I would like to share with you this short note as a preamble to the song attached below called Qaylo Dhaan. Qaylo Dhaan is a culmination of a long dialogue, over a period of about 14-15 years, between the Somali flag (the Blue one with the white star in the middle) and Dr. Abdirahman Beileh (myself). This dialogue was taking place, intermittently, during occasions of important international/regional meetings, conferences, and summits where high level national representatives from Africa and from relevant institutions, seated gracefully behind their national flags, debated national issues and promoted their own respective interests. The dialogue took place in these meetings when the two of us met representing two different entities, the Flag representing the Somali Republic and me representing the institution I work for (the African Development Bank).
In these meetings, I often delivered statements and/or participated in discussions on behalf of the Bank. During the deliberations of each of these conferences, we would, once in a while, have eye contacts with the occasional nod or two signifying recognition of each other’s presence. The Flag would always be sitting there quietly and desolately, squeezed and barely noticeable, between the Rwandan delegation on the left, and that of South Africa on the right. You have to look hard to recognize its existence, especially as the seat is always empty. During the earlier years, say 1994 to just about 1999, various groups would show up, each one claiming the right to occupy the seat, with sometimes a scuffle or two between them over the seat, and in the process violently damaging both the flag and the chair. The organizers would then arrive, with security personnel, and decidedly order all groups to leave the premises. The flag would then be folded up and put away with the chair moved to a remote corner somewhere outside the debate area. This normally happened when such important meetings took place somewhere in the Horn.
More recently, however, the look on the face of the flag and the eye contact have appeared noticeably much more hostile towards me than before, to an extent that it made me nervous at the podium delivering a prepared statement or during my participation in discussions. He often frowned at me with visible anger and disdain towards me. I first noticed this in the Food Security conference held by the African Ministers of Agriculture and Water in Libreville Gabon on November 28-29 2006. In this conference, I spoke about what the African Development can do to assist African countries in their efforts towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals on Food and Poverty reduction. The flag’s gaze at me was so intense that I had to disguise my discomfort by taking frequent sips of water with short coughs! I succeeded to restrain myself and the meeting was concluded without any physical contact between us. I occasionally concluded that this was harassment and that I should perhaps draw it to the attention of the organizers. But then, the better part of me commanded that I gave more credence to our blood ties, and thus I should refrain from taking any action against Him.
After the conclusion of this meeting, all delegations participating in the Libreville Conference moved to Abuja Nigeria, where Heads of State Summit was convened on December 4th and 5th 2006 to deliberate on and endorse the outcome of the Libreville Ministerial meeting. There we met again! But this time, because of the expectation of a Head of State, the Flag was mightier in size and more imposing. In addition, the Somali delegation (supposedly led by the head of state) was seated very close to the podium and the high table. As I took a position at the high table, I immediately faced the all-imposing blue flag with the big white, and very bright star, right on my left shoulder looking at me as more disdainful to me as ever.
This session was not a very productive one for me but, at least, I made an effort to concentrate on what I had to say. Within this session, I decided that as soon the session broke for coffee, I would politely approach Him and ask him what sort of problems He had with me!
So I did! as soon as the Chairman, adjourned the session, I got up and directly walked up to Him, very nervously, not knowing what His reaction would be towards me. I quietly shook his hand and hastened to assure Him that I was not there to fight Him like the others in the past, but simply came to say hello! As I sat down with him, we were joined by two ladies who later on told us they were refugees living in Abuja but recruited temporarily to assist in the organization of the meeting. We all talked and confirmed our origins to each other all speaking in the language: iska warrama? Waa nabade idinkuna? Alla mahaddii and so on and so forth..
I then said “ But, Flag, we have been meeting over the years without talking to each other”…” I am happy that we now started talking to each other”…. “Let me just ask you…”
And this song then started expressing these feelings. The ladies also took part in the song!!
Dr. Beileh (1)
Dr. Beileh (2)
Dr. Beileh (4)
Dr. Abdirahman Beileh