Hargeisa, the peace of the mind.

By Ahmed Abdi

Hargeisa, this sounds a bit foreigner to many outsiders. Even the name in the Google is more scary in the first glimpse than what might have already been in your mind as you start your Google search. However what you will read here will raise your eyebrows may be at least will convincingly change the scope of your knowledge about this tinny oasis piece of land. Hargeisa is not a recent name, it’s been an old city for a long time, but 30 years after rising itself from the ashes of destruction, its geographic split from one of the most dangerous places in the world changed its view and enabled it to thrive peacefully for decades to count now. I’m a Somali origin so unlike western media borrowing suffixes like “Most dangerous” breaks my heart but given the current reality of our country, it’s a favorite word for nearly every blog post and report about Somalia. In the face of uncertainty, Hargeisa rose it’s head out of the rubber and continued to stand by it’s own but the story of it’s recovery is far from anyone’s imagination.

Hargeisa is the largest capital city of the self-declared republic of Somaliland or legitimately northern parts of Somalia. Somaliland has officially broken away from Somalia after a brutal civil war against the powerful south in 1990. Somalia has once been dubbed as “The Irish of Africa” simply because of its power and progress in Africa at the time but it’s golden era had soon its own shortcomings. Somalia went into an endless civil war which continues until the present day. Even though what’s happening in Somalia is a war on terror today, the side effects of the civil war could widely be felt across the country. Somaliland began to split after Siyad barre, the last president of the great and peaceful Somalia masterminded his invasion idea to the northern provinces of what is today the new Somaliland. It was a destructive war that caused civilian casualties and mass evacuations of the people of the north. History teaches us that Hargeisa you’re reading now was leveled to the ground. At the time, Siyad barre was advancing his military muscle in Africa and to the peak of Somalia’s military mighty, One last mistake that brought Somalia in the mercy of war was his unthought decision to invade northern provinces inhabited mainly by a different clan called “ISAAQ” Below are pictures of Hargeisa during the civil war

Hargeisa in 1990 via Twitter
Hargeisa during the civil war – Google photos

How did Hargeisa overcome from the ashes of the civil war and began to stand by its own feet?

Yes, that was a picture of Hargeisa in 1990 when the civil war was at an infant stage. During days of Ariel shelling and ground attacks, people in Hargeisa and Somaliland fled the war to all horizons of the neighboring countries. They left everything they had behind and went on to flee from their houses in masses. Even though the war stopped a few months after it broke out, the aftermath of the battle left millions of Somalilanders unable to return. Some suffered the trauma of war, others made dangerous journeys to the west and immediately became fresh immigrants of Europe and America. Some found home in countries they never thought of, others suffered along the way. In any possible scenario, the people of Somaliland’s number one choice was to head off to Europe and America for protection but what they later found was the product of the new Hargeisa now. They found a life that sustained not only themselves but also those extended families left behind. The land they considered themselves as immigrants immediately turned their sufferings into a land of opportunities. Through resilience and hardwork, the tiny semi-desert had survived and Hargeisa grew faster than it could recover making it one of the fastest technologically and economically booming cities in Africa now. Yes you read it correctly, it’s all that I said but only became in the face of difficulties. Here are some pictures that I’ve taken recently.

Downtown Hargeisa – photos are mine
Night life in Hargeisa

What is the economy of Hargeisa based on?

Hargeisa has a great deal of business already in place but recent developments in technology is adding a big volume to the growth of the economy in the city. Hargeisa is a business city. Most people’s means of economy comes from small-scale businesses. Somaliland has a sea called Berbera. Ships to and from the coast placed Somaliland at the center of business and growth in the horn of Africa. Somaliland has made significant progress in technology ever since they adopted the free market economy model but public services are in low. Education and healthcare system in the country is in complete shumble. The government here does little to support people’s life but diaspora communities who fled the war are filling that gap now.

They take part in much of the economic activities happening in the region including infrastructures like roads, hospitals and emergency appeals. Hargeisa had progressed itself through the world of modern technology. It’s worth remembering that just a day ago, the private communication company called Somtel which is one the institutions operating in the region had introduced e-Simcard, a no sim card cellphone adding itself into the list of the only 4 African countries already made this breakthrough. Below are some recent pictures of the Hargeisa especially close to where I live. It was a downtime so I had to rush against the clock to capture some sunset photos and I won the race.

Hargeisa, photos are mine
Sunset in Hargeisa
Jigjiga yar road – Hargeisa
Jigjiga yar -Hargeisa

The more I try to write about Somaliland, the more I need to learn but I know it’s only what I know that you are reading now – – and of course what I see every day through my lens. Somaliland is unrecognized by the international community but it’s path to democracy and transformation is one step forward to putting itself on the global spotlight. I’m in the beautiful city of Hargeisa tonight as I had my 23st Ramadan Iftar with my old university friend at Ramaas hotel in New Hargeisa borough. Hargeisa is growing and current development progress is a sign of even more milestone development to come. this’s my series of my latest blogs on Hargeisa. I’m proud that my blogging work was thankfully endorsed by Faiza Mohamud,, one of the famous writers at Star tribune in the Somali populated twin cities of Minnesota and Minneapolis. I hope this sheds lights on what this unrecognized tiny city and region is about. Till I come back to you with another blog of mine, it’s a clear sky with few scattered clouds in Hargeisa sky. Till then, it’s me Ahmed wishing you a great weekend ahead.

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