Ossie Davis, one of America’s finest playwrights, has immortalized the memory of Malcolm X in the following rather piercingly powerful tribute:
“And we will know him then for what he was and is—a prince—our own black shining prince!—who didn’t hesitate to die, because he loved us so.”
That is exactly how WardheerNews editorial board feels about Sheik Cabdinasir Sheikh Adan-Yare, who passed away on April 19, 2008.
Shiekh Cabdinasir was a man who refused to give up the quest for independence of his people in the Somali region who have for long languished under Ethiopian rule. Ethiopia’s rule of Somalis has been characterized as one of the worst humanity has experienced. According to an editorial piece of DANAB, Bulletin of Somali Liberation Front (Warsidaha Jabhada Gobanimadoonka Soomaaliyeed) (ISSUE NO. 17, Mogadishu 19.10.1977 page: 2):
The Abyssinians being far more brutal than their European counterparts, and exercising an unbridled sense of aggression against the Somali people, were crueler and more oppressive. They resorted to any and all conceivable forms of oppression and torture in order to subdue our resistance to their creeping colonial expansionism.
By rejecting to be counted as less-than he defiantly stood up, while at the same time resisting the temptations of the spoils usually offered as a ruse to those suffering from poverty of clear principles and determination. A symbol for our collective struggle, Sh. Cabdinasir’s memory would stay alive just like memorial statues and landmarks symbolize historic significance.
Our people do not have fancy architectural statues, skyscrapers, or anything akin to the Venetian canal. We do not have kings, sound institutional structures that can withstand modern social and global pressures. Alas, we have “princes” of resistance, like Sayyid Mohamed Abdile Hassan, Garad Makhtal Dahir, Ali Gudal, Xussen Giire, et al. To wit, we also have Balayo Cas, Farah Omar, Ismciil Mire, Sheik Bashir and Mohamoud Harbi, to just name of few, in the larger Somali society. Cabdinasir was indeed “our own prince” – a prince of defiance and determination against all types of injustices and subjugations.
The young Sh. Cabdinasir began his struggle long time ago - back in the days (between the late 1940s through the 1950s) when the Somali Youth League (SYL) was vibrant in Jigjiga. Early in his youthful days, he stealthily became active in the Hanoolato resistance centered in Jigjiga, Dhagahbuur, Qabridahar and Harar. By mid-1950s, the adult Sh. Cabdinasir was one of the architects of the quasi clandestine organization of Al-Nasrulah, which eventually laid down the infrastructure for the birth of Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF).
Many years, like a rolling stone,he wandered around staying here, staying there; Mogadishu, Hargaisa, Cairo, Jilib were some, but not all of his temporary, yet eternal refuges - thus not having the luxury of enjoying the priceless happiness that one derives from the mere opportunity of having a permanent home. Rather, his fate was one to wander and decidedly fight for the ever elusive rights of his people, and he did so all the way into his old age.
He had to always stayed on the run, taking up residence somewhere else other than his birth place; all this because of the nature of the struggle to freeing his people from the bondage of Ethiopia’s occupation now inching up to its 200th year. He indeed took a long journey and a treacherous struggle for the simple and basic human rights – the right to self-determination.
In a sea of despair and desperation that has engulfed his people Sh. Cabdinasir maintained high principles with resolve, defiantly refusing to compromise on anything less than the inalienable, God-given rights of his people to self-determination. He went to grave with those principles intact.
Some of his most recent positions include: head of the political office of the Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF), signatory of the unity act in 1985, subsequently executed in 1987, between WSLF and the TPLF as represented by Seyoum Masfin (current Foreign Minister of Ethiopia), and in 1991, he led a group of conscientious leaders who refused to give a tribal face to the struggle and question of WSLF.
In 1991, following the Somalia civil war, Sh. Cabdinasir was one of the leaders who negotiated with the victorious Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Front (EPRDF) on the implementation of the transitional charter presented at the London conference. This time, he wanted to give a chance to peaceful resolution to the Somali question, especially with TPLF, former ally, at the helm of the new arrangements. Unfortunately, the EPRDF, lead by strong man Meles Zenawi, quickly reneged on the principles of the charter, the cornerstone of which was the right of the Somali people to self-determination.
By 1992, Sh. Cabdinasir, along with his great comrades, the late Mohamud Ugas Abdi (alias Mohamud Majeerteen), Ali Gudal and General Waqow Gutu, officially withdrew from the charter agreement. Together making up a powerful quartet who symbolized the essence of the struggle of the united front of Western Somali Liberation Front representing Somalis, Hararis and Eastern Oromos for more than 50 years, these leaders never wavered from condemning the EPRDF chicanery and political manipulations.
Immediately following this denouncement of EPRDF, Sh. Cabdinasir was arrested. Since then, he and his colleagues, who all had passed away in the later parts of the 1990s, never rejoined neither the Melez autocratic federal government nor the so-called feeble regional government of the “Somali Kilil.” As a matter of fact, Sh. Cabdinasir was in a permanent house arrest for most of the remainder of his life and was denied any chance to travel abroad for medical treatment.
Despite Ethiopia’s violence against his people, especially the current atrocities in the eastern regions of the country, his stealth determination and resolve to look beyond the present temporary haze and focus on what lies in the horizon, are his endearing qualities that we will all cherish for eternity.
As these lines from DANAB, 1978, Issue 334, testify, Ethiopian regimes have never been kind to his people:
Humanity has strongly deplored the criminal acts of fascism
for the massacre of millions of people. Now, human conscience is required
to deplore and condemn the satanic acts of Mengistu and his clique who
have savagely massacred our innocent people.
In his final days in life, Sh. Cabdinasir was haunted by the twin evils of massive massacre and human rights abuse, including collective punishment of innocent civilians and arbitrary arrests of leaders and elders, in the region. Nonetheless, he never lost the sprit for a continued and sustained struggle of his people – qualities that he wants us not to forget.
It is the similarity of atrocities between now and then (in Males and Mengistu times) that gave Sh. Cabdinasir and others no other alternative but to fight till death claims them.
We honor Sh. Cabdinasir for his contribution to the struggle of the Somali people illegally colonized by the ancient Ethiopian empire. As much as Malcolm X was the “prince” of manhood for Black America, Cabdinasir was our won “prince” of struggle and our continued quest for freedom and self-determination.
May Allah bless his soul!
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