Somaliland Hopes Books Will Speak to its Diaspora|npr.org
Thursday, 18 August 2016
'A revolution has been happening (in Somaliland) in publishing books, reading, writing and literature,' says Musa...."
"Hamdi Ali Musa saw her first book when she was 10. Now 25, she's one of Hargeisa's only librarians." (shown in photo)
Somaliland is a self declared state (some sources say 'republic') and an autonomous region of Somalia.
It is also a region of Africa whose roots go back to the Neolithic Period. On the outskirts of the Capital, Hargeisa are the Laas Geel complex cave paintings "containing stratified archaeological infills capable of documenting the period when production economy appeared in this part of Somalia (circa 5th and 2nd millennium BCE)".(Wikipedia)
The capital of this republic is Hargeisa (Somali: Hargeysa, Arabic: هرجيسا is the second largest city in Somalia after Mogadishu. (source: Wikipedia).
And here's a fascinating fact ... for centuries until recent history (the end of the 1800's) when European Imperialist interests turned their attention to the region, splitting it up, negotiating treaties to alternately divide or reunite it and eventually leaving it to handle its own particular brand of civil war ... this country's people passed on their ancient legacy of stories in the Oral Tradition.
That's all changed now for a number of reasons, the need to join the community of nations being one of them. Books and their authors represent the renewed hope of these people who are widely spread across our globe as a diaspora - a country as an idea. Since 1972 the swelling initiative to support books written in Somali has been chiefly lead by the desire to gather together in a literary and a real way, the hundreds of thousands of Somalis that have fled this ancient land during its fight for independence and have not returned.
Somaliland has no passport agency and is not 'officially recognised' by the international community. It has no support from international aid agencies nor funds flowing to it from the World Bank. It does have a Book Fair, (site text not it English) and that's where librarian Hamdi Ali Musa enters this story. "The (Book Fair is the) biggest annual event in Somaliland, drawing 11,000 attendees this year, (is) an advertisement for a republic that showcases itself as a kind of "anti-Somalia."
I can not find any details about Hamdi Ali Musa other than what is reported by NPR (and republished by the online 'Samliland Informer'.) I am encouraged as should we all be, that a young woman is the stewart of this growing body of Somali literature, taking her country with her into her future.
Here is the link to the Hargeisa Library on Twitter. @HargeisaLibrary. Somliland skipped right over the 1900's and scooted right into the 21st with its communications and social media!
Credit: NPR, Wikipedia, Twitter