My father passed away in De Martini Hospital on the southern seashore of Mogadishu in 1968. He withdrew his last breath, while I was holding his hand at his death bedside. Hovering and standing over me were the late Prime Minister of Somalia 🇸🇴, Abdirizak Haji Hussein and Mr Yassin Nur Hassan Bidde, the late Interior Minister at the time. In attendance was a Chinese physician trying his best to save my father’s life, who was suffering from malaria. At that moment, the ministers were contemplating and discussing on the possibility of evacuating my father to a better medical facilities in the People’s Republic of China 🇨🇳. My father’s medical situation brought together a former prime minister, who was leading a strong political opposition to the government of the day, and the minister of Internal Affairs of the administration then. Tragically, my father died prematurely before he was airlifted to China. Following his death, I was devastated, depressed and sick for a week. At the time, I was in school.
Earlier in my childhood, in 1964 to be exact, I do recall the visit of Zhou En Lai, the first and late Chinese Premier, in Mogadishu. I was a kid with some members of my family among the crowd at airport, welcoming the Premier. I vividly remember Zhou En Lai speaking in Chinese at Airport reception. What I found remarkable was the fact that a Somali interpreter of Mandarin suddenly appeared on the stage. It was hilarious. Somali singers sang a song right there: “Zhou Lai ha jiroo cadowgii ha jabee” ( Let Zhou Lai long live, let his enemies perish.)
Since then, I had the opportunity to learn a lot about the Soviet Union, China and other countries of the left from the late Secretary-General of the Somali Democratic Union (SDU), a leftist political party popularly known in Somali political history as the “Great” (a term standing for greater Somalia), Mr. Yusuf Osman Samater (Bardacad). Bardacad was a good friend of my former Boss, the late President of Puntland and Transitional Federal Government of the Somali Republic, Abdullahi Yusuf. That was an extra education on the top of myself winning a scholarship to the Soviet Union immediately after leaving high school.
[This article was edited a bit since posting.]
( photo courtesy to Wikipedia)