It's mad, mad…mad granny's world – boycott her concerts

Never before have I felt disgusted with a Somali singer’s behavior—a singer whom I once admired so much that I rushed to stage to get her autograph and to inform her that I have always been a big fan of her songs. But as I have listened to the lyrics of her new song entitled, “Libdhimaysid Las Annod…or Las Annod won’t vanish”, the singer that I was once infatuated with her songs, sounded more like a North-American Somali thug teenager—a hip hop artist wannabe—or worse yet: a savage warmonger in Somalia. What devil has got into her, lately? Wasn’t her recent efforts to exonerate Somalia’s notorious war criminal bad enough, but now this: inciting violence and war in Somaliland, instead of raising funds for hospitals and schools?  Kneading my temples with my knuckles and shaking my head in disbelief, shock, and dismay, I whispered to myself, “It is mad, mad…mad granny’s world”.

Her name is Saado Ali, a famous Somali singer who hails from Sool region, in Somaliland. Although Saado is probably in her late fifties if not in her early sixties—possibly a grandmother—she still performs spectacular concerts for the Diaspora communities. Currently, she lives in the United States. Also, in the past she composed songs lamenting the destruction of Somalia. And in the final days of the former Somali dictator, Gen. Mohamed Siad Barre’s regime she opposed his atrocities against civilians and so did many of his former henchmen.

After she fled Somalia, however, for the longest time she remained a nationalist, or she claimed to be a genuine Somali, until very recently when she defended one of Somalia’s infamous war criminals—General Mohammed Ali Samatar. He was the Defense Minister during the junta regime of Gen. Mohamed Siad Barre. Undoubtedly, Gen. Samatar ordered the obliteration of former North Somalia: currently known as Somaliland—where over 60, 000 slaughtered civilians dumped in mass graves, major cities pulverized to dust, and survivors fled in droves. Just read the book entitled, “A Government At War With Its Own People” published by Human rights Watch in 1988. This book details the horrendous atrocities committed by Gen. Samatar and his henchmen against Somaliland people.

Back then, Saado performed spectacular, exotic Southern Somali dance: booty shaking (Niiko), as if her lower body was detachable from the upper part, for Gen. Samatar and his elite in Mogadishu’s theaters, far from the torture chambers and killing fields of Somaliland. She was well received by the government officials and invited to their glamorous cocktail parties and lavish events as an entertainer. Little did she know or cared, the elite that she entertained with her ever flexible, beautiful twisting body—like an Indian cobra slithering through a field-grass—were warmongers that will face justice one day. She was like their favorite belly dancer of Egypt.

Few months ago, audaciously enough, Saado vigorously defended Gen. Samatar when some of his victims filed a lawsuit against him in the United Sates where he resides. She stood by him. Worse yet, she accused the victims of launching a witch hunt against Gen. Samatar because of his tribe. (In North America and Europe, if you slightly criticize a Jewish person or Israel, you will be labeled as anti-Semitic; in Somalia, if you ask a perpetrator why have you savagely brutalized me, you obliviously have something against his/her tribe—the same nonsense but in a different pile!). She openly stated: “The plaintiffs’ lawsuit was motivated by their tribal hatred towards Gen. Samatar.” Her behavior didn’t only add insult to injuries but she also undertook another mission: inciting violence and unrest against Somaliland security forces in Las Annod, the provincial capital of Sool region.
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Working closely with some bellicose pro-unity Somali Diaspora groups, she is now an important member of the council of war.  In her recent song: “Libdhimaysid Las Annod”, under the guise of advocating for Somali nationalism, she incites violence against Somaliland security forces in the city. She sings about the “liberation” of Las Annod just as Dervish forces waged wars against the British colonizers in 1900’s. Was it Gen. Samatar’s idea to instigate violence in Somaliland?

You would expect somebody like Saado to compose songs as to raise desperately needed funds for schools, hospitals, and water purification systems in Las Annod, instead of promoting how to engulf the city with an inferno. You would also expect from somebody at her age to preach about peace and development in Sool region, not sing an emotional war song which provokes some misguided people.

Although Al-Shabab terrorists banned music in Somalia, rest assured they will rejoice Saado’s song because they too have been waging a bloody war: assassinating officials with remote controlled bombs and detonating explosives against Somaliland security forces in Las Annod.  Read more:
So any song, poem, or speech that goads Al-Shabab’s dormant supporters in Las Annod to attack the security forces will be used as an indispensible propaganda tool. Has she been used and deceived by violent Diaspora groups and Al-Shabab? Maybe!

