A SOMALI SELFMADE BUSINESSMAN RISING TO POLITICAL LEADERSHIP  
 

Abstract: Haji Dirie Hirsi was a Somali nationalist who from the mid 1930s advocated for Somali independence under a Somali elite government. He gave voice to his conviction before the United Nation's fact-finding commission in January 1948. As the leading Somali representative of the Chamber of Commerce of Mogadishu he severely criticized the earlier Italian colonization and opposed the return of the Italian administration. However, Somali opposition, also strongly voiced by the leaders of the Somali Youth League, was disregarded and the Italians came back under a UN trusteeship. Haji Dirie continued the struggle for independence in conjunction with the SYL, aiming at a unified Somali government. Concentrating on his business affairs, he never took an official political position. Nevertheless, despite these background activities, he remained for many years, until the mid 1950s, the most influential political leader of Somalia.


1. GROWING UP IN A PERIOD OF TURMOIL 

Dirie was born in 1905 in a family of nomads in the region of Raas Haafuun. His father was Hirsi Mahmud and his mother Bullo Ali. In 1911 there were five children: three boys - Farah, Dirie and Ali - and  two girls - Faraho and Ambara. One day the darawiish of Muhammad Abdille Hassan came to their camp. They attacked the people who refused to join them in their religiously motivated opposition against the British and Italian colonizers. Two of the warriors found Bullo and killed her because they could not agree on who would take her. The surviving members of the family fled from the area of war to the south. First they settled at Hobbio which was under the rule of Yuusuf Alii Keenadiid. He had established a conquest state in that region, raiding and exploiting the local people. Fleeing once more from a situation of violence, the family went on to Warsheikh, which was under the firm control of the Italians.      After some time Hirsi married again in order to guarantee the upbringing of his children. The wife bore him a daughter called Dahaba. However, the father died soon after of malaria. The remaining family moved to Jawhar to stay with an uncle. In 1914 Dirie was employed   by an Eritrean civil servant who worked for the Italian administration in Mogadishu. He was very eager to learn the Qur'an every evening after finishing his work. His Eritrean employer noticed this and asked his wife not to give the boy work in the evening,so that he would be able to study. At the same time he did other small jobs, such as helping a Somali with his tea shop.

One day in 1922 he heard that his sister Faraho had married an Amhara who was believed by the people to be a Christian. Infuriated by this news, he left Mogadishu immediately. When he arrived early in the morining at his sister's house at Jawhar, he saw her husband performing the fajr prayer, and he learned that he was actually an Eritrean Muslim from Mussawa.

Subsequently the two brothers, Farah and Dirie, opened a tea shop in Jawhar. Their customers were workers from the industrial sugar complex of the Duke of Abruzzi. After some time they enlarged the shop and transformed it into a little restaurant. They employed one of their sisters as a cook. There is no doubt that Dirie was a self-made man, starting from very modest beginnings.

 
2. OPPORTUNITIES: BECOMING OF POLITICALLY MINDED TRADERFoto-Haji-Dirie
 
In the long run the little town of Jawhar offered hardly any opportunies for the expansion of private business. There Dirie observed the events in Northern Somalia, as the Italians slowly extended the regions under their control, thus creating the stable conditions necessary for economic development.
 

2.1. Activities in Northern Somalia


Around 1924 Dirie left Jawhar for Bargaal, north of Raas Haafuun, where he set up a trading business. He worked together with an Anglo-French-Jewish company from Aden, exporting hides and importing foodstuffs and clothes for Somali customers. His business also included trade in pearls, amber and incense (luubaan).

Later he extended his business by taking advantage of an Italian salt pan established  between Bargaal and Hurdiyo (Raas Haafuun) by a group of Lombardi industrialists in 1920 (Lewis 1980: 96).  There were many Somali workers for whom he supplied the necessities of daily life. Soon he also provided lodgings owned by himself for the workers. After some years he was not only the proprietor of houses but also of shops and of small boats bringing the goods from the ships to the shore. Paying taxes and customs fees, he became fully integrated into the expanding money economy. In 1932 he was one of seven Somalis to go on the hajj to Mecca. By that time he had become a well-known business man.

