The<strong>Library</strong>

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Hargeysa<strong>International Book Fair</strong>

HargeysaInternational Book Fair

Academics married with Art

February has a special place in the hearts of Somalilanders specially with young and change seekers are the center of attention for all of the activities in Hargeysa Cultural Center most importantly for the Academic Dialog Session. Looking forward for the celebration of Somaliland youth day on February 20, we Started the month with the session on “Migrants on the Margins: a research project of the Observatory of Conflict and Violence Prevention (OCVP) an institution that is serving as a member of international research partners to the Royal Geographical Society’s Field Research Program that is under way in collaboration with researchers from UK Universities (Sussex, Durham and School of African and Oriental Studies at University of London) to investigate the vulnerability and opportunities of internal migrants from rural and pastoral areas of Somaliland. The research focused particularly on refugees those who are living in three Internally Displaced Camps(IDPs) in Hargeisa (Statehouse, Digaale Camp and Camp A). This three years field research project is simultaneously taking place in four of the world’s most pressured cities, including Hargeisa(Somaliland), Harare(Zimbabwe), Colombo (Sri Lanka) and Dhaka(Bangladesh) with the hope to draw on systematic and comparative data on how these patterns and management techniques vary from one city to another.
To present the research’s current status along with basic findings and methodological aspects, we had Dr Laura Hammond (SOAS) and Dr Benjamin Dix (Positive Negatives, an arts-based company working with the project) along with Ms. Ayan Yousuf (OCVP). The objective of the research is to understand the experiences and challenges that the displaced face in moving into the city and trying to find sustainable livelihoods. The research also considered the challenges faced by municipal authorities in responding to this issue.

As a background and basic findings, the researchers presented that Hargeisa city has nearly one million inhabitants and its economy is mainly dependent on remittance and livestock export. Indicating the fact that the local authority is also struggling to improve the city’s infrastructure and public services which are either absent or in a poor condition, cyclic droughts in the country is stated as a factor that further complicated the situation and have forced many rural and pastoral communities to move to the city in search of survival. The researchers further elaborated that whenever there is drought in the country there are new arrivals, who often find themselves in informal settlements. The three sites house IDPs who are mainly from rural and pastoral communities, but the camps differ in proximity to the city Centre, access to services (including water, education, transportation and work), time of establishment and population which made the challenges faced by the IDP to vary accordingly. The State House, established in 1991, is believed to be the oldest IDP camp in the city, housing 4,500 families at the Centre of Hargeisa. In contrast, the newer Camp A looks like a temporary camp: residents live in simple huts of plastic and old cloths with the hope they will be resettle in a permanent location. Finally, Digaale camp, established in 2012, has an estimated population of 900 families and is located 6km outside the city. Unlike the other two camps, the residents live in permanent metal houses built with the support of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Danish Refugee Council (DRC).


On the aspect of the research methodology, the research is using the Q methodology which was devised to allow an individual to represent his or her vantage point for purposes of holding it constant for inspection and comparison. The key to this approach is to consider data in terms of the individual’s whole pattern of responses, a self- reference rather than looking for patterns among people. People and not tests are the variables is the fundamental perspective of the methodology (McKeown & Thomas 1988).
With this methodology, participants are asked to decide what is meaningful and significant from their perspective by using a Q-sort. From this process an essentially relative set of evaluations is produced. The data from several people are then factorially analyzed; this reveals groups of individuals who have ranked characteristics in the same order. This was explained by Ayan Yusuf the senior researcher of the local partner who further stated that they followed the principle to have an appropriate set of statements that come from the concourse that exists around the issue under consideration, as these are the essence of the subjectivity that will later emerge from the sorting of statements by the participants in addition to making sure that the statements used in Q methodology to be representative of the topic so that there are statements that people can agree with and statements that people can disagree. The other aspect of the research which is expected to have unique presentation is that the statements collected and agreed by the informant on the bases the Q-sort method will later be presented as a story line. This was explained by Dr Benjamin Dix from Positive Negatives, an arts-based company working with the project who has been using comic art as a way of presenting research outcomes.


