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The Long Journey of a Nomad Boy
(A New Book on contemporary Somali politics)
By Ismail H. Warsame
November 25, 2010

They say imagination rules the world. Sometimes, aspirations, hope, imagination and goals lose their difference in literary meaning for a lot of folks. For me, as a young boy of nearly ten years old, these words amounted to one thing: a journey beyond my village of Jeriban to get schooling and hopefully that would lead me to be a better person and therefore would have better life for me and my family.

Looking back at that period of time in retrospect, I wonder sometimes whether those objectives have been ever realized. Rather, I still feel that I am half-way through that journey that took me from Jeriban, a village situated about a hundred Kms to the Southeastern fishing jitter port of Gara’ad on the Indian Ocean and 300 Kms from the Somali central city of Galkayo (Rocca La Vittoria or Fortress of Victory, as it was historically named by the Italian colonizers). That journey eventually took me to all continents of world except Australia. I lived and studied under communist regime of the Soviet Union, did graduate studies and worked in Western countries. I started that journey alone on foot on a rough road to the direction of the sun-set towards Galkayo, worrying about and afraid of the obstacles and dangers ahead along the way including thirst, starvation and wild beasts. To prepare for the journey I had to take the time and patience to save up to two shillings from rare and occasional pocket money my late father used to give me. It was August 1962, two years after the independence and unification of Southern and Northern parts of Somalia, to form the Republic. At the time the amount was good money for someone who understands money, price of goods and services. For me, milk and water were my priorities to survive on this journey and reach an undetermined destination still-born in my childhood imagination. As I was poorly prepared for travel beyond my backyard and in my attempt to keep my intention of running away in secret from family and friends, I carried on my person neither water nor milk- a big mistake that almost cost me life.

The idea to begin writing  The Long Journey of a Nomad Boy came about from many of my friends, who have been persuading me over the years, that I have a story to tell since I was deeply involved in all major events of contemporary Somali politics and considered one of the silent key founders of the State of Puntland and the Transitional Federal Government of the Somali Republic; besides being a veteran member of the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF), and a keen observer of and interactive person with the formation of the Somali National Movement ( SNM) under various chairmanship from Duqsi, the first Secretary-General of the movement to Abdirahman Tour, and the United Somali Congress ( USC), a splinter group from SSDF initially under Hussein Shido, who was a member of the SSDF Central Committee together with Ali Wardhiigley and later under General Mohamed Farah Aidiid and having participated in most Somali national reconciliation conferences since the collapse of the Somali central state.

Authoring The Long Journey of a Nomad Boy will put some important episodes of my journey into narration and hopefully benefit some in their historical perspective in our desperate attempts to prevent the disappearance of Somalia from the world map.

The Long Journey of a Nomad Boy will take the reader to the following chapters:

  • Childhood upbringing and schooling of the Author (1952-1978)

  • History of the creation of the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF) in 1978, the first organized Somali political and armed resistance to the Military Regime of Siyad Barre.
  • Author’s life in exile in the years 1989-1995 after the fall of SSDF
  • History of the establishment of Puntland State of Somalia in 1998 as the First Pillar in the recreation of Somalia into a free, competitive and development- oriented political systems of good government accessible and responsive to all citizens in any part of the country- an effective decentralized structures or regimes that allow members of the society to run their own duties and businesses freely under a fair legal frames and institutions. This will, in turn, prevent a nation-wide power grab by a few or individual in the future and enhance regional development and speedy delivery of public services.
  • A brief narration of the multiple Somali national reconciliation conferences following the collapse of Somali Central Government in 1991 and eventual formation of the Transitional Federal Government of the Somali Republic in 2004
  • The Role of Somali Diaspora in the struggle to re-instate and reconstruct Somalia

If everything goes well as planned The Long Journey of a Nomad Boy will go into publication next summer, 2011. The book will be published in Somali.

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The Author, Ismail Haji Warsame, formerly Chief of Cabinet in the Office of Puntland Presidency and TFG National Authorizing Officer with the European Union, is one of founders of both Puntland State of Somalia and the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia. He can be contacted @ ismailwarsame@gmail.com

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