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Djibouti Government Awards Highest Cultural Medal To Hassan Sheikh Momin Posthumously
ABU DHABI, January 26, 2008 – Djibouti government decided to award the highest medal of culture posthumously to Hassan Sheikh Momin, a celebrated Somali playwright who died in Oslo on 16th January 2008, when his body arrives at Djibouti airport Today (Saturday morning, 26 January 2008), according to Hashi Abdillahi Orrah, Djibouti President’s Advisor on Cultural Affairs.
Speaking to Awdalnews Network on telephone, Mr. Orrah said full ceremonial reception would be held for Momin’s body including awarding him posthumously the highest medal of culture, known in Somali as Baal (feather), and draping the coffin with Djibouti national flag.
“We wanted to give him an official funeral in Djibouti but Momin has requested to be buried in his fathers mausoleum in Borama. His will has to be respected,” said Orrah.
Djibouti Minister of Culture, Ali Abdi Farah, will decorate the body with the medal on behalf of President Ismail Omar Guelleh. Also present at the ceremony will be Saeed Barkahd, Minister of Justice, Orrah, Faisal Mohammed Haddi, from Djibouti Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Mohammed Dahir Afrah, President of Somali PEN and others.
Meanwhile, Djibouti Ambassador to the UAE, Idriss Chirwa, described Momin as a legendary and talented playwright who had left a wealth of beautiful literature for the Somali speaking people.
Talking to Awdalnews in Abu Dhabi, Chirwa said “Momin had been involved in the Somali theatre over the last 52 years and had left a great legacy.” He extended his condolence to Momin’s family, relatives and all the people who loved his works.
Air France flew the body of Momin Thursday afternoon, 24 January, after ritual prayers were offered on him at Oslo Grand Mosque. A number of Somaliland community members had seen the body off at Oslo airport.
Family members with whom Awdalnews has spoken said Momin’s elder son, Mohammed and a relative Abdirashid Anshrar, have left Oslo yesterday and will accompany the body from Paris via Air France to Djibouti. The flight will land at Djibouti Airport at 7 a.m local time.
A special private jet will carry the body from Djibouti to Borama. Djiboutian officials accompanying the body will include Hashi Abdillahi Orrah, Faisal Mohammed Haddi, Abdi Farah Ahmed Good, businessman and nephew of Momin as well as Dr. Afrah.
The Somaliland government has requested the body to be dispatched to Hargeysa where arrangements have been made to give him official honoring. However the organizers of the funeral were forced to accept a direct flight from Djibouti to Borama due to barely passable rough road between Borama and Dilla, which during the rainy season has the potential to become even worse. The fact that the body has been in a morgue for a long time and the lack of mobile refrigerated morgues in Hargeysa has also contributed to the family’s decision.
Momin’s body will be laid to rest in his father’s mausoleum in the Ahmed Guray area of Borama. Hundreds of Borama people are expected to attend the funeral. Awdalnews learned that several Somaliland Ministers would attend the funeral, while some people expect the President himself to be present.
The Awdalite community in Oslo has donated 100,000 Norwegian Kroner (18,221.2 US Dollar) to cover the cost of the body transport. Also other Somaliland communities in Oslo have raised 24,714.0 Norwegian Kroner (US$ 4,500 US Dollar) as support to Momin’s family.
Somaliland Community in Oslo also plans to organize a night to remember Hassan Sheikh Momin and discuss his legacy and listen to some of his works.
Hassan Sheikh Momin was a talented playwright whose plays were dominated by satirical and paradoxical language typical of which were “Dawo bukootay, Dab dhaxmooday, Durdur oomay” in his famous “Shabeel Nagood” play. Shabeel Nagood was the first and only Somali play ever translated into English. He was famous for borrowing a lot of his language from the rich Somali folklore literature, thus reviving the dead language and popularizing it. One good example is the song “Waxan ahay wahdiga dugsiyada, waxan ahay waanada macallinka” which he wrote as part of the Somali government’s awareness campaign to popularize the Somali script. His other works include “Gaaraa bildhaan”, other plays and dozens of songs.
Coming from a religious family, Hassan Sheikh Momin learned Quran and took a clerical career early in his life. He became a religious teacher and was prepared to follow in his father’s footsteps as a religious scholar when he joined the Somali struggle for independence in the early 1950s.
Many of poems and lyrics had become a rallying cry for the independence campaigners
Source: Awdalnews Network