IN THE MEMORY OF SAKIN JIRDE HUSSIEN
May her soul rest in peace.
“Inna Lillahi wa Inna ileyhi Raj’oon
Truly we belong to Allah and truly to Him shall we return.
On Tuesday 21 of September 2010, we buried a giant humanitarian, a scholar and a pillar of women empowerment in Somaliland. Sakin was so kind to all creatures large and small, she adopted a blind dog. She was munificent to the poor and the weak. She was passionate to female education, their health and overall development. She spent her entire life in curing and caring the sick and the frail. That noble duty took her to three major continents: Africa, Asia and Europe, where she served in some of the largest and famous hospitals worldwide.
Sakin was among the first girls educated in Somaliland. She started her education after Quranic Madras, in 1953 at Buroa Girls Boarding School. She showed great endurance and persistence to survive against a barrage of criticism and refutation from society at large, that venerated negative attitude towards women and their affairs. She passed all potential impediments with the most important help she needed at the time. Her father Jirde Hussien, a prominent businessman with foresight, was not among those who saw girl-education un-Islamic; on the contrary he fought for women’s right to education in all fronts. War of ideas is won by convincing the enemy of better future. That is just how Sakin, her father and fellow progressive citizens secured women’s education in Somaliland.
Once more Sakin broke another glass ceiling. She was among the first Somaliland women to go abroad for further education. She went to U.K early 60′s and earned a degree in nursing. She came back and served her nation at Hargeysa Group Hospital. Years later she was deployed to Digfer Hospital in Mogadishu to the role of Head Nurse.
With political deterioration in Somalia in early seventies she was among the first emigrants that went to the Middle East. She was employed as Director of Nursing in the largest Libyan Hospital in Tripoli. During her stay in Libya Sakin applied and successfully became an International Senior Staff within World Health Organization (WHO). In that capacity she spent number of years in DR of Congo. Latter on and most of the following twenty years, she was in employment with various senior managerial positions within Lausanne University Hospital, Switzerland.
“Colka ninka soo arkay iyo kan looga sheekeeyaa, isku si ugama baqaan” meaning: “The one that experiences war or conflict and the one who hears about it will have different fears”
Sakin couldn’t stay away from her country when it was crying blood. She came on fact finding mission in 1993 and was touched by the state of the nation, a country destroyed by its government beyond recognition. She saw in person the lamentable state the only hospital in the capital city was. That left a permanent picture in her mind. Equipped with painful truth, she amalgamated her effort to whistle around the world and mostly within humanitarian circles, the misery and mayhem her people were experiencing. She raised awareness of dire condition Somalilanders were in.
Finally, and with proper preparation, she decided to settle her home town and took all her knowledge, experience and wealth to contribute to re-construction of an annihilated society. The physical destruction of infra-structure is nothing compared to the physiological, negative impact it implanted into the social well-being of its people. Trauma, stress, and victimization, contributed to ever-increasing mental disease. The fractured family unit by death, disease and separation, has its impact of family life, and social safety.
Sakin, joined Hargeysa Health Board from its inception, with special interest in Pharmacy and management of prescriptions. She devoted much of her responsibility to mental health issues, and ever increasing orphanage in Hargeysa. She was first to volunteer in any field needed. With extra sense of duty, she campaigned to improve ambulance and transportation shortage. She initiated and appealed community large fund-raising to enhance ambulance shortage in Hargeysa with triumph.
Let me throw light on personal aspect of her principles in life and her thoughts about Somaliland. Being my first cousin, (Habarwadaag) I had the honour of debating with her about social and political life of our country. She never hide her despair of political process in one aspect only that of clan influence on political decision making. She told me the only reason she didn’t engage in politics is her rejection to go into clan platform. She said” How can one reconcile his clan support and his duty to the country”. A question hard to answer .It is a hurdle we have to break in-order to build a fair society where rule of the law is the norm and where citizens are equal regardless of clan, gender and age.
On another front, she believed that hard work, honesty and persistence are essential to success in any profession. She once quoted Theodore Roosevelt who said:
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again … who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.”
That quotation was in response to my political debate, when she visited me last year in Cardiff. My cousin told me frankly, to go straight and play frontline politics. Hence influencing me to come and dirty my hands in real Somaliland politics. I did just that thanks to her.
Sakin believed Somaliland is again at momentous cross roads. “It is fifty years late, but not too late, because what else can a people or a nation do, but to take up the fallen standards and persevere. They should take up the difficult long journey of slowly building civil institutions of imperfect political situation, to attain an internal cohesion and become a nation at peace with itself and its neighbors.” She said the day she passed away. That left me in tears. She was so coherent, so pensive and to me she was just getting better. It was precisely 2.00 pm on Monday 20th September, when she told me so many things in her life from childhood to her deep thoughts about future. I learned lately that good people regain their posture physically and mentally to pay farewell to their relatives and friends.
Life is complex and beyond our understanding. Looking forward for another session with my dear cousin, I left her home, never to return her alive I was phoned at 9.15 pm same Monday 20, the September that Sakin passed away peacefully at 9.00 pm, without pain. That reminded me how kindness and charity reduce pain of death: It is narrated by Anas bin Malik that the Prophet (SAW), said: Verily charity appeases the wrath of Allah and eases the sufferings of death. (Tirmidhi)
Sakin left us but her legacy of dedication to nation building, striving for better life to all our citizens, seeking to establish a fair society where justice is for all, equality in total, no gender discrimination, nor clan superiority is lifelong struggle incumbent upon us all…that vision is the torch she passed over to the young generations of this beloved country.
‘O Allah! Forgive Sakin; raise her station among those who are rightly-guided; O Lord of the Worlds! Forgive her and us, make her grave spacious, and put light therein for her.”
Let me remind myself, her relatives and friends, that charity will help her in the Day of Judgment. Donate on her behalf to her causes. Let us remember what our prophet said about charity:
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) taught that three things continue to benefit a [believing] person even after death – charity which he had given (which continues to benefit others), beneficial knowledge which he had left behind (i.e. authored or taught), and supplication on his behalf by a righteous child (Narrated by Saheeh Muslim).
May Allah bless Sakin Jirde’s soul, may He enlarge and light up her grave, may he bestow her the highest of all paradises, Janatul Fardows. May Allah guide us, her relatives and friends to give charity on her account..
*But those who disbelieve say, “The Hour (i.e. the Day of Judgment) will not come to us.” Say, “Yes, by my Lord, it will surely come to you. [God is] the Knower of the unseen.” Not absent from Him is an atom’s weight within the heavens or within the earth or [what is] smaller than that or greater, except that it is in a clear register – That He may reward those who believe and do righteous deeds. Those will have forgiveness and noble provision. But those who strive against our verses [seeking] to cause failure (i.e. to undermine their credibility) – for them will be a painful punishment of foul nature. * (Quran, 34:3-5)
Sakin rests in grave No. 1322 of Xeedho, (Heedho) cemetery, Hargeysa, a garden opened to Janatul Fardows, Insha Allah.
Hargeysa 409 6421