Gidaarka Baarliin ‘The wall of Berlin’ – A poem about the ‘Nabsi’ that befell the city of Berlin

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Gidaarka Baarliin – gabay ka hadlaya Nabsiga ku dhacay gumeystayaasha- Cabdullaahi Qarshi

Gidaarka Baarliin (heello “D” ah)

Dawladdii gumaysiga

E dul ahaanba Afrika

Waagii ay damaaciyeen,

Shirkii ay u dalbeen

Magaaladay u soo dirteen

Kobtii ay ku doodayeen

Baarliin daya,

Bal daya

Derbaa dhex yaal,

Bal daawada

Durbaday na soo galeen

Ay raggeenii dabradeen

Sidii dameero ay rarteen

Ay karbaash ugu dareen

Ay darkiina buuxiyeen

Dhiigoodii daadiyeen

Markay madowgi damqadeen

Durbaanaday garaacayeen

Dawankii ay yeedhiyeen

Gabayaday ku diirayeen,

Ay heesaa isu direen

Waa tay duhur dharaarnimo

Badi wada dareeriyeen

Nabsiga aan daahinow

Ee aan dakaaminow

Dawga loo tilmaaminow

Ee aan cidi diraynninow

Degdegga aan oqoonninow

Marnaba aan daahinow

Diinka ka deeryninow

Dayuuraduhu gaadhinow

Taniyo waagii dura,

Dalkayagii naga maqnaa

Duqiiyow waa sidee?

Xaqayagu ma duudsibaa?

Waxaan ku soo duubayaa.

Waxaan uga dan leeyahaan.

Idin dareensiinayaa.

Shimbirahaa duulayaa.

Ee dushaa meerayaa.

Marleyba way daalayaan.

Daafta way imanayaan.

The wall of Berlin – A poem about the ‘Nabsi’ that befell the city of Berlin

(A song alliterated in D)


The colonialists’ powers,

spreading all through Africa,

decided to carve it up among them,

look at the meeting they arranged[1]

The place where they plotted,

The exact quarter they quartered us in-

Look at Berlin,

All of you look, look
 A wall divides it

An astonishing spectacle.[2]

When they invaded our land,

They chained men’s legs,

Made of them beasts of burden,

And whipped them like donkeys,

Poured them into camps like water into a trough

Until the camps overflowed.

Then the blacks in their agony revolted,

The drums that they beat,

The bells that they rang,

The poems that stirred them,

The songs that held coded warnings –

All these we remember in the mid-day sunshine,

And they expelled the intruders from Africa,

Oh Nabsi, who never tires,

And who is never bored,

Whom no one instructs,

Who never hurries,

And who yet is punctual,

Who can be as slow as a tortoise,

Yet whom airplanes can never catch,

As long as the days of Dura,

Our lands have not been our own[3]

Oh Elder[4],why do you not exert your powers?

Must our rights be denied us?[5]

The point I am making with my song,

The end to which my singing leads,

And the purpose,

Is simply this:

The bird which is flying,

And swooping overhead,

Will sometimes tire and needing rest,

Will come to earth,[6]

[1] In Berlin, The Berlin Conference of 1884-5 was a turning point in the European nations squabble over Africa. The great powers – Britain, France, Portugal, Germany and Belgium (in the person of King Leopold who was working to obtain a personal empire) – realised at this conference that there was nothing for it but a rapid partition of Africa between them. The scramble for territories had begun.

[2] Ironically, the very city in which Africa was divided up is now itself divided. The reference is to the Berlin Wall built in 1961 to separate the Eastern and the western sectors of the city.

[3] The ‘lands’ referred to are the Northern Frontier District of Kenya, the Ogadeen of Ethiopia and Djibouti, the alienated lands of the Somali people.

[4] Elder: that is, Nabsi.

[5] Somalia’s rights to the areas mentioned in Note 3, rights which have never been given up.

[6] Nabsi will come to Somalia to restore justice, to expel the colonialists and to recover the alienated territories.

Taken from 'Stars, seasons and weather in Somali pastoral traditions' - Musa Haji Ismail Galal

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