As the research is a work in progress, findings in a generalized form were not part of the presentation. However, the methodological uniqueness and observational issues were part of the follow up questions and discussion. The night also had another mission of providing information on the MSc scholarship at SOAS explained by Dr. Laur Homound the leading coordinator of the scholarship which was an interesting point for the young Somalilanders who has become a major participant of the platform.

The Issue, The Day and The Presentation
Our second presenter for the month was Ebba Tellander a Doctoral Researcher at Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and International Institute of Social Studies in the Hauge (Erasmus University Rotterdam) whose PhD project focuses on civic mobilization in Somaliland’s recent history.

Her research is affiliated with the Societal Transformation in Conflict Contexts project, funded by the Norwegian Research Council. She was a Researcher at the Social Dynamics Department and a Communicator at the Communication Department at PRIO. Her previous research focused on the role of the Somali diaspora in Norwegian foreign policy towards the Somali region. Even though she is in her initial stage of her research work, the topic she is working on has managed to pull in many issues and aspect in Somaliland. It couldn’t have been in a better timing to talk about her research area as Somaliland National Youth Day is commemorated every year on 20th of February in remembrance of the youths who play a huge role in the ongoing development in the country. More specifically the researcher is taking the UFFO group as her case study owing to the fact that those youths who were all locally educated initiated a volunteerism program at the Hargeisa Group hospital under the banner of UFFO with the objective of creating sanitary conditions at the then northern Somalia main health facility. This was as struggle and resistance against the then Somalia dictatorial government of Mohamed Siyad Barre who in the 20th February of 1982 arrested and sentenced to death a number of youth in Somaliland that escalated to crackdown by the dictator’s forces accompanied by security agents from the National Security Service-NSS elicited anger by local youths in Hargeisa through unprecedented protest demonstrations. It is in honor of UFFO members and their activities that stimulated resistance to Barre’s oppression by ordinary locals, the government of Somaliland declared 20th February as a national youth day. This is how the presentation of Ebba intertwined with the commemoration as her research is aspiring to investigate peace development through volunteerism-based resistance movement. The feedback from the youth association members who were attending the discussion along with UFFO members themselves enlightened the academic dialog and assisted the researcher to obtain a more digested foundation for her work progress.

Double Celebration for the month
February went more interesting considering the third week dialog session which was held on the commemoration of the International Mother Language day whereby we lunched the first Somali language audio book a translation of “We Kissed the Ground” a dramatic firsthand account of a migrant’s journey from Somaliland to the Mediterranean published by the Rift Valley Institute in 2017.

We also had the launching of Dhaxalreeb (1st issue of 2018) our quarterly bilingual magazine (English and Somali) that will serve as another platform to provide literature, academic dialog and traveling information about Somaliland as you are reading it now. Music performance was also part of the entertainment educational structure of the event.

Concluding the month with the thought provoking documentary of The Life of Malcolm X which has a dimension that has not been given much attention.

The documentary presents how Malcom X played as one of the influential Muslims. The platform has once again served its intention of linking scholars from all corners of the world who has taken Somalia, Somaliland and Horn of Africa as their area of interest with a strong sense of developing academic discussions in Somaliland lead and owned by local scholars and youth. It is not a surprise then that we have grown to 258 people in our mailing list which we are certain will grow more. The attendance by young Somalilanders who the vibrant voice of the discussion are assures the sustainability of this platform as they will be the next presenters with the rising academic aspiration they have. Well with such a celebratory mood of the month of February that shed a light on the academic discussions we had, we are looking forward to the coming presentation with open hand and heart to anyone who is heading to Hargeysa Somaliland to join our sessions be it as presenter or an attendant.
Note. Please notify us if you or anyone in your academic circle is heading to Hargeysa so that we can set a time table for them to be part of the presentation sessions. info@hargeysaculturalcenter.org or tirsit.yetbarek@redsea-online.org

Somaliland: The Abaarso story

During this presentation our academic dissuasion was guided by a project work that focuses on one of the academic success stories from Somaliland; Abaarso Tech school. Mr. Harry Lee an American Filmmaker who is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Education at Harvard University. He has spent three years in Somaliland teaching at Abaarso School and shared with us his findings on challenges and opportunities for the students to join the highly reputed institutions in the West.