However, he only employed people from his own group. This was resented by the local members of the Osmaan Mahmuud clan, who began to plot against him. The Somali interpreters of the Italians pretended that he had insulted the king of Italy. He was therefore sentenced to prison and was taken to Mogadishu. 

 

2.2. A new start in Mogadishu

Having been transferred to Mogadishu in 1932, Dirie befriended the prison director by providing him with natural pearls for his wife. During his six months in prison, his commercial assets from the north were transferred to Mogadishu by Haji Mahmuud Abdille Dirir, a cousin of his later wife.

By that time Mogadishu was an expanding town. The many people flocking to the capital needed accommodation. Haji Dirie established a quarry close to the town where stones for the new buildings were produced.

His business was starting to thrive when the old problem with the Osmaan Mahmuud people arose again. He therefore decided to organize a meeting (gogol) with them in order to come to an understanding. He said that being all northerners and foreigners in Benaadir, they should unite their forces instead of fighting each other. From that time onward there was cooperation and mutual understanding. His friendship with Boqor Osmaan Mahmuud grew out of this new relationship and lasted until his death. 

 

2.3. Opportunities in the capital

By 1934 Haji Dirie was a constructor himself. He built houses in Mogadishu and sold them to Somalis. An important construction was the commercial centre at Hamar Weeyne which he sold to Somali traders. They opened shops, officies and restaurants in it. It was close to the Suuq of Hamar Weeyne and later became known as the Gold Market. However, building houses for the Europeans was reserved for Italians. He very much resented this colonial colour bar. 

In 1935 Mogadishu became an important base for the military operations of the Italians against Ethiopia. Governor Graziani organized the construction of roads, improved the harbour facilities and accommodated about 50 000 Italians in preparation for the invasion of Ethiopia. In addition he recruited six thousand Somalis known as ZaptiĂ©. Moreover, he established and maintained an efficient base for the continuous war effort. Haji Dirie took advantage of these new opportunies by providing for the needs of the many Somalis and Italians concentrated in the capital.  Again his business increased. 

 

2.4. Creating a family 

In 1935 he married Hawa Hirsi Nur who at that time was sixteen years old. Her parents requested from Haji Dirie that she should remain close to them in  Mogadishu. Their first house was an ordinary building in Iskuraran which was a quarter for Somalis. Earlier he was married successively to several other wives. Three wives each gave him a child: Fatuma (Abdullahi), Timiro (Abdulaziz) and Khadija (Fatuun).  In 1937 he married Hawa Hoosh who became the co-wife of Hawa Hirsi. 

In the same year he built the great house of the family in Hamar Weyne. He had to rent it first to Italians because the whole area was reserved for them. The colour bar during the Fascist period was so strict that even the rent could not be received directly from the Italian tenants. Instead it had to be sent to his bank account. 

 

2.5. Further trading activities 

At some stage Haji Dirie extended his trade to southern countries. He exported frankincense (luubaan), fish, ghee (subag) and hides - the only items of trade allowed for Somalis - to Zanzibar and Mombasa, and he imported from there spices . He also traded with  clothes which came originally from Europe. 

Around 1942, shortly after the beginning of the British administration, he set up a company for wholesale import and export trade. He and other Somalis were allowed to participate in trade which previously was restricted to Italians and other non-Somalis. 

 

2.6. Becoming an entrepreneur

For transport Haji Dirie first rented a ship and later bought one. Eventually he purchased a steamer and employed a European captain and his crew. He was the first Somali to own such a big sea-going cargo ship, which even went to Italy, and he became the most important Somali businessman. The ship mainly transported lifestook from Somalia to Port Said and sometimes to Alexandria. Haji Dirie organized trade from his office in Mogadishu. Communication was by telegrams and letters. The writing was done for him by his secretary, Hassan Muhammad, known as Hassan Waquye. Later, Dirie participated in the Banana Company of Somalia, founded by Italians in 1935 under the name of Regia Azienda Monopolio Banana. He joined the company, together with other Somali businessmen, in 1955. In 1963 the Somali government became the most important shareholder of the company.

