Thursday, November 21, 2019
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Obituary: Hodan Nalayeh

By Muhammad Suldaan Said

On July 12th, 2019, will forever be remembered as the dark-day Somalia lost one of her finest and most patriotic daughter. In that dreadful Friday, I was with a knowledgeable friend of mine somewhere in West London discussing rather intensely; the Second Boer War between the British Empire and the Orange Free State together with, the South African Republic in 1899-1902. My learned friend who is himself a South African citizen of Somali ethnicity, is well versed in this particular historical war between over-ambitious empire and the ever-suspicious Boer States.

Hodan Nalayeh

And then to be precise at about 19:06 GMT, I received a devastatingly awful message that Hodan Nalayeh alone with her loving husband Farid Jama Suleiman have received a divine call from which they won’t return and that, they were among those savagely slain in Medina  HoteL (formerly Asasey hotel). Like a flash of profoundly painful emotion, a sudden chill swept through my spine, my eyes filled up with tears and I became numb-to-the- core as if I was struck by lightning or as though my heart slowly exploding in my chest. I instantly recognised how the tragic loss of the most encompassing personality ever lent to the Somali World, would certainly plunge the hopes and aspirations of Somali people in general and in particular, the younger diasporic followers into a dark abyss. Hodan Nalayeh was born in 1976 in Las’Anod, Sool region of Khaatumo State of Somalia. She was one of twelve siblings four brothers and seven sisters by Ahmed Sa’id Nalayeh and Khadija Abdi Hussein and at the age of six, the Nalayeh family emigrated to Canada where they first settled in Edmonton before the family finally relocated to Toronto.

Even at a tender age of ten, Hodan set herself in glory above her peers by not only excelling in education but also exhibiting the characteristics of a great leader in the making. Her matchlessly blessed life was a living example of humanity at its best, the very essence of being humanitarian at heart, extraordinarily beyond-comparison humility and morally-driven decency of highest order. Having become fed-up with the negative stories about Somalia, Hodan Nalayeh returned to her motherland to counter what she viewed, as a biased media coverage that deliberately kept leaving-out the unparalleled beauty and resilience of her country and people. Her sole mission was to unveil and share what’s best about Somalia with the rest of the global community and with her power of persuasion and resourcefulness, Hodan Nalayeh told her country’s positive tale with amazing grace for which we are forever grateful.

Those misguided and Godless terrorists who’ve unlawfully taken her precious life are the pure enemy of whatever good Hodan Nalayeh represented and stood for. You have been a peerless Somali patriot, a symbol of selfless social reformer and a standard bearer for the rights of those over-looked with charitable disposition. Those who murdered you wanted to extinguish the patriotic candles you’ve lit with their twisted and alien ideology but, their evil attempt is like putting out the light of the sun by merely blowing at it. There is absolutely nothing intrinsically Islamic about their methods of barbaric attacks against innocent human beings like you, their monstrous acts of indiscriminate violence against Somalis are nothing more than fiendish emanations from a diseased mind.

It is comforting to know however, that you’re now in Jannah Insha’Allah with all of its unimaginable gardens beneath which rivers flow, whose lush meadows reached their climax and whose ripe fruits hang ready to be picked with no leaf out of place. While your untimely departure has caused incalculable pain in our hearts nonetheless, a wounded heart will heal in time and your inspirational legacy will never cease to brighten our lives. You’ve sought my advice on more than two occasions to stay clear of any undesired misinterpretation of your far-reaching journalistic work in certain area of our country. You’ve always been fully aware of the deeply-rooted political complexities in your birthplace, the hyper-sensitivities surrounding their inalienable human rights to decide for themselves without being occupied. Yet, you’ve skilfully navigated through that murky business of intertwined loyalties which demanded a great deal of wisdom and courage.

 And as you stroll in Jannah surrounded you by rivers of milk of which the taste never changes, trickling streams of incorruptible water meandering and paradise fruits that are sweeter than honey, you will come across your friend and confidante Saado Ali Warsame. The grand diva of all things Somali Saado Ali Warsame had preceded you in Jannah after being butchered by the same sinful hands of those wicked murders, as you glance at her lovingly; you will see her wearing silken garment adorned with pebbles of preserved pearl and sapphire immersed in saffron and sipping camel milk from a shiny cup made of gold.

Take the queen aside and convey my sincere and undivided salutations to her for everything noble she’s done during her short-cut presence with us on this troubled planet earth. Whisper to her beautiful soul that her outstandingly weighty legacy she left behind, has and will endure the test of time. Let her know, that she’s as vivid a figure in death as in life through her remarkable legacy and as Peter Strope eloquently put it, “legacy is not leaving something for people. It’s leaving something in people.”

Hodan, now that you are a place of neither fear nor injustice with many martyrs before you, inform Saado Ali that her beloved country is on the right path to recovery as she would’ve loved, that state institutions are slowly but steadily taking shape and that Somalia has already resumed its international responsibility with dignity and firmness. While it is incredibly painful say goodbye to someone you adore so much, nevertheless it is time for me to finally say goodbye my beautiful Inaader.

May Allah swaddle you with a blanket of finest silk, O Allah, forgive Hodan Nalayeh and her loving husband and elevate their status in Jannah among those who are guided. O Allah, bestow on them your grace and grant them eternal rest into Jannatul Firdausa. O Allah, the creator of the universe, the provider of his creation have mercy upon their souls. Aaaaaamiiin yaa Rabbi.

Muhammad Suldaan Said
Email: [email protected]
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Muhammad Suldaan read Sociology and History at Kingston University in London and he is currently studying his Master’s degree in Social Anthropology titled “Oromo social structure with specific reference to Gadaa system as a classical institution” at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) London, UK


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