On October 21, 1969 Somalia witnessed a bloodless coup that brought to power President Mohamed Siyad Barre and was the beginning of over 2 decades of military power. This was part of a string of coups that occured in Africa during the last three years of the sixties decade fron Libya to Sudan to Somalia and a lot of Sub-Sahara Africa.
This is not about his dictatorship or the atrocities that happened in his final years or the debacle of the Ogaden war or the other 1001 debatable secrets in the October revolution pandora box. All these have been recorded and renarrated, debated and discussed, printed and prosed.
Rather this is about the nostaglia for what I can remember of Somalia when it was a country, a nation and a state. When we had a National theatre and Heesaha Hirgaly. When we could ride the Sitay Ma noogto and drive to Afgooye without bullets and bombs. This is about a girl walking past midnight to an October or 1st July parade simulation without being harassed or raped. This is about a nomad walking a three days journey across other clan territory in search of a lost camel without fear of being killed and expecting to be hosted and fed with meat and milk. This is about those city people excursions to the country side to escape the city’s hectic life. This is about Mogadishu ‘s 1001 melting pot characters of every shade and colour of Somalia’s clan culture. This is about neighbours next door who do not know each other’s tribe and dont care. This is about going to Cinema Ceel Gaab and watching an Ivan Cliff film. This is about sitting on the stair steps of your Boondheere bechalor room and watching the people pass. This is about going to any district and watching a weekend popular cultural outing. This is longing for Burco and Beerta Xoriyada or Bosaso and Beletweyn, Borama’s banaan and Isha Baidoa. This is about Beeraha Kismayo and Badda Barawe and the other hundreds of other Somali towns.
Siyad Bare’s Somalia was the last Somalia we remember as a country. It is like having a lot of money and spending it using the notes and ignoring and throwing the coins. But as you run out of the notes you look for the coins not finding them except one or two that are rusted, dirty, damaged and unacceptable now. That is how Somalia was and is now. Powerful, united and among nations then. But weak, divided and an outsider now.
I long for that Somalia. Nostglia in its extremest. May we see all of us on our feet and then hold our nation togather and bring it its glory and rightful place among nations.