By Said Jama Hussein Feb. 25, 2010
The Mooge Cultural Festival and International Book Fair held in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland between 22 July and 27 July 2009 was a unique cultural event at least for three tangible reasons:
Firstly, it was the first time a literary and cultural festival of that scale and magnitude has taken place in the country since the downfall of the obnoxious military rule of General Siad Barre in 1991.
Secondly, Since the festival had been primarily meant, as its name unmistakably indicates, to honour the memory of the late Mohamed Moge Liban, celebrated artist of rare talents, a patriot and educationist of amicable personal qualities, Hargeisa as undisputed hub of Somali art and culture, and being the hometown of the late Mohamed Moge, was the most apt venue to be chosen for this remarkable event.
Thirdly, the astonishingly excellent level of preparation and organisation carried out by the co-partners, KAYD arts and cultural organisation and REDSEA-Online, under the experienced and dynamic direction and leadership of Ayan Mahamoud and Jama Musa Jama respectively.
The Hargeisa festival which lasted for a whole long week, practically starting at dawn and finishing at dusk throughout the week, was meant to achieve three objectives: To inform, to entertain, and to educate. For this purpose, to the festival was invited an appreciable number of renowned artists, writers, poets, intellectuals, playwrights, professors, and prominent social figures. The sponsoring organisations of KAYD and REDSEA On-line had, this time also, true to their principled tradition in such undertakings, chosen such pertinent themes as Censorship, Intolerance, Need for Reading Culture to be debated and discussed as a vital and integral part of the festival programme.
And this is precisely the reason that prompted me to hastily scribble this short article on ‘INTOLERANCE’ as its subject.
Before moving to our theme of ‘Intolerance’, let me say a final word about the festival. The turn out to the festival was massive beyond belief, particularly among the young generation who luckily happened to be on their school vacation; and the festival ended in a brilliantly resounding success.
It is my absolute conviction that of all human passions, attitudes and behaviours the most dangerous and despicable is intolerance. Hence the fight against it must be equally resolute and tenacious. Human history is full of glaring examples of the immeasurable damage which extremist movements, be they political or religious or in many cases the combination of both, driven by their blind and powerful urge of intolerance, are capable of inflicting. To cite but a few easily remembered ones, we can easily mention the Crusade Wars in the Middle Ages, the First and Second world wars in the first half of the 20th century, and the most spectacular atrocity of our time- Al-Qaeda’s attack on the World Trade Centre in New York killing at least 3000 people in the first year of this 21st century of ours.
It has been verified beyond the slightest shade of doubt that all radical and fundamentalist movements of whatever persuasion can be seen to have the spirit of intolerance deeply ingrained in their political ideologies or religious doctrines for that matter.
Appalled by the horrific outcome of the world wars of the last century, and in order to forestall the recurrence of similar catastrophes in the future, the United Nations has promulgated the Human Rights Law as a major article in its charter and made it binding to its member states. As quite well known, all the UN member states, despite their obvious differences and diversities, are signatories to this most plausible law ever to be enacted in the interest of humanity. Its message is loud and clear- to unreservedly and indiscriminately safe-guard the well being of humanity and forcefully thwart any measure deemed...