More than one thousand Somalis assembled February 9 at the Minneapolis Convention Center to recognize and appreciate former prime minister of Somalia Abdulweli Ali. Some of Somalia’s’ heavyweight politicians, local community leaders and intellectuals were among those in attendance.
Speaking of Ali’s work as a prime minister, former Somali minister of foreign affairs Hamid Masheye said that Ali was a great leader, respected his ministers and never questioned the responsibilities of others in his cabinet.
Some of his widely mentioned successes included the major role he played in defeating al-Shabab and shifting Somalia from the transitional state it has been stuck in for decades to a permanent government.
The event marked the last of three-part “Rebirth of a Nation” series, sponsored, in part, by Hussein Samater, the executive director of the African Development Center in Minneapolis.
These events were aimed to give the public a deeper understanding of the country’s past and present conditions.
They were also intended to underline the tangible progress Ali made during his term from July 2011 to October 2012. Likewise, the events were meant to accentuate the wounds that Somalia has suffered for many years and called for Somali-Americans to unite in healing those wounds.
Ali thanked the community for their support and encouragement. Among other things, he expressed his support for federalism in Somalia and the need for giving every state the freedom to become an autonomous state.
At times, music filled the auditorium as the Somali’s legendary singer Ahmed Ali Cigal rocked the stage, while the audience broke into applause to indicate their joy.
Sometimes the words of hope, nationalism and unity they sang brought people to tears.