Dirie also held shares in Somalia's only textile company, which was at first exclusively Italian. Towards 1955, together with the Italian businessman Nazari, he became the majority shareholder.

At some stage after the Second World War he bought a navy ship, converted for commercial use. It was used for the transport of livestock (camels, cows, goats and sheep) to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. Thus he was the first Somali to own a modern steamboat. When it was shipwrecked it was a great financial loss for him. 

As will be apparent from his ambitious and innovative projects, the driving force behind his business activies was never the desire to amass riches. He was more concerned with the future of his people and of Somalia than with his own private success. In this sense his vision and endeavour were more concerned with national politics than with private advantage. 

 

3. CONCERN FOR PUBLIC WELFARE
3.1. Haji Dirie as a leading elder in Mogadishu
From the end of the 1930s onward Haji Dirie held the position of the leading elder (odey) of the Daarood in Mogadishu, who faced various difficulties when settling in the capital. Having many contacts with other influential people, he took first steps towards a future Somali tribal government by promoting the settlement of the nomadic Daarood in the southern coastal towns. His task was then to supervise this movement in Mogadishu, while Adam Gass took charge of Merca, and another elder of Kisimayo.



3.2. Founding of a school in Mogadishu

Although Haji Dirie had no formal education, he was quick to learn from his foreign business friends. These contacts and his travels in other countries opened his eyes and made him understand how much there was to be done in Somalia.  In 1932 on his own initiative he founded the first full primary school in Somalia that was adapted to the Somali situation. Previously, Somalis could only attend one of the 29 Italian elementary schools in the country for a period of three years. During the Fascist period of Italian administration, these schools served the sole purpose of providing interpreters for the government officials.
     The director of the school was Muallim Jaama'a Bilaal, who was born and went to school in Aden where he became a teacher in a renowned school. Later, the Sultan of Majerteen employed him as his secretary in Haafuun. He was the one who wrote up the treaties between Boqor Usman and the Italians (Abdallah Farah). When Boqor Usman was dismissed by the Italians in 1927, he was taken to Mogadishu and put under house arrest (Lewis 1980:99). Muallim Jaama'a was likewise taken to the capital for close observation by the authorities. 
     In 1932 Haji Dirie employed him as a teacher and offered him a monthly salary (Ali 2005:161 has 1938).  He also provided a modest building for the school in Iskuraran, and a lodging for Muallim Jaama'a in the same quarter. Haji Dire himself organized the fabrication of the benches and provided the slates and other necessary materials. Ali Kar bought the books (Abdallah Farah). It was a modern type of teaching in Arabic, quite different from the traditional Quranic teaching (dugsi). The curriculum was that of Aden, based on five books, including Hidayat al-Islam and a book for arithmetic. The parents contributed to the upkeep of the school and later on probably also provided the salary of the teacher. Open-minded Somalis, including those from other regions, sent their children to the school for modern education (Ali 2005:161).
    In 1941, the British occupiers of the country intended to nationalize the school. The official in charge of education, the Senior Civil Affairs Officer Duncun, asked Muallim Jaama'a for his agreement but he was referred to Haji Dirie and some other Somali notabilities (Abdallah Farah). When Duncan met Haji Dirie, he expressed his high esteem for what he had done for the country in providing the foundation of modern education. After nationalizing  the school, the British moved it to Hamar Weyne, near the De Martino Hospital. When it became too small for the many children, they transferred it to Hamar Jabjab. At that time the school was financed by the department of education, and Muallim Jaama'a  became a government employee. The teaching was in English and Arabic (Laitin 1977: 79). In 1944 there were 220 pupils who learned to read and write in Roman as well as in Arabic characters (Ali 2005: 162 n. 131). In 1950, when the Italians came back and began to prepare the country for independence, they took over the school at Hamar Jabjab and extended its curriculum for secondary schools. People did not forget the initiator of the first Somali school and they remembered Haji Dirie for a long time as the founder of modern Somali education.


