A brilliant work co-ordinated through many continents”

by Rhoda A. Rageh

A Note On My Teachers Group is about a historical epic that has changed the lives of the people of Somaliland forever. The drama was a mammoth, which became prelude to a systematic genocide, annihilation of cities by an incumbent government, the end of a deceitful republic and a diaspora that has severed the core of nuclear families.

The author’s flashback is often surreal and daunting to revisit, sometimes distressing to read and occasionally comical to believe. In an attempt to place the suffering of his teachers with the destruction of his role models and the fictitious allegations that put them in cruel prisons, he resurrects the proceedings of spurious courtrooms, bewildered witnesses, ineffectual lawyers, fearless youth and a society betrayed by its government. Among many personal testimonies of the victims, the book includes vivid images of the group’s enthusiasm, torture, and survival instincts. In spite of a nerve of steel needed to get through the severity encountered, one must read to learn from it.

The defendants are 28 vibrant young men who have come back to a derelict home city. They took the idyllic path rarely followed by other Africans. Instead of insurgence, they focused on rebuilding vital institutions by tapping into their own academic backgrounds and work experiences. At a time when economic, educational, social and cultural institutions of the entire northern regions were depressed by Siad Barre’s restrictions, the only resource available to them in their dilapidated city was their mental energy. They pioneered a vision of self-help for people too tired and afraid to create one. Their vital energy, which had awakened Siad Barre’s worst fears of mutiny, was the beginning of a long nightmare for some of Somaliland’s brightest young men. The culmination of which was total destruction of the Somali Democratic Republic.

Dr. Jama Musa Jama, an intellectual living in the disapora was an impressionable young adult when all of these happened in his hometown of Hargeisa. The treachery of a ruthless government and the insecurity he felt through this incident mold him into a serious a researcher of truth. The book remembers those who suffer in the hands of cruel tyrants. It is a tribute to history, a psychological healing for Somalilanders, who have been terrorized by these events and a treasure for posterity. Above all this book is an honour to the strong will of serious intellectuals still active in their vision of self-help. Dr. Jama’s relentless research preserves us an experience, which could not have been possible without his patience, dedication and seriousness of purpose. A brilliant work co-ordinated through many continents.

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