The feature-length documentary which he made with his partners Ben Powell and Kate Griendling, about five Abaarso students who are applying to American schools with a lot of collective dreams and expectations on their shoulders set the discussion on multiple direction including appreciation for of artistic presentation of significant stories that shapes westerns understanding of developing nation. It was also used as a way to reflect the need to come up with a well-researched achievement stories that can inspire young Somalilanders through the voice of youth they related too.

The story detail follows Abdisamad, Roda, and Amaal who are students at Abaarso School of Science and Technology outside Hargeisa. Abaarso is an American-run school where Somaliland students attempt to secure scholarships to US universities so they can be better prepared to lead their country. Each of these three students has different motivations and dreams while at Abaarso. The odds are stacked against them as they apply to American schools but they hold out hope for a better future.

Conclusion

As it has become a prominent space for academic discussion, this forum has grown in number of area covered and attendants. Even though its weekly based aspiration is challenged with the fact that it is not possible to have PhD presentation every week, expanding its domain by having presentations of related published articles, masters research works that have strong relation to a project in the PhD level has gave the chance to hold the sessions on consistent base.

The range of participant is still mainly PhD students but once in a while when we have international scholars who could be benefit not only to the PhD circle but the overall academic development in Somaliland so as to make sure appropriate information collection strategies and locations are used for research which usually puts a question on how international researcher get local context in an objective manner directs our decision to incorporate such studies. this is well assured by making such presentation a public event in comparison to the closed PhD days presentations in order to reach every interested academic community member to takes part in it. the practice of making it a public event also is applied to presentations of internationally renowned scholars whose experience is significant to the wider community. The case of Dr. Severine Autesserre   Dr. Michael Walls and Dr. Scot Pegg’s presentation nights are worth mentioning here.

The growing number of attendants and mailing list members is another encouraging fact that tells how much the forum is attaining its objective of identifying research works on progress, connecting researches, sharing experience and developing collective responsibility of assuring quality research works practice are utilized in researching socially significant matters. On an average we have had 245 participants with local and international mix with young Somalilanders taking the higher portion for attending most of the presentation even though our November presentations brought more of international participant due to the election observation mission for the presidential election. The gender balance seems to be more of male dominant both in number of researches presented and also attendants for the events which we hope will have a different future turn out.

All in all, the forum is going in the right direction which will yield the aspired input for the 40th Somali Studies international congress.

Life is Waiting: Referendum and Resistance in Western Sahara’

“Life is Waiting: Referendum and Resistance in Western Sahara’ directed by Iara Lee

We screened ‘Life is Waiting: Referendum and Resistance in Western Sahara’ directed by Iara Lee to lead the way for another intellectual dialog.
Four decades after its people were promised freedom by departing Spanish rulers, the Western Sahara remains Africa’s last colony. While a UN-brokered ceasefire put an end to armed hostilities in the territory in 1991, the Sahrawi people have continued to live under the Moroccan armed forces’ oppressive occupation, and what peace exists in the area is fragile at best. Tens of thousands of Sahrawis have fled to neighboring Algeria, where over 125,000 refugees still live in camps that were intended to be temporary. In spite of these difficulties, a new movement, with youth at its center, is rising to challenge human rights abuses and to demand the long-promised referendum on freedom. Today’s young generation is deploying creative nonviolent resistance for the cause of self-determination. In doing so, they’ve had to persevere against a torrent of conflicting forces. While risking torture and disappearance at the hands of Moroccan authorities, they’re also pushing back against those who have lost patience with the international community and are ready to launch another guerrilla war. The new film from director Iara Lee will examine these tensions as it chronicles the everyday violence of life under occupation, giving voice to the aspirations of a desert people for whom colonialism has never ended.