Schule Hamar Djabjab
 Muallim Jaama'a in the school of Hamar Jabjab in 1942 (Dower 1944: 64)
 
3.3. Help during famine
When there was a famine from September 1946 to June 1947, Haji Dirie contributed to the founding and running of a centre for the destitute, called the Suus kitchen. The popular name is derived from a measurement of grain of 1 kg. This amount was distributed once a week to individual persons.


3.4. Organization of support for Egypt

In 1956, during the Suez crisis, together with some other Somali traders, Haji Dirie organized practical support for the Egyptians by sending live animals for the Egyptian army. He was also one of the main contributors of donations in money. Somali traders also tried to provide a voluntary military force recruited in Somalia, but this was prevented by the Italian colonial administration.


4. STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE
 

4.1. Participation in the founding of the Somali Youth League
The role of Haji Dirie in the foundation of the Somali Youth League in 1943 is not well documented. He probably was its most important financier: he provided the first office of the League in Via Roma, and later headed the group of supporters who bought the well-known building of the SYL in Dhagaxtuur. As a member of a senior and more respected age-group, he was very influential behind the scenes by establishing contacts and by promoting various political activities. The 'youngsters' of the SYL were good for programmes and proclamations, while he, as the leading elder, could see to their implementation. Having financial means at his disposal, he was unrestricted by group considerations, and he was free to launch activities which he himself considered urgent. These undertakings for the general benefit earned him great respect among the people of Mogadishu and many others.


4.2. Appreciation of the Bevin plan for Great Somaliland
Haji Dirie and his friends in the Somali Youth League appreciated the proposition made by the British Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, in 1946. It suggested that the Somali territory should be united in order to create a Great Somaliland under British administration (Pankhurst 1951:179). This would have implied unification of most of the Somali territories: former Italian Somalia, British Somaliland, the Reserved Area (from Jigjiga to the border of Somaliland), and Ogaden. Unfortunately, some influential members of the SYL were reluctant to accept this proposition, apparently fearing that the influence of the Darood would become too strong. Those persons pleaded strongly for a UN administration under a four-power commission: Great Britain, France, the USA and the Soviet Union.


4.3. Leading role in the Chamber of Commerce
From its foundation in 1944, Haji Dirie was a member of the Somalia Chamber of Commerce. In 1947 the Chamber of Commerce comprised 220 members: 120 Italians, 45 Indians, 22 Somalis, 2 British, 2 Jews and 1 Eritrean. In addition, the Chamber had a leading committee consistin fo five members: Four Italians, two Indians, one British, one Somali and one Arab. Haji Dirie was the only Somali member of the Committee and for unknown reasons he was also titled Council member ( Pankhurst 1951:244).In this function he was by the end of the British period the only Somali in a position of responsability for the whole country (Hearing 1948:1).
 
 
4.4. Criticism of Italian colonialism
In January 1948, a United Nations fact-finding commission visited Mogadishu. Haji Dirie was by then the leading Somali representative of the Chamber of Commerce of Mogadishu. The commission was set up by the Allied Council of Foreign Ministers which controlled the British military administration at the time. It comprised representatives from Britain, the USA, France and the Soviet Union. Haji Dirie rejected the pro-Italian Memorandum drawn up by the Italian members of the Chamber of Commerce and presented to the commission. He strongly opposed the return of the Italian administration. His criticism of Italian colonialism contained five major points submitted to the UN fact-finding commission in January 1948: 1. The expropriation of Somali farmers, especially in Jowhar (Villagio de Abruzzi) and Jenale (near Merca) for the benefit of Italian settlers.  2. The lack of schools for teaching agricultural knowledge to Somali peasants. 3. The inability of the Italian administration to provide Somali peasants with appropriate agricultural tools and machines. 4. The food production policy implemented by the Italians resulted in the importation of oil, millet and grain from Kenya, Egypt and even Italy, this being changed by the British since their takeover of administration in Somalia. 5. During the Italian period, according to a Vice-Regal Decree Somalis were forbidden to export local export crops. This policy also being reversed by the British, at the beginning of 1948 there were 200 Somalis engaged in the export-import trade, 80 of them in Mogadishu. He produced a copy of the decree and handed it over to the Commissioners.


