Somali Heeso: An Effective Weapon in the 1977 Ogaden War

Discussion in 'Music' started by EDsomali, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. EDsomali

    EDsomali

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    Throughout their existence, Somalis have been known to capture their account of their affairs in waves of metrically measured words. A masterfully aligned oratory weapon called Gabay (poetry) has been let loose to enumerate, announce and memorialize a time of plenty as well as a time of hardship. Mostly, we carve ours poetry/poetic language to grieve about a tumult of time’s uncertainties, particularly wars. Thus, Mohammed Abdulla Hassan deployed poetry in his fight against the British. Poetry was also used to canvass support for the fledgling freedom movement in the 1940s. With the advent of a new genre called Hees, the dominance of the Gabay-genre began to wane. The Hees (song) came on the heels of the Heello and its putative ancestor the Balwo. Gabay gradually had begun to loosen its grip as the medium muscle of might to reach the masses as soon as the Heeso, a new version of itself, arrived at the scene. So it was the 1940s and 1950s that Gabay started to encounter steadily rising but fierce competition from the more popular genre Balwo that morphed into Heello and soon evolved into Hees (song) or Heeso in plural in 1960s.

    Here, the indomitable patriot and father of Somali music, the late Abdullahi Qarshe mourned the occasion with the now famed signature tune of Somali Language Service of the BBC:

    Dadkaa dhawaaqayaa
    Dhulkooda doonaya
    Haddii u dhiidhiyeen
    Allahayoow u dhiib.


    Waxaan la dhuubanee
    Dhifkayga Dhaawacaan
    Idiin dhammaynayaa
    Dhega ma leedihiin.


    Those hollering people
    Are asking about their land
    As they strive for it
    Oh God let them succeed.

    Why I am so frail
    Looked so injuriously weak
    To tell you about it all
    Could I have your ears?

    On that foundation, exactly twenty three years later, as the Ogaden war with Ethiopia exploded in 1977, Gabay completely ceded, though unwittingly, its patriotic territory to Heeso. Heeso delightfully took over the responsibility and with lightening thunder showed up for the occasion.

    Somali songs, unfortunately an art that has lately sustained a great deal of tenor fatigue in tangent with the disintegration of its own nation, had already proven to be a powerful tool to capture the mood and the pulses of the public by encoding episodic, emotional tales with music, giving the past as well as the current status of the nation a palpable presentation. Thus, in 1977 when Somalia plunged itself in a full scale war with Ethiopia over the Ogaden region, the most effective weapon used was the Somali Heeso, which psychologically were proven to be lethal. Close to a century the ethnic Somalis in Ethiopia have been claiming mistreatment at the hands of successive Ethiopian regimes, thus yearned to extricate themselves from the unsympathetic clutches and wanted to reunite with the rest of what was then called Somali Democratic Republic .

    Evidently, if the Armed Forces were in charge of live ammunition to confront the Ethiopian army, Somali poets were in charge of massaging the nation’s emotional ego, and the burdensome responsibility of justifying why Somalia should go to war with their much venerable (with rest of the African content and the world), older, sister nation, Ethiopia, vicariously fell on them as well. Suddenly, poets in the mainland of Somalia discharged the least expensive yet the most effective weapon in possession of Heeso, on the air through radio Hargiesa and Mogadishu: least expensive because Somalis did not have to beg and plead with foreigners but owned the capacity to produce them with an unparallel dexterity.

    To aim at their objective goal, Somali poets with their Heeso, ingeniously infused the supposedly two Somalis: Somalis in mainland of Somalia and the Somalis in Ethiopia, the Ogaden region as an indistinguishable and inseparable unit. The appropriately composed for the occasion Heeso, meshed musical melody with emotions and molded it with historical esthetic doses, thus unleashed sentimental narratives that wept about human rights violation and environmental degradations. In doing so, Heeso left no doubt that each Somali, regardless of residence, was at war with Ethiopia, and therefore presented clear and convincing argument that there was not a degree of separation between the mistreated Somalis of the Ogaden region and the privileged Somalis with all amenities freedom affords.

    One of those Heeso that was aired on both Radio Hargeisa and Mogadishu with lashes of emotionally laden words and the suited musical tones in 1977 was the song, “Man/he Who Murdered My Brother.” It ostensibly fired off a serious but imagined warning to the Organization of African Unity (the African Union now), that Somalia was in no way transgressing Ethiopian sovereignty, but rather, was after a part of its motherland that had been torn away:

    Ninkii diley wallaalkeen
    Anana waa noo danleeyahay
    Dakhar baa gaadhidoone,
    Hoy Afrikay daya.


    Dalkayaga ninkii doonayeyoow
    Inuu duudsiyaa raggoow
    Anagu diidnaye ogoow!


    Man/he who murdered our brethren
    Has similar designs towards/on us
    But, O Africa, be a witness
    For he’ll incur/sustain a scar.

    Man/he who is encroaching upon my land
    To deny me of its ownership
    Note so that we refuse.