Somaliland’s fishery sector and its development initiatives

Somaliland’s fishery sector and its development initiatives, exploring the various economic, social and epistemic networks

As the forum is centering Somaliland/Somalia based research with internationally acknowledged methodology and research practice, the three presentations we had resonated on Somaliland statehood and mechanisms for development that coincided with the election the state was on. The third presentation was by Miss Amanda Møller Rasmussen who has a background in Social Anthropology of Development (MA) from the School of Oriental and African Studies as well as in African Studies (MA) from the University of Copenhagen. She has been affiliated to the Centre of African Studies at Copenhagen University as a research assistant and project coordinator. Her research has mainly focused on Somaliland’s fishery sector and its development initiatives, exploring the various economic, social and epistemic networks that surround Somaliland’s fishery development on both a local and global level. During her presentation she stated that although fisheries in Somaliland have seldom caught the attention of scholars or international actors, the successful articulation of a linkage between “Somali piracy” and regional fisheries have led to more and more development attention, resources and technologies targeted at the Somaliland fishery industry. She argues that this has resulted in linking both local and global actors in an effort to securitize the region. Her presentation reflected more upon how these narratives are used to address issues of poverty and fishery development. At the same time, she investigates how these narratives have made the Somaliland fishery industry – a marginal and often unnoticed industry with little influence on the global community – into an arena from where different local and global actors are able to negotiate their interest, positions, and the allocation of development resources in a globalized world. In such a process establishing, appropriating, and re-establishing ideas about potential dangerous fishermen and the legitimacy of international development by linking up to local desires, global agendas, and the development epistemic communities that surrounds fishery development in Somaliland is mandatory was her point to take from the presentation. As always her presentation was also followed by supplementing perspectives and challenges that shadowed fishery which is an industry Somaliland has a wider opportunity for national development.

Presentation by Mr. Yusuf Serunkuma

With the well ignited appetite by Dr. Pegg’s presentation, we had our following Wednesday dialog with the young scholar Mr.Yusuf Serunkuma who is a PhD student at Makerere University Institute of Social Research (MISR), Makerere University in Kampala. His work focuses on exploiting the craft and aesthetics of popular culture (poetry, nationalist music, monuments, popular narratives and practices, national celebrations, fliers and symbols of statehood such as the national flag, and recent ethnography, 2015) mostly through ethnography, discourse and literary analysis, Yusuf’s work examines the ways in which Somaliland political identity and national consciousness is mobilized as an independent nation state seceding from Somalia. Using the case study of Somaliland, as a form of de-imagined nationalism, Yusuf then attempts to theorize secessionist nationalism (Eritrea, South Sudan, Pakistan, Biafra, Catalonia, Scotland etc.) as it is distinctly different from other forms of nationalism especially anticolonial nationalism. Participants were impressed with the diverging perspective he was trying to illustrate how identity depiction matters by negating the traditional ‘I am this because I am not that’ which he said unless aspiring nations start centering their self-determination in a way that starts and ends in what they are, he said will still be in a continuous challenge of waiting. In his explanation he stated that in Somaliland’s nationalist project he has two arguments: Firstly, he presents that through its “officially sponsored” popular cultural items (such as the symbols of statehood, monuments, nationalist music and poetry, select events such as the arrest of the Horn Stars returning from Mogadishu in 2015 etc.), Somaliland has constructed a public identity that thrives on an intimate juxtaposition/foil with Somalia. He argues that is perilous as there is potential for nationalist amnesia/violence once the foil disappears. Secondly, that although most of scholarship rightly celebrates the peace and stability in the country of the last 26 years, sustaining the images and histories of violence in its public identity and institutional symbolisms suggests it has remained a country at war.  He asserted that Somaliland ought to build a national consciousness without Somalia as its referent. “my suggestions include monumentalizing cultural and SNM heroes, first presidents, significant historical figures etc.”  Secondly, by defining itself in essentially internationalist terms (democrats, anti-terrorism, victims of a genocide), Somaliland surrenders both the power to define itself in its own terms (say, cultural-traditional) to the international regime of power, which defines those terms.  As well, this has potential to plunge the country into cultural/nationalist amnesia once the terms of the debate shift. On the bases of this presentation participants provided pro and critics by giving example of struggle all over the world which lighted up the discussion. Among the core comments were the international principle of state recognition being binding to have a referent state be it as a mother state or patron which are central in the self-determination process. well his argument popular culture shall be used to identify what Somaliland is as it stands on its own description was concluded with a performance by HCC Cultural Dance team that played ‘Hobbay’.

