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I am a Somali
Soomaali Baan Ahay
By Ahmed Ismail Yusuf
August 03, 2010

Throughout our history, Somalis with their legendary, oratory skills would unleash a torrent of verbal artillery in Gabayo. But what is surprising however, is how they, for the first time, masterfully defined what Somaliness (Soomaalino) is, because the war of 1977.  Here, the virtuous and peerless Abdiqadir Hersi (Yam-Yam), may Allah bless his soul, bared it for all to feel and taste what Somali or Somaliness is.  Yam-Yam conclusively dictated that all the traits of one Somali are shared amongst the rest:

Time on its perpetual motion

Days on its sequential, serial chain
An inquiry about the past
If you are a virtuoso (expert)
Look back at the pages (of history)
Who is Somali?

I am synonymous with parity
Let no one  
Be belittle me,

I con not a soul
Feed no one (with deception),

Let no man to pat my head (in beguile)
To tether me,

No man outsmart me
(So) what would I say about cabal:

“Sieve through (me) water-like
“Sieve through (me) water-like,”

I am a Somali.


Though I am penurious
I am as much prudent
As I stretch no hand (to beg)
He who befriends me
Is never equated with my antagonist
(For) I am a Somali.


My destiny has been determined
My hoard (of food for that journey) is an aloe
My intent is known to all,

My sword is (made of) poison
My soul has been suspended from a tree,

A man who imperiled another, will not be safe himself
He, who is swung at, will not sit idle
I am willed not to let victory faded,

I have never abetted an aggressor
I have never equated a victim with a victimizer
I am a Somali.


I am a vanguard for peace
I am wary of war
(But) I would be a warrior (when warranted)

If one is swinging at me
I would not wait till (the lash) would land
I am agile as the wind
(Yet) not so prone to react to a false-alarm,

I am a toxin (only if provoked)
But a pacifier (and a peacemaker)
 I wear patience as my crown
I am a Somali.


A man who dismisses me (in due regard)

Would not finagle me to grant his wish,

Like elsewhere around the global
I am a servile to no certain soul
I carry no shoes for none at all,

You, he who is propitious than I
Flaunting your charity
Would not tempt me (in no time at all),

Thus, don’t let yourself supposing that I can be ensnared
(For you surmising) that I maybe conscience-poor

I am a single hide (one Somalia) that had been torn apart
(But) forever branded all over (with Somali),

Once upon a time, (white) men chopped me off in pieces
(While) I was just minding my own animal herd,

It is I however, who must put me back together as one
(For) I am a Somali. 

Waqtiyada socdaalka ah
Ayaamaha silsiladda ah
Xilliyada bal suuree
Soo jire haddaad tahay
Sadarada dib ugu noqo
Soomaali waa kuma?

Soomaali waa tuma?

Sinnaantaan la magac ahay
Sanku-neefle ma oggoli
Inuu iga sarrayn karo,

Anna garasho sogordahan
Sooryo ruux ugama dhigo,

Ninna madax-salaax iyo
Kama yeelo seetada,

Sasabada ma qaayibo
Sirta waxaan idhaahdaa

Saab aan biyaha cellin
Saab aan biyaha cellin

Soomaali baan Ahay.


Inkastoon sabool ahay
Haddana waan sarriigtaa
Sacabada ma hoorsado
Saaxiib nimaan nahay
Cadawgayga lama simo
Soomaali baan ahay.

Socdaalkaygu waa meel
Sahaydaydu waa dacar
Soohdintaydu waa caan,

Seetadaydu waa cudur
Naftuna geedka iga sudhan,

Nin nin sigay ma nabad galo
Nin nin sugayna maba jiro
Libta weli ma sii dayn,

Gardarrada ma saacido
Nin xaqlana, cid lama simo,

Soomaali baan Ahay.

Nabaddaan u sahanshaa
Colaaddaan ka selelaa
Sooma jeesto goobaha,

Ninka nabarka soo sida
Gacantiisa kama sugo

Dabayshaan la socod ahay
Salfudaydna uma kaco,

Waabay sun aan ahay
Marna samewadaan ahay
Sumir baan hagoogtaa,

Soomaali baan Ahay

Ninkaan taydu soli karin
Uma yeelo suu rabo,

Sida dunida qaarkeed

Sandulaynta ma oggoli
Ninna kabaha uma sido,

Ninka iga sed roonow
Siintaada magaca leh
Ogow kaama sugayee,

Hana odhan sasabo bedow
Dareen seexda ma lihiye
Soomaali baan ahay,

Saan la kala jaraan ahay
Summadi ay ku wada taal

Rag baa beri i saanyaday
Anoo xoolo soofsada,

Xil midnimo anaa sida,

Soomaali baad tahayee.

Never before had any Somali painted such a distinctive depiction of what it means to be a Somali whether he/she is in Ethiopia, Kenya or in the mainland of what used to be Somalia.
The depth of this song and many alike, or should I say poetry, would even today deeply penetrate a Somali’s psyche, awakening whatever dormant patriotism or residue left in us, and leaving an indelible sorrow and pain of how much Soomaalinimo (Somaliness)—has been lost.  Yet, it is not all that gloomy when one hears one of these songs, for we would not only be able to recall and rejoice in the memory of what once was a vibrant Somalia that existed not only for the Somalis in it but Somalis in general, a Somalia that was once revered and respected, even envied by its peers.  These songs would still lacerate you with a lasting pain, luring you to recollect the laudable days, as well as leading one who was not there to lament with inquisitive inquiries.

On other hand, just like this one, these songs would hold a reflective mirror before whoever is inclined to hear them with nostalgic notions, asking him/her to take an inventory of yesteryears, urging to account for the past.  For that reason, Somali songs endear themselves to the keen ears and the kindred hearts that host them in their memory.  With them, they carry historical anecdotes and evoke emotional senses, racing back in time.

Ahmed Ismail Yusuf

Halkan ka dhageyso heestii Soomaali Baan Ahay


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