Somaliland: Nation Honours late Poet Gariye


By: Yusuf M Hasan

Final RitesHARGEISA (Somalilandsun) –late poet Mohamed Hashi Dama’a Gariye has been laid to rest.

Following the arrival of the body of late, Poet Gariye from Norway where he passed away thousands of citizens from all lifestyles buried him with state honours at a Hargeisa cemetery.

The burial of the late Gariye ensued after the body was delivered from the Berbera international airport by a burial committee appointed by the president H.E Ahmed Mahmoud Silanyo upon the death of the renowned artist who died in a Norway hospital 8 days ago.

The multitude of mourners led by president Silanyo paid the departed artist tribute for having elevated cultural activities in the country during a career that spanned over four decades

While addressing the mourners the head of state urged Somalilanders to emulate the departed artist for his sacrifice to the nation, Said he, “the late Gariye will remembered as an outstanding citizen who put national interest above personal ones”

The president, who beseeched Allah for the succor of the deceased national hero, said that the late Gariye’s deeds for the nation would forever remain in the annals of the country’s history.

According to Mohamed Ibrahim Warsame , himself a poet of reckon, the poetry of late Gariye composed through his glorious career of more than four decades shall continue to inspire current and future generations of not only Somalilanders but people from all Somali speaking areas.

Numerous speakers who included ministers, politicians, artists, traditional and religious leaders and students all paid tribute to the legacy of late Gariye.

Mohamed Hashi Dama’a ‘Gariye’ was born in Hargeisa in 1949 where he still lives. He attended school in Sheikh in Somaliland and then graduated in biology at the Somali National University, following which he worked as a teacher for several years. As a keen poet and literary scholar also he later worked at the Academy of Culture in Mogadishu and then as a lecturer in Somali literature at National University.

Since the 1970s, Gariye has been universally regarded as one of the most important Somali poets composing on a great variety of topics from nuclear weapons to Nelson Mandela. A poet who has never been afraid to engage in the politics of Somalia through his poetry, he was the initiator of one of the largest ‘chain poems’ ‘Deelley’ to which many poets contributed, each one alliterating in ‘d’ – hence the name of the chain.

In addition to his poetry, Gariye was the person who first articulated the metrical patterns of Somali poetry, which he published in 1976 in a number of articles in the national newspaper of the time. This work was invaluable and a major intellectual achievement.