Twenty Years of De Facto State Studies: Progress, Problems and Prospects

Our last three presentations also evolved with similar tone but even got a wider reception owing it to the fact that they were part of the historic, successful and democratic election Somaliland had. All the three presenters were part of the International Election Observation mission as a Sort term observer. First, we had Dr. Scott Pegg Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). His presentation on ‘Twenty Years of De Facto State Studies: Progress, Problems and Prospects’ surfaced issues centering on the struggle for self-determination with in the past 20 years research including Somaliland whereby he stated that the challenge remains constant starting from naming such entities, irregularities in international principles and limitation on new perspective of academic dialog on the area. He further asserted that fundamentally there remains a continued failure to reach agreement on the number of these entities that exist or have existed since 1945. The nuanced and empirically rich academic literature has also largely failed to advance journalists or policymakers’ understanding of de facto states. Yet, the prospects for de facto state studies remain bright. More diverse comparative work, renewed attention to how engagement without recognition might facilitate the participation of unrecognized entities in international politics, a renewed focus on parent state strategies, and increased attention to de facto states and conflict resolution are areas deserving of greater scholarly attention was the pillar point he wanted to pass. Recent developments from Catalonia to Somaliland were discussed with in this presentation framework which lead to heated, informative and interesting dialog night.

  • CARRADA AYAAN DHUNKANNAY (AUDIOBOOK)

Film Production Course

‘Are You Not Entertained?’ Treatment: Films for Development

An intensive course on Film Production at Hargeysa Cultural Centre

“Whenever am faced with this question, why Films for Development? My answer has always been – My observations became an obligation.” Says Taye Balgun, Taye is a film director/photographer, pan Africanist, activist, social justice campaigner and a teacher.

The course

There are too many entertainers across the world but not enough content to create a critical thinking, provoke minds and trigger change. As a part of Hargeysa International Book Fair pre-activities, Redsea Cultural Foundation is organizing this year at Hargeysa Cultural Centre, a  film production workshop that will take the following structure:

  1. IDEATION: Identifying a problem. This is a simple discussion forum.
  2. RESEARCH: Why is it a problem? Maybe its not a problem elsewhere. How did the problem occurred?
  3. CONCEPT: Will our approach to the subject matter create awareness, provide solution or provoke discussion? A 360 or 180 perspective.
  4. FOCUS GROUP: Who are we targeting? Policy makers, NGO, Grassroots folks, Youth, Experts etc What action do we expect from them?
  5. STORYBOARDING: A sketchy visual narration. If you can visualise your story, you can’t achieve it.
  6. SCRIPTING: Creation of the flow of storyline. Put words on paper, let others read it.
  7. PRODUCTION: Film techniques and style of storytelling. Let the shoot begins.

The workshop will be more interactive and hands-on. Runing five full days, from 14th – 19th, the course organizers expect to have a tangible outcome: A 2 minutes video.

Biography of the lead trainer

Taye Balogun is a Film Director/Photographer, Activist, Educator and a Campaigner. From directing Broadway Musicals to feature films with special emphasis on impact production. Taye has consulted, campaigned and engaged with several international organizations/bodies {Control Arms, Water Aid, Oxfam, HelpAge, SOTU, Save The Children, African Union, UNESCO, AYICC, Amnesty International, Action Aid  e.t.c} on issues ranging from Water and Sanitation, Gender Equality, Youth Empowerment, Women/Human Rights, Climate Change, Peace and Security, and Arms Control. He is the Director of Media and Campaigns of African Artists Peace Initiative (www.aapiafrica.org) – a pan African movement of Artists and Peacemakers working closely with the African Union and UNESCO. Taye is an Alumni of the UNLEASH – a global Lab on SDG’s where he advocated for quality education for all . Taye taught Acting/Filmmaking for 4 years, and presently teaches Films for Development, which has attracted an invite to present his work in Harvard University, Howard University and Georgetown University in the United States. Taye is currently working on his first book titled GUNS, GUTS & GOD and his 7th feature film titled THE BLUE KHAFTAN. www.tayebalogun.com

Other film makers who attend the Hargeysa International Book Fair and Somali Studies International Association Congress, will meet the trainees after the workshop for further improvement.

