Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Ikran Haji Daud: a symbol of hope for many women

In a society dominated by male chauvinism, it is a rarity to mention women who made history in our society, except few. However, women, NOT MEN, have always remained the source of inspiration, hope, strength, courage and resilience for most Somalis, both men and women, for generations.

Such is the case of Ikran Haji Daud, who demonstrated that women could still succeed against all odds in a culture where women are treated as a second class when it comes to participating in the dog-eating-dog political arena in Somalia and elsewhere in the world. Ikran has disproved all doubters when she was elected as the first women to the House of Representatives in Somaliland; ---- she simply made history.

It never came as a surprise to those of us who knew Ikran, the person, before she became “Xildhiban” Ikran. The first time that I met Ikran was 1998 in the City of Borama and, before long; I was overtaken by her enthusiasm and limitless potential-driven energy with which she captured people’s attention. I nicknamed her “ENERGY”.

It was no surprise to me when she shared with me her plan of running for a parliamentary seat in Borama last year. Without any hesitation or second-guessing, I told her that I would be supportive of her plans and wished her luck.

There was no doubt in my mind that she was a person of courage and integrity, who could remain a role model for many people, especially young girls in Somalia. In her recent short visit to the US, the male dominated Somaliland (MEDIA) ignored Ikran’s importance and downplayed her visit to the US once again, something she got used by now.

However, after few days in Virginia, where she fulfilled her governmental mission, Ikran’s schedule has become as tight as the cowboy boots in Texas, and Ikran is making her mark again by touching many people with her inspiring spirit of hope and enthusiasm. Friends and communities in many parts of the US started organizing themselves, some of them the first time they ever agreed to come together for a common cause.

Her arrival in Dallas, Texas on March 15, 2006 was almost overdue and was much anticipated with excitement. Some of us traveled from Houston, Texas, 300 hundred miles from Dallas, just to see her again. For me, it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. Surrounded by her friends and family members, Ikran was in her ever-uplifting mood of hope and inspiration.

Those of us who have chosen to see her and welcome her in Texas felt honored by her presence. Furthermore, her poise and positive energy did not only generate a new hope and excitement for all Somali women like me, no matter where they are, but it also reassured me that Ikran was not blind-sided by her new accomplishment and success. As ever she remained grounded.
She is a woman who understands very well that the role she chose to play is challenging and demanding. She remains the mother and the wife she is, a role that she accepts as natural as the air she breathes. But she also recognizes her place in history and her bigger role, the symbol of hope that she plays for many women in her generations and the generations that yet to come. I, once more, wished her good luck. You Go Girl!!!

Roda Mizan

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