4.5. Protest against the Italian takeover
On 5th October 1949 the SYL organized a great demonstration in Mogadishu against the decision of the United Nations in favour of an Italian Trusteeship for Somalia (Osman 2001:96). People carried banners expressing their opposition to the return of the Italian administration. Indeed, the decision of the UN ignored the demand of the SYL for either complete independence or a trusteeship of four nations (Britain, the United States, France and the Soviet Union), excluding Italy, under the United Nations. The demonstration took place on 7th October and although it was intended to be peaceful it generated into violence later known as dhagaxtuur ("Throwing stones"). Subsequently the British Administration forbade all political organizations and the police arrested the leaders of SYL. Some were imprisoned in Mogadishu and others were deported to rural areas. Haji Dirie, Mahmuud Maalinguur, Dahir Haji Osman and Mohammad Ottavio were sent to El Bur, north of Magadishu, where they were well received by the local population. When they came back to Mogadishu early in the year 1950, they were celebrated as national heroes. Nevertheless, there was a strong opposition between the anti- and pro-Italians. On 6th March, Haji Dirie and Musa Boqor were waylaid and stabbed in the streets of Mogadishu by a group of adherents of Italy, one of whom was later convicted of assault.
     When the Italians took over the administration in April 1950, they could only rely on a few organized people. The SYL was in opposition and therefore the Italians had to reckon with a national opposition that watched their dealings carefully.


4.6. Attitude towards the Italian administration
In 1950 the Italian Trusteeship Administration (AFIS) took over responsibility for Somalia from the British authorities. According to Lewis, the arrival of the Italians had the character of a military occupation (Lewis 2002: 140). The Italians began to dismiss most of the Somalis who had achieved responsible positions in the civil service under the British. In particular most of the police officers were arrested and imprisoned and kept in jail for months without being informed of the charges against them. They were finally sentenced to terms of imprisonment with hard labour ranging from one to five years (Pankhurst 1951: 440). Some notables like Haji Dirie, well known for his anti-Italian attitude, were also put in jail. The Italians did their utmost to discredit the strength and popularity of the League. In particular they accused its prominent members of being spies for the former British administration (Pankhurst 1951: 434). The AFIS administration was only able to impose such draconic measures because it exploited the latent hostilities between Somali groups, and in particular the hostility between the Daarood and the Hawiye. The Abgal and the Mirifle, united in the so-called Somalia Conference organization (Hizbia Digil-Mirifle - HDM), welcomed the return of the Italians, hoping that the new colonial overlords would reverse the supposed pro-Daarood policy of the British (Castagno 1964: 525). At that point the Daarood leaders in Mogadishu, including Haji Dirie, insisted that they would return north to “their own territory” (Majertenia) if the administration did not reverse its “anti-Daarood” policy (Castagno 1964: 525).
In spite of these conflicts, the SYL accepted to cooperate to some extent with the AFIS. Their delegation met the Italian Chief Administrator, Giovanni Fornari, on April 17, 1950, two days after the official ceremony with the traditional leaders. Haji Dirie and Musa Boqor were among them (Mukhtar 1988, 78-79). The AFIS established a Territorial Council composed of 35 members, most of whom belonged to political parties such as SYL and HDM. In the long run, the members of the Territorial Council became the leading Somali politicians.
Haji Dirie did not belong to the Territorial Council and therefore his political influence began to decrease at the beginning of the Italian period. He was, however, active in several advisory councils. In 1949 he was the only Somali affiliate to the Economic Council headed by Alberto Mazzi. He was one of the nine members of the Boad of Construction (Corriere 13-21/8/49). In 1951 the AFIS established the Consiglio Economico della Somalia, which was composed of four principal sections comprising 14 offices. In March, Haji Dirie became a member of the Office of Importation and Exportation. This office was composed of nine members, of which Haji Dirie was the only Somali (Corriere 22/3/52).