Tababbarta Tiraabcurinta Toolmoon

QORAAL-CURINTA TOOLMOON

Tababbarrada Xarunta Dhaqanka ee Hargeysa, 2018

Xarunta Dhaqanka ee Hargeysa waxa ka furmi doona tababbar ku saabsan qoraal-curinta toolmoon, gaar ahaan qaybaha maansada, riwaayadaha, filimmada iyo sheekada gaaban. Tababbarkani kuwii sannadihii ka horreeyay ayuu kaabayaa. Waana mid loogu talo galay in ay ka faa’idaystaan dadka ku hawlan qoraalcurinta, saxaafadda, ardeyda barata suugaanta iyo kuwii la mid ah.

Muddada tababbarku soconayaa waa toddobaad 13ka Julaay ilaa 18ka Julaay 2018, Xarunta Dhaqanka ayuuna ku qabsoomayaa. Waxa casharrada bixin doona barayaal ku xeeldheer qoraal-curinta toolmoon waxana, marti ku ahaan doona barayaal iyo xirfadlayaal warbaahinta ku jira oo la wadaagi doona ardeyda waaya-aragnimadooda. Siciid Saalax Axmed, Siciid Jaamac Xuseen, Cabdillaahi Cawed Cige, Saynab Aadan Sharci, Maxamed Baashe X. Xasan, Maxamuud Sheekh Dalmar, Cabdalla Cismaan Shafey, Maxamed Xirsi Guuleed, Maxamed Cali Xasan “Alto”, Dr. Jaamac Muuse Jaamac.

Tababbarku waa lacag-la’aan waxana lagu dhiirri gelinayaa dadka ku hawlan qoraalcurinta iyo kuwa warbaahinta ka shaqeeya, kuwaas oo loo kala tix gelinayo siday u soo kala horreeyaan.

Qofka danaynaya inuu ka qayb galo waxa looga baahan yahay:

  1. In uu yimaaddo xafiisyada Xarunta Dhaqanka ee Hargeysa oo ku yaalla Shacabka, Waddada 26ka Juun ee wadnaha Hargeysa, isla markaana is qoro.

 

  1. In uu xubin ka yahay Xarunta Dhaqanka oo haystaa kaadhka xubinnimada, qofkii aan haysanna marka uu yimaaddo ayuu is diiwaan gelin karaa.

Wixii faahfaahin ah la soo xidhiidh cinwaanka courses@redsea-online.org

Macallin Siciid Jaamac Xuseen
Hagaha Sannadkan ee Tabobbarada Xarunta
Lifaaq: Casharrada lagu baranayo tabobbarka

CASHARRADA LAGU BARANAYO:

Aasaaska qoraalka Af Soomaaliga

Hordhaca aqoonta afafka
Sugitaanka naxwaha iyo xasilloonidarrada qoraalka Af Soomaaliga
Soohdimaha ereyada iyo astaamaha hadalka kala sooca
Doorka shaqalka iyo shibbanaha
Shibbanayaasha labanlaabma iyo higgaad-sixidda kale ee Af Soomaaliga

Qoraalcurinta suugaanta

Fikirka ka dhexeeya qoraalcurinta iyo qaybaha suugaanta
Riwaayadaha, qoraalkooda iyo jiliddooda
Filimmada, qoraalkooda iyo hagistooda
Maansada iyo abla-ablaynteeda
Sheekada gaaban iyo curinteeda

Af Soomaaliga iyo farsamada cusub

Agabka farsamada cusub iyo caqabadaha hor taagan Af Soomaaliga
Agabka farsamada cusub iyo miisaanka maansada
Kaydka Af Soomaaliga: iscugashada, is-ahaanshaha iyo abtirsiimada ereyga.

