Saado Sings for Las Anod
By Ali H. Abdulla
April 07, 2010
Her name is Saado Ali Warsame. Born in the region of Cayn in Northern Somalia to a conservative nomadic family, she started singing at an early age to become the first singer from that part of the country whose inhabitants frowned upon such pursuits.
Saado moved out of her nomadic roots to the city to become one of the best in her chosen profession. She is one of the few Somali singers who compose some of their own songs. Her songs range from romantic love to Somali Nationalism.
Most people know her for political songs such as “Laand Karuusar Gado, Guuxisa Mood, Mood, Gob inaad ku tahay Geeska Africa”: “Buy a land Cruiser with donated aid. Let its sound make you believe that you are somebody in the Horn of Africa”. The song criticized the ruling junta for pilfering donations from Western Countries on expensive Toyota Land Cruisers for government officials and their families while the nation sank deeper into poverty and anarchy.
She also sang to lament the dilapidated conditions of the only two five star hotels in Mogadishu which were mainly built with donations from the Somali people and eventually became meeting places for clan gatherings. The incompetent management allowed the hotels to deteriorate to less than 1 star edifices infested with bugs, cockroaches and rats. She first performed the song in a theatre full of the SRC members including the late Siad who became furious and almost incarcerated her.
She also participated in a long running serial poem that started with the letter “D” and known to Somalis as the Deelley. Her participation focused on defending the people of the North against the practices of a brutal regime.
After the collapse of the regime, Saado’s songs focused on appealing to the national identity of Somalis to rebuild their country and stop fighting. Her song “Aan kuu Taliyo” is a master piece that describes the current situation of Somalia where politicians cannot agree on sharing power equitably. It is a hilarious song accompanied by an expressive body language by the singer.
Saado recently stood up for the former Vice President of Somalia, Mohamed Ali Samatar, who has been accused of torture. Saado argued that it was unfair to single Samater out when other members of the regime are scattered all over the world.
Saado is not a stranger to controversy and her latest song has generated a lot of debate in Somali circles. Many Somalis have welcomed its nationalistic lyrics, while a few have accused her of encouraging the people of Sool to revolt against the secessionist regime of Rayale, a former Colonel in the security apparatus of the collapsed Somali Regime. Some accuse Rayale of wanting to bolster his re-election chances with the costly and risky occupation of the city.
‘Libdhimeyside Laas Caanood, Laba maahaa Waddankeennu”, talks about the city of Laas Anod, the cradle of the Dervish Movement that fought against the British colonialists for more than 20 years and eventually succumbed to the first aerial bombardment in the history of Africa. The song’s title means “O Las Anod, you will always remain a part of Somalia, Our country is one”.
The Rayale Regime invaded the city in October 2007 with the help of disgruntled politicians from the area such as Xaabsade who defected from Puntland when he lost his Ministerial Seat there after a long dispute with the then Puntland President Adde Muse. Ironically, the same Xaabsade chased Rayale from Las Anod a few years earlier when the former NSS colonel tried to visit the city uninvited.
Saado extols the virtues of the city as a base for Somali Nationalism and warns its secessionist occupiers against dividing the Somali Nation. Her song prompted the Rayale Regime to attack her and accuse her of enticing violence. In a recent interview with Afnugal, a pro-Somaliland website, the Minister of Interior of Somaliland went as far as boasting that the residents of Las Anod are already under occupation and have no chance of rising up no matter what Saado sings.
The leaders of Somaliland seem to have forgotten the destructive role that Hadrawi and other Somaliland singers and poets played in the destruction of Somalia. Hadrawi’s destructive role can be illustrated by a passage from his poem “Haddaanan Haddaanan” which encourages the northern clans to rise up against the regime:
Hayaay ka kacayda
Ka qayb gelin hawsha”
Hadrawi is a national figure who chose to participate in the uprising of his own clans against what he saw as oppression by a dictatorial regime. Similarly, Saado today believes that her birth place is under occupation by a dictatorial regime that wants to force a secessionist agenda on her own people.
The irony of the matter is that Somalis do not learn from history. The actions of the Siad regime ignited an ugly civil war that destroyed our country. The actions of Rayale can ignite another destructive civil war that can engulf a stable area of Somalia that has escaped so far from the mayhem raging in the South of our country.
The council of traditional leaders of the areas occupied by the secessionist regime is in a mood for confrontation and is gearing up for long conflict that is not in the interest of our country. They recently elected a council of war known as the Khusuusi, named after the inner war council of Sayid Mohamed, the leader of the Dervish Movement in Somalia. The mandate of the Council is to reclaim the city of Las Anod from the secessionist minded regime of Rayale by force if necessary.
Let us hope that sanity will prevail so that we can avoid such a scenario. Let us hope that the elders of the western regions of Somalia can talk sense into the Rayale Regime so that it can withdraw its forces from an area whose inhabitants value Somali Unity and have a strong desire to remain part of the Federal Republic of Somalia. If such a conflict starts, there is a risk of it spreading to other parts of Somalia since the Unity of Somalia is the responsibility of all Somalis wherever they are. God forbid, this can eventually escalate to a war between two major geographical regions of the country.
May be it is about time for the traditional leaders of the North to go back to the acacia tree where the Northern clans used to resolve their differences with the help of camel milk and Shax, Somali Chess. Maybe it is time for Hadrawi to atone for his past sins and compose a song for peace and have Saado sing it with her distinctive voice.
Ali H. Abdulla
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