4.7. Non-participation in self-government
Self-government in Somalia began in 1956. People expected Haji Dirie to take a prominent position as a political leader. He refused, thereby depriving himself of opportunities which others obtainedand used to favour their own people. During the period when political positions were important for general influence, the distribution of jobs and other opportunities, he was glad not to be involved in what he sensed would lead to corruption. He was still one of the great leaders, but others pushed themselves into the forefront by their greater influence in terms of followers and clientage. When the preparations for independence created new opportunities in terms of power and influence, heremained a businessman. He continued to work, to promote ideas and to advise, but others became more prominent. All this contributed to the eclipse of his name in historical writings, which have been more concerned with official positions than with de facto leadership. Only insiders knew how much he continued to influence Somali politics.


4.8. Facing the tribal issue
Early during his career, Haji Dirie was closely involved in affairs with the Majerteen and thus became a close friend of Boqor Usman. After his arrival in Mogadishu he therefore tried to help the Daarood in their attempts to settle in Mogadishu as the capital of the whole country. With growing political awareness he understood the danger of clanism for Somalia.
As a leading member of the Somali Youth League, Haji Dirie adopted an anti-tribalist attitude. It was well known that all members of the SYL swore an oath that they would neglect their clan affiliation and give absolute priority to their national identity. From that moment onward they tried to be exclusively Somali and to repress their clan identity as much as possible. This attitude became public when Somali elders complained to the members of the tripartite UN Advisory Council about the practice of the Italian administrators of asking people about their clan affiliation. A prominent member of the SYL, Mohamud Faccia, wrote in the New Times and Ethiopia News (1/7/1950): "Britian encouraged the people to think in terms of one word, Somali, whereas the Italians now do everything to replant the tribal divisions in the minds of the people. Every Somali is obliged to give not only his name, but his tribe and subtribe." (Pankhurst 1951: 435).
After independence many Somali politicians began to forget their former oath and favoured their clansmen over others. In 1960 the Prime Minister, Abd al-Rashid Shermake, proposed that Haji Dirie should become a minister. He refused the offer by pointing out that it had become common pratice to give positions according to tribal considerations. He was of the opinion that positions should be given by merit and not by clan membership. He thought that education was the best instrument to fight tribalism.
In Haji Dirie's house there was an atmosphere of urbanity which made thinking in terms of clan origins irrelevant. The children heard about such issues only from relatives arriving from the countryside. A good example of Haji Dirie's anti-tribalist attitude is his reaction to a question put by his son Bashir during the 1967 presidential election.The choice was between the incumbent president, Aden Abdulle from the Hawiye, and Abdul Rashid Ali from the Daarood. Bashir, who at that time was sixteen years old, wanted to know from his father who was the winner. He therefore asked: "Did we or did they win?" The father was furious at this expression of clanism and punished him. He told him that he should never distinguish between "us" and "them" on the basis of clan membership. He insisted that we were all Somalis and that the more qualified candidate should win. He adopted the same anti-clanic attitude in all other circumstances, knowing very well how destructive clanism could be for the nation.
 
 
5. DEMOCRATIC PERIOD OF INDEPENDENCE: AN ADVISORY ROLE IN THE BACKGROUND

5.1. Concentration on business

At the time of the rise of official Somali leadership, Haji Dirie remained in the background. He felt that his concentration on business would be more effective than any purely political activity. He therefore never accepted any official position in either the SYL or, after independence in 1960, in the government. After having gained commercial experience in the export-import sector, he joined the Italo-Somali Agricultural Company when it was opened up by the British to Somali membership. At first he only held shares in the company, but later he became a leading member of its administrative council. By his own initiative he set up a soap factory, a factory for producing sesame oil, a factory for ice and a  printing company, complementing two earlier printing companies. He also became the president of the important salt pan at Jazira, which produced salt for southern Somalia and exported it to other East African countries.