Isdiiwaangelintu waxa ay xidhmaysaa Salaasa, 10/07/2018, 2:30 pm. 

 

Documentary Nights – Alternative Academic Dialog Platform

 Documentary Nights!

Alternative Academic Dialog Platform 

Informative messages are packed in many different ways so as to make it well informing, interesting and out of the routine way of presentation. The growing diversification of these means of academic communication channels has proven to be successful in all aspects of human communication. It is in light of this understanding that the Academic Dialog In Hargeysa (ADIH) has set the last Wednesday of every month to be Documentary Night at Hargeisa Cultural Center. This is set as an alternative way of academic discussion the center runs every Wednesdays mainly for PhD presentations that brings PhD researchers and scholars together to share area of studies, methodologies and provide concrete suggestions for the betterment of the academic research conducted in the region.

The Documentary Nights are however different not only in way of presentation but also in terms of attendants since it is an open event that invites the general public to take part in the screening and afterward discussions. Just like the main stream presentation of PhD works that has connected, assisted and provided concrete way forwards to researchers, the documentary screening also has gained prominence and has expanded the outreach of the call for academic discussions in Hargeysa as the number of participants is increasing as the days goes by.  The team behind the selection of the documentaries to be screened has made sure to keep truck of developments in the region along with the international relevance of the stories behind each documentary which sustained the event and managed to increase the participants.

The first documentary screened was the documentary film directed by Iara Lee, “K2 and the invisible footmen” which focuses on Pakistani traditional heroes of mountaineering. Amid breathtaking scenery, the film depicts the everyday sacrifices of porters and the courage of those indigenous climbers who choose to return to scale K2 in spite of past tragedies. In their striving to perfect their craft, these mountaineers provide a fresh look into the cultures and national traditions of Pakistan, a country typically portrayed in the foreign media as merely a land of conflict and sectarian strife. The aim with this documentary for Somaliland audience is in every small looking activities Somalilanders are performing, the chance that art and culture could be a tool for positive image building is the underling message.

Following this we have had several other documentaries of her under the theme of Cultures of Resistance that has art, culture and creativity for addressing the desire for change in different communities. Using her enquiry ‘Does each gesture really make a difference? Can music and dance be weapons of peace?’  In 2003, on the eve of the Iraq war, director Iara Lee embarked on a journey to better understand a world increasingly embroiled in conflict and, as she saw it, heading for self-destruction.  Hence she recorded stories from IRAN, where graffiti and rap became tools in fighting government repression, to BURMA, where monks acting in the tradition of Gandhi take on a dictatorship, moving on to BRAZIL, where musicians reach out to slum kids and transform guns into guitars, and ending in PALESTINIAN refugee camps in LEBANON, where photography, music, and film have given a voice to those rarely heard, CULTURES OF RESISTANCE explores how art and creativity can be ammunition in the battle for peace and justice”. In addition to this, we were the first to screen Burkinabè Rising, the new documentary from Cultures of Resistance Films that showcases creative nonviolent resistance in Burkina Faso, a small, landlocked country in West Africa, which is home to a vibrant community of artists and engaged citizens, who provide an example of the type of political change that can be achieved when people come together. It is an inspiration, not only to the rest of Africa but also to the rest of the world.

Through music, film, ecology, visual art, and architecture, the people featured in this film are carrying on the revolutionary spirit of Thomas Sankara. In addition to profiling individual artists, Burkinabè Rising documents a festival of recycled art and interviews groups of farmers who are standing up to the encroachment of corporate agriculture. Displaying a panorama of creative resistance, the film shows how the resurgent Burkinabè pursuit of peace and justice manifests itself through cultural expression, permeating every aspect of daily life.

The biography of Malcom x with a very different perspective from what has always been talked about him; civic right advocate but the one that has shown how he has played in the history of Islam is another key documentary screened where by attendants expressed their amusement and surprise long with the relevance.

On 21 February 1965, Malcolm X was shot dead minutes before he was about to address a rally in Harlem, New York. As with the firebombing of his home a week earlier, the finger was automatically pointed at the Nation of Islam with whom Malcolm had split the previous year.