    Sounding this alarm was not simply a composer-poet just frothing from the mouth with an empty rhetoric. But Somalia was then one of the mightiest military powers in the sub-Saharan region with a young, readily trained and dangerously armed force. Thus, the verbal warning shots were well warranted.

    Additionally, “Isn’t the Soil Mine?” (Dhulka Saw Anigu Ma Lehi) of Mohamoud Abdullahi Essa (Sungab), masterfully addressed what and how much of the Ogaden region was lost to cultural eradication and environmental degradation, of which was carried out by the occupying entity, he led us note:

    Miyey dhimashadu iqoontaayeey?
    Miyaan dhiig baxay ka diidaayeey?
    Shahiidku miyuu dhib diidaa?


    Baddayda miyaa la dhurayaa?
    Cirkayga miyaa la dhoofshaa?
    Dhirtayda miyaa la jarayaa?
    Dadkayga miyaa la dhalan rogi?
    Ciidaydu miyey dhamaataa?


    Dhulka saw anigu ma lehi?
    Dalka (dadka?) saw aniga ma lehi?


    Gumaystaha dhacaayaa
    Geeridu dhibaysaa
    Waqtigii dhammaayoo
    Wuu dhaqaaqi doona
    Ninkii dhoof ku yimi baa
    Geeridu dhimmaysaa
    Waqtigii dhammaayoo
    Wuu dhaqaaqi doonaa



    Am I fearful because of death?
    Am I nauseated by spilled-blood?
    Should a martyr avoid an adversity?

    Hasn’t my ocean been looted?
    Hasn’t my air been exported?
    Hasn’t my forest been gutted?
    Haven’t my people been disinherited?
    Has my mother-soil been sapped off?

    The land (Ogaden region) is mine
    The people are my people,

    You, the retreating colonial regime
    Whose death has been in vain
    Whose time has run out
    Who should be fleeing now
    Who has been implanted there
    Who death will be debased
    Whose time has run out
    Who should be fleeing now.

    Throughout this period, it is not surprising that Somalis with their legendary, oratory skills would unleash a torrent of verbal artillery in Heeso for the war of 1977 or Gabayo. What is surprising however, is how the poets masterfully were able to weave the story of Somalis of the Ogaden region into that of the mainland Somalis, binding the unbreakable genealogical linkage tighter and in the process artfully also defining what Somaliness (Soomaalino) is. Here, the virtuous and peerless Abdiqadir Hersi (Yam-yam), God also blessed his soul, bared it for all to feel and taste what Somali or Somaliness is. Yam-yam conclusively dictated that all the traits in one Somali are shared amongst the rest. For that, a Somali in the Ogaden region is as much Somali as the one in the mainland Somalia and vise versa:


    Never before had any a 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 in what used be Somalia. Thus, Somali poets skillfully made a persuasive argument for the reunification with their brethren in the Ogaden region. They listed a legion of losses that had been inflicted on them.

    The depth of those songs, or should I say poetry that had been composed for that occasion, would even today deeply penetrate a Somali’s psyche, awakening whatever dormant patriotism residue left in him/her, and leaving an indelible sorrow and pain of how much Soomaalino (Somaliness)—let alone the war of 1977 itself— has been lost. Yet, it is not all that gloomy when one hears those 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 the republic but Somalis in general, a Somalia that was once revered and respected, even envied by its peers. Those 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 the other hand, those 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.



    http://www.warscapes.com/poetry/somali-heeso-songs-effective-weapon-1977-ethio-somali-ogaden-war
     
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  2. antonio

    antonio

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    I dont understand anything here.
     
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  3. embarassing

    embarassing

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    Aren't there things happening in Cuba you should be concerned about?
     
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  4. antonio

    antonio

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    Aren't there things happening in Cuba you should be concerned about?


    I prefer things about Somalia and Ethiopia.:nvjpqts:

    And of course 1977 war.


     
  5. embarassing

    embarassing

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    why?
     
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  6. Mehmet

    Mehmet

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    Selfhating cuban who wants to be an amxaar so bad
     
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  7. Mehmet

    Mehmet

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    Lucky i was not there or all of you would be my naago and doing shanti niiko for me loool
     
  8. antonio

    antonio

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    I feel proud of being Cuban.
     
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  9. Tukraq

    Tukraq

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    cuba lol
     
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  10. embarassing

    embarassing

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    So act like it and worry about Cuba antonio, don’t worry about Somalia.
     
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  11. antonio

    antonio

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    So act like it and worry about Cuba antonio, don’t worry about Somalia.

    Somalia history is part of the Cuban history.
     
  12. antonio

    antonio

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    I must see Tiglachin Monument in Addis Abbaba.
     
  13. antonio

    antonio

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    Cuban soldiers who fought and died in Ogaden War (1977-1978)

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Diaspora ambassador

    Diaspora ambassador High warlock of Qandala

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    And imprisoned
     
  15. antonio

    antonio

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  16. antonio

    antonio

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    Is there any monument in Jijiga about Jijga battle in 1978?
     
  17. EDsomali

    EDsomali

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    Here a video I made using one of the translations on the article.
     
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