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Broken Ribs of A Nation's History


By Abdi-Noor Hagi Mohamed


After 16 years of war and civil strife in Somalia, I have today visited the college of Education and that of Agriculture in Afgoi district of Lower Shabelle region. The College of Agriculture is remembered for the major role it had played in the improvement of agriculture and the expansion of farm production techniques by building the capacity of farmers’ knowledge and skills while the College of Education is famous for turning over thousands of teacher each year to be relocated in the various districts and regions of the country.  

College of Education which is commonly known as Lafole is the institution where I had spent most of my educational life. Apart from supplying the nation with competent educationists, Lafole has been the nerve center of intellectual and literary movements in the country.

It is where many plays were clandestinely composed and hatched by Hadrawi, Gaariye Saeed Salah and other poets with exceptional literary capabilities. It is where Sangub and his troupe had first met and discovered the talents of Seynab Cige (later a famous singer) in a drum-beating exercise inside the camp.

It is where Sharif Abdi-Noor, a great religious man and a well respected teacher and preacher at the College of Education, has been picked and subsequently detained in unknown bunkers by Barre's secret police at the peak of the military regime's reign of terror. With me please share this poem which I wrote shortly after visiting these two fallen sisters 


Two Sisters
Sisters of love
Sisters of knowledge
Sisters of culture
Sisters of Ethics
Sisters of humanity
Sisters of peace
Symbols of civilization
Treasures of the past
Coiffures of the nation
They are two colleges
They are two sisters
One is College of Agriculture
The other is College of Education
I visited them today
They were both sick
They were both ailing
Each one was wailing
Each one heard the other's screams
But no sister could help the other
Though they lie side by side
No sister could reach the other
In close distance they are located
I greeted them with smiles of love
As they buried me with hugs of pain

In touring their different segments
I saw everything turned upside down
I got distressed as I began my inspection
Things were shockingly in great tatters
Before melting deeper in the campsites
I was swallowed in a green of a thick forest

The classrooms were occupied by IDP's
I saw people taking shower in the library
I saw them milking cattle in the study hall
I saw the gym drowning in a dusty rubble
I saw the broken ribs of a nation’s history

I then took a glimpse at the Chemistry Lab
The very room in which I made experiments
From afar I sensed the smell of alien odors
It had the stink of a human sweat
Not that of reagents and solutions

But some structures seemed untouched
Still erected in style was the mosque
In dignity it held its head above the sand
Every step I took triggered a fresh memory
OH.I felt like walking on the sands of agony


Abdi-Noor Hanj Mohamed
Mogadishu, Somalia
[email protected]



The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "Hiiraan Online"



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