The assassination of Malcolm X spawned the Black Panther Party, and organization that represented the highest point in the civil rights movement that engulfed the US for over two decades. They took Malcolm’s message of self-defense for blacks and translated it into action. During the 1970s they became a focal point for young blacks wanting to fight back against the racist police and state in America. They inspired youth and blacks internationally with their preparedness to fight racism and police brutality. In cycle of autobiography documentary films, the ADIH team is suggestion a reflection on the life and the legacy of Malcom X, and ask –mainly young people in Somaliland- what we can learn today from the legacy of such a great leader.

Upholding its relevance and popularity the next documentary screened by Hargeysa Cultural Centre was The Corporation which is a 2003 Canadian documentary film​ ​written by University of British Columbia law professor Joel Bakan,​ ​and directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott, that examines the​​ modern-day corporation. The documentary was screened considering the move by China and other major Asian business corporations are compet​​ing​ ​to grab the land and to secure exclusive businesses ownership in​ ​Africa, and the African governments have no economic power, and​ ​sometimes necessary expertize, to negotiate properly. The question was ​how this “Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power” can be contained​ ​whi​​le making the necessary progress in Africa? The documentary tries to give this answer to what happened in the Western countries, in​ ​particularly in the USA. What Africa can learn from this experience?  Was the main talk point of the discussion that dwelt on how the multimillion companies deceive, deprive and manipulate system only to serve their interest by setting aside the Social responsibility they are expected is the longest but the most interesting documentary we have screened too.

The last for the time but the least for much more documentaries to come is ‘Stealing A Nation’ which is an extraordinary film about the plight of the Chagos Islands, whose indigenous population was secretly and brutally expelled by British Governments in the late 1960s and early 1970s to make way for an American military base.

The tragedy, which falls within the remit of the International Criminal Court as “a crime against humanity”, is told by Islanders who were dumped in the slums of Mauritius and by British officials who left behind a damning trail of Foreign Office documents.

Before the Americans came, more than 2,000 people lived on the islands in the Indian Ocean, many with roots back to the late 18th century. There were thriving villages, a school, a hospital, a church, a railway and an undisturbed way of life. The islands were, and still are, a British crown colony. In the 1960s, the government of Harold Wilson struck a secret deal with the United States to hand over the main island of Diego Garcia. The Americans demanded that the surrounding islands be “swept” and “sanitized”. Unknown to Parliament and to the US Congress and in breach of the United Nations Charter, the British Government plotted with Washington to expel the entire population.

‘Stealing A Nation’ was a Granada production for ITV. It was first broadcast on ITV1, 6 October 2004. Directors: John Pilger and Chris Martin. Producer: Chris Martin. the Stealing a nation documentary of the uppermost ignorant and abusive arrangement ever made that has wiped out a whole community from their own land just to serve the interest of the USA military base desire is a knocking thought that most significantly considering the situation we are experiencing in Africa most importantly in the horn of Africa. Djibouti being a battle field for military base desire of the super powers from each corner and the emergence of Somaliland in the port and military base sharing space is what triggered the desire to screen the documentary which clearly served the interest. The participants’ reflection on all the documentaries screened is magnificent as it has opened a heated debate every time we have it. the bilingual language use system we employ on this open conversation day (Somali and English) also has served the purpose of including everyone that attended the screening and be able to express their understanding and questions to be discussed together without language limitation.

This way the academic discussion with a different platform has managed to attain its objective of creating a platform where academic discussion with a well-founded data is developed here in Somaliland.

About

The Hargeysa Cultural Center was opened in August 2014 in Hargeysa, Somaliland. The Center was established by Redsea Cultural Foundation (RCF). Since its establishment, the Hargeysa Cultural Center has become an important feature in Hargeysa’s cultural landscape. The success of the center owes much to the respect that RCF has gained from its work on running the annual Hargeysa International Book Fair, which, now in its eighth year, has become one of the most admired cultural events in the region.

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Xarunta Dhaqanka ee Hargeysa