Sunday, September 25, 2005


Republic of Somaliland

Well, an amazing day! We have the visa for Somaliland! In the process I spoke to Edna Adan, the foreign minister we mentioned on this blog in July before we left..... my midwife.

As you may have seen, there are parliamentary elections occuring on Thursday.Whatyou will not have read is that there has been some gunshots fired over and around Hargeisa the last three nights. No visas were to be issued until AFTER the elections. Only by Edna herself personally guaranteeing our safety, was the local consul able to issue the visa.

She was charmed by the story, although she never did receive the letter my father wrote to her. As it happened, her nephew Ali Osman happened to be in the consulate at the same time we were and he had her personal address and telephone number and managed to arrange for us to talk on the phone. A wonderful experience! She even said that she sort of could remember Mum and Dad from those days so far back.

Edna has advised us that it would probably be best, in the light of the shootings and of her having more time for us, if we came to Hargeisa AFTER the elections, so we will revise our travel plans.

Osman Ali is based in Djibouti but does lots of business with Hargeisa, which he says is a bustling city, even more than here. He also made the point that Somaliland DID exist as a separate independent state with membership of the UN for five days in1960, so should, according to the UN rules be given recognition, as the old colonial boundaries should stand.

We also hear, from someone elsethat maybe the President of Somaliland himselfis less keen on independence and recognition than the peopleof Somaliland. Maybe he is looking for a job in the Somali Republic.Anyway.....

I managed to show them alla copy of my birth certificate headed Somaliland Protectorate (despite the fact that Iwas born a year after independence). This was copied for the local archive. It appears that there are some people who deny even a separate existence ever for Somaliland.I wished I had more memorabilia from these days- and I am hoping that Mum can scan and send me some photos for me to take. Also some of the old Somaliland Protectorate stamps would be good, but these are all in Amsterdam.

When we eventually got to meet the consul, it turned out that he had studied in Holland - Amsterdam and Nijenrode - and still spoke Dutch! What a small world.

The only sad news was that the Registrar of Births died just a year ago. Apart from that the hospital where I was born is still there, only half damaged in the war. Osman Ali thinks I should try to get Somaliland nationality and maybe give an interview or two while I am there.

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