 
5.2. Concern for public issues
When there was a drought, Haji Dirie helped his people in Galkayo and Garowe in the north of Somalia. He also organized support when there were inundations in Jamaale and Merka in the south for the people whom he knew. He sent his trucks loaded with bags of maize and rice and tins of oil for distribution in the places he was familiar with. When the situation was very critical, other wealthy traders joined him in the effort to alleviate the hardship of the people whom he knew.

He also regularly supported poor families who asked for his help because they were facing material difficulties. Every Friday before the midday prayer, some poor people came to his office where the secretary gave each person ten shillings as alms. Once a year, he paid his Zakat to poor relatives and acquaintances. Moreover, he helped his close relatives and in particular those in the countryside when they were in need. If they had children he encouraged them to send their children to school so that they might improve the lives of their families.
 
Helping gifted individuals
Ice blocks free of charge for people mourning.
Reading of newspapers and the Quran, no novels.


6. SIYAD BARRE'S RULE: SILENT OPPOSITION
 
6.1. A business man under the socialist regime
After the seizure of power by Siyad Barre in 1969, commercial affairs suffered from state interference. Haji Dirie's enterprises were seriously affected by central control. In particular the Textile Company had to pay taxes. Haji Dirie and the other shareholders closed the factory because of the heavy charges. Thus, an important attempt at local industrialization was brought to an end by the socialist government's obstruction of private enterprise.
           Towards 1971 Haji Dirie became unable to continue his import-export business because government agencies took over this kind of private enterprise. At the same time, the two existing private printing presses, the one belonging to Haji Dirie and the other to the Catholic Mission, were nationalized. His other enterprises, like the factory for ice and the salt pan, continued to function privately.
Meanwhile, the prime minister, Mohamed Egaal, appointed him as political advisor of the Central Bank. He assumed that function for two years, from 1967 to 1969, until the military coup by Siyad Barre.


6.2. Dwindling influence in politics
Although Haji Dirie did not have any public office, he did not conceal his criticism of the socialist regime: he disapproved the nationalization of private enterprises, the mismanagement of state affairs, the tribal basis of power and the ideology of scientific socialism. Through his many contacts with important people, he remained an important eminence grise who actively followed public affairs. Insiders remember that he intervened personally by meeting the President in order to obtain revocation of the execution order against three high officials accused of planning to overthrow the government: Muhammad Ainanshe Guled, Salad Gabeyre Kidiya and Abdulkadir Abdulleh (Dheel). This intervention failed, the three were executed on 3rd July 1972, and from now on violent repression of political opposition became the rule. Haji Dire himself was threatened with imprisonment. Siyad Barre, however, acted personally as his protector by letting his entourage know that during his rule he should never be touched. Possibly this protection was not only the result of his former political activity but also of some personal service before his rise to power. Even the revolutionary guards (guulwade), who were very intrusive in the lives of normal people, finally respected the privacy of his house. His business affairs suffered increasingly from state interference, but he himself remained in an honorable position as a much respected fighter for independence, economic welfare and educational progress.


6.3. Private life
Haji Dirie had friends whom he met regularly. Among them wasthe Italian businessman, Nazari, who lived first in Mogadishu and later in South Africa. Haji Dirie regularly read two Arabic newspapers and the national daily Hidigta October.


6.4. The family
He had a large family. His financial means made it possible for him to send most of his children, boys and girls, to study abroad. His preferred country was Egypt but most of his children studied in Europe and America: Italy, France, Netherlands, England and the USA.
On the whole, he was very tolerant and encouraged his children, especially the boys, to have their own opinion but also to pray in the appropriate times, to lean hard at school and to take their responsibilities. With respect to the girls he was less demanding but he gave them the same educational opportunities as the boys. 

