended to

medicine not sought for them

the anguished cries of women

sounding from all corners

Is there a worse situation?!!

 

­Stop this fighting now!

we only know how to destroy things

heights we never reach

 

he who spills human blood

the misery that befalls him

a look we must take

 

a vast land he possessed

an honored sheikh we acknowledge

a clan elder who led

a mediator in disputes

mass wealth he accumulated

honored and blessed in every corner

as soon as he kills

a mad man he becomes

in speed he flees

aimless wondering the markets

children shrink away from him

women folk fear and shun him

the crime he committed

the mindless excuses he employed

when he’s revoked for it

its God he curses under his breath!!!!

 

Oh men, stay away from evil

strive for the good

so that we don’t become lost people

give your soul a warning

feel our pain and compel yourself to act

attend to your interest

fulfill our women’s rights

look after our youth

seek blessings from your parents

obey your family

respect your neighbors

try your best for yourself

preserve our country’s interest

advocate for our land

defend it against intruders

You, who reside abroad

in another far country

this still remains a home to you

don’t limit your options

 

religion we need

in a hurry we must attend to it

true to its scripture

 

that is my recommendation

and another I will add

a warning and advice

 

his family linage is short

my linage is better

treat your soul from this illness

a wall against clannish ideas

don’t defend a single interest

he who advocates for clan

his own interest he will neglect

 

everyone is the same

let nothing cover it

remove the covering,

I’ll leave the debate

poetry I have exhausted

questions I still have

 

a minor personal dispute

rumored and propagated

fighting stems from it

blood is spilled for it

Is this in our interest?

For the trouble makers

should there be a warning against them

or should we leave it?

 

a debate based on clan

fighting originates from

people dying as a result

Is this in our interest?

 

problems in our country

our people fleeing and refugees

each of us losing his home wherever we go,

 

some untreated grudges and

unfairness we must leave

never ending sleepless stress

it should not be tolerated

 

all injuries we’ve suffered

resulted from our late efforts

our inability to feel pain

 

Oh creator

you created this world

you know how it will end

its cure you know

treat it with your goodness

 

consumed by angry

filled with emotions

its caution you witness

and an important prayer

 

Oh lord, give us a good state

which does not oppose religion

honest and known

to free all of our land

to treat everyone as equal

its constitution preserved

its orders followed

not unfair to anyone

created in our country

Amen Amen Amen