Yet another question lingers: if her nationalism shrills are genuine, where was she when she was need the most—when Ethiopia was barbarically rapping Somalia from 2006 to 2008 with the help of Col. Abdullahi Yussuf—the butcher of Mogadishu? How come she didn’t invoke nationalism and liberating Somalia’s fallen capital, Mogadishu—the city that nourished Saado so much and transformed her from a goat-herding little girl in the plains of Sool region into a famous singer in Mogadishu? Or was her nationalism in a temporary coma back then? Surely, Somalis are sickened by the pro-unity cliques suffering from selective amnesia, their hollow mantra of Somali nationalism, as well as their lip service to unity.

The song itself lacks the true meaning of a Somali song. It is poorly composed and mixed with a Somali version of hip hop. Sadly, instead of enhancing her song with Geeraar or Buraanbur (the female’s version of Somali poems), she acts like a teenage girl trapped in granny’s body—Saado mixes the song with meaningless hip hop lyrics.

Ironically, while some young Somali rappers are openly discouraging violence and resolutely opposing siding with Al-Shabab, Saado’s rap song spurs violence. It is mad, mad…mad granny’s world, isn’t it?

See the young rappers’ song entitled, “No to Al-shabab”.

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Now compare their song with Saado’s violence inciting lyrics:

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But this clip is indeed a blessing in disguise for the security forces; you could see Las Annod is so peaceful that no one carries any weapons in the streets. Thanks to Somaliland law officers and the city’s peace-loving residents. Yet the same security forces that pacified the city are the ones that Saado advocates for attacking and evicting them from the city. (Yaab! Meesha dadka caqligu kaga yaalo, Saado ma finbaa kagayaala? Or where people have brains does Saado have a pimple?)

Lashing out Saado Ali’s character, or denouncing her conviction to Somali unity is far from my objective. Of course, she has her God-given rights to support Somali unity. Even the famous Somaliland poet Mr. Hardraawi supports Somali unity and lives freely in Somaliland. But Saado’s attempt to incite violence in Somaliland is what the fuss is all about—Somaliland, a country that she probably has not seen for the past decades.

Amazingly, other pro-unity Somalis singers such as, Maryam Mursal, Ahmed Naji Sa’ad, and many more have visited Somaliland where they felt proud of Somaliland people’s determinations to rebuild their country and succeed despite the enormous challenges they face. Maryam Mursal is in fact in the process of building schools in Somaliland. Saado Ali, on the other hand, is busy with igniting an inferno in her region of Sool province, never mind building schools.

Meanwhile, why should we ever attend her concerts again? Since Saado chose to act like a warlord in exile, then she doesn’t deserve our hard-earned money, does she? Of course, it would bee foolish for peace-loving Somaliland/Somali Diaspora communities to go to her concerts; after all, Saado shamelessly spurs violence in a city that she may have never seen before or spent more than few nights in it. That is: Las Annod.

In all fairness to Saado, other singers also took the wrong path: some singers from Southern Somalia sided with their tribal warlords, however; other singers namely, Hibo Nuura from Somaliland instilled pride in many Somalis, especially the young generation who have never seen home. What is better than reading a book at Chapters book store and sipping Starbuck’s coffee while enjoying Hibo’s mind-soothing songs played by the store? Bravo Hibo.

To sum up, Saado’s efforts to defend the notorious war criminal Gen. Mohammed Ali Samatar and her warmongering attitude towards Somaliland—the very same country that Gen. Samatar brought to its knees in the late 80s truly shocked the Somaliland/Somali Diaspora communities.

But she is making a big mistake:  what she doesn’t realize is—apart from boycotting her concerts—the Somaliland/Somali communities in the United States could file a complaint against her warmongering’s, beating war drums. Since she is spreading violence, she will be held accountable for her villain actions. That is: the war will come to you Saado.

The Somaliland community must, at least, file a formal complaint against Saado with U.S. security agencies. If she is not stopped now, soon she will mobilize fund raising concerts for waging a violent war in Somaliland. Sool region needs schools, hospitals and other developments, not wars or suicide bombers.

Truly, we are in a warlord where young Somali rappers’ are denouncing violence and terrorism while some senior citizens like Saado Ali are promoting war and destruction. It is mad, mad…mad granny’s world—but we must boycott her concerts.

Dalmar Kaahin


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