There are three children from the earlier marriages:
* Abdullahi (Fatuma), born in 1930 was a car mechanic;
* Abdulaziz (Timiro), born in 1933 ???, studied architecture in Rome.
* Fatuun (Khadija), born in 1937, studied home economics in Mogadishu.

The children of Hawa Hirsi are:
* Saida, secondary school in Cairo, began Medical Studies in Bonn, Germany, and continued with English Literature in Jeddah and Cairo;
* Ahmed, learned printing at the Catholic Mission;
* Shamsa born in 1945, Arabic Literature in Paris and Comparative Literature in Bayreuth, Germany;
* Asha born in 1948, African Studies in New York;
* Habib born in 1950, Medical Studies in Bologna, Italy;
* Amina born in 1952, International Law in the USA;
* Kamar, born in 1955, Business Administration in Alabama and New York; * Abdisalam born in 1964, Electrical Engneering and Computer Science in George Mason, Fairfax, Virginia.

The children of Hawa Hoosh are:
* Mahmud, born in 1941, Law in Neuchâtel, Switzerland; * Abdulkadir, born in 1944, Economy in the Netherlands and in the USA; * Abdullah, born in 1946, Geology in Rome???
* Bashir, born in Elbur 1948, Medicine in Mogadishu;
* Tahir, born in 1949, Political Science, USA.
* Miriam, born in 1954, Nursing in Mogadishu;
* Omar, born in 1957, Economics at Lincoln, Missouri, USA.


7. DEPARTURE AND AFTERMATH
Haji Dirie died on May 18, 1976 in Bonn (Germany) after being flown out for medical treatment . The Somali section of the BBC in London announced his death and broadcast a special programme to recall his achievements during the Somali struggle for national  independence. He was buried in Mogadishu, following a well-attended public funeral.
 
 
8. DISPERSAL OF THE DESCENDANTS TO THE DIASPORA
* 1978, March: Shamsa left Mogadishu for Cairo (Egypt) to join Dierk who continued his post-doctoral research on African history.
* 1978, Oktober: Saida left Mogadishu with her family to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia because her husband Abdirahman had been offered a position at the Islamic Bank.
* 1979, December: Hassan left Mogadishu to join his mother in Cairo in order to continue his education first in an Egyptian school in Cairo and later in a boarding school in Alexandria (Egypt).
* 1984: Kamar left Mogadishu to continue her studies in the United States for a Master's Degree.
* 1987, November: Hawa Hersi Nur left Mogadishu with Ayaan and Idyl to join Kamar in Washington who had finished her Master's Degree.That was the last time that Hawa had seen Mogadishu.
* 1991, January: Habib left Mogadishu under dramatic circumstances after the town had been taken by the opposition forces and fortunatelly could reach Kenia whence he came to Damascus and finally to the United States.
 
 
Sources: Abdallah Farah, former official of FAO (oral information 2008).
Ali, Salah Mohamed (2005), Huddur and the History of Southern Somalia, Cairo.
Castagno, A. A. (1964) “Somali Republic”, in: James S. Coleman, and Carl G.
Rosberg, Political Parties and National Integration in
      Tropical Africa, Berkeley,  512-559.
Dower, K. C. Gandar (1944), The First to be Freed, London.
Habib Haji Dirie, son of Haji Dirie (oral information 2009).
Hearing (1948) Ninth Hearing in Italian Somaliland, National Archives, Washington, CTM/D/L/4//I.C.COM.
Laitin, David (1977), Politics, Language, and Thought, Chicago.
Lewis, I. M, (2002) A Modern History of the Somali, 4th ed., Oxford.
Mukhtar, M. H., (1988) "The emergence and role of political parties in Somalia", Ufahamu 17, 1, 75-95.
Osman, Haji Abdiwahid (2001), Somalia: A chronicle of the Historical docuements, 1827-2000, Gloucester. Pankhurst, E. S., (1951) Ex-Italian Somaliland, London.
 
Shamsa Haji Dirie and Dierk Lange