Hargeysa, Somaliland, October 15, 2011 (SL Times) – This is a
continuation of Safiya Hashi Madar's account of her struggle against
Siyad Barre's military regime which appeared in the last three issues of
the Somaliland Times (the narrative originally appeared in two segments
in the Somali language newspaper Haatuf).
Describing the situation in jail, she said:
I had a difficult time in prison. The worst part was that I did not know
whether my family, brothers, and children were alive or not. Military
planes would take off from Aviszone and fly over us when I was in
Biyo-Muunda jail, and we would be told those are the planes that have
bombed Hargeysa and Buro. It was a very demoralizing time for me. Then
one day, a niece of mine, came to me and told me that the people had
fled [from the north] to a place called Dul ‘ad, and that my brother
Abdillahi Hashi Madar was killed in the war (he was one of the
guerrillas who died in the hills and his body was never found).
On her encounter with Siyad Barre, she said:
When I was released, I was taken to Siyad Barre, and he said, are you
telling me this young woman carries weapons to Addis Ababa? Then he
added you were misled, you live in a free country, now go and make a
life for yourself, especially since you are an educated woman. That day
I realized how deep was his animosity toward us. The city of Mogadishu
had changed by the time I got out of prison and I could hardly recognize
it. I was only able to direct the cab driver to my brother’s home with
Speaking about the plight of former SNM guerrillas, she said:
Whenever I see an ex-guerrilla who is disabled or suffering from mental
illness, it distresses me. I think we will accomplish our aim, We will
also write the history of the SNM so that it will be a reference for
anyone who wants to find out information about the SNM. I told Amnesty
International those who died have died, and I have made a documentary
film about Ilyas Qase and Hasan Osman in which the wounds from their
torture could be seen. They were sent a visa and now they are in the UK.
We should work together and show solidarity with each other. Important
things take time to accomplish. They are not done in a month or a year.
Commenting on the present situation in Somaliland and Somalia, she said:
For the last twenty years, every Somaliland government was doing what it
could to improve conditions in the country. I commend President Ahmed
Sillanyo for his recent surprise visits to small businesses and stores
to meet ordinary people. I also urge him to pay special attention to SNM
veterans and their orphans.
To the people of Somalia, I say let Somalia and Somaliland go their
separate ways. It doesn’t make sense to force someone like my son, who
was born in prison, and who is now capable of carrying arms, to be part
of something that he does not want.