ISBN: 9781569020227
In Daybreak is Near...: Literature, Clans and the Nation-State in Somalia, Ali Jimale Ahmed examines the role literature has played in the modern Somalia society of the past half century. The writer examines Somalia literature, both written and oral, to trace the development of Somalian nationalism, as well as seek explanations for the disintegration of the post-colonial Somalia nation-state. In the tradition of Edward Said, Ali Jamale Ahmed tells us that "the literary text does not only describe existing conceptions of society, but it also captures key events in Somalia history in their inchoate forms. As such, the literary text, as Belinsky states, can be read as the pulse of the nation's inner life.'" Dr. Ahmed demonstrates his perspective with unparalleled mastery and skills by citing numerous evidence from diverse sources such as Somalia prose fiction, Nuruddin Farah's novels, Somalia's theater and Somali poetic duels, touching also on the liberating role of orature and cassette culture in Somali society.

The author clearly shows in this book that the literary text is indeed "the pulse of a nation's inner life," and that a careful analysis and examination of Somali literature will lead towards an understanding of the current predicament of Somali society. As he puts it, "this study underlines the importance of the literary text in shedding light on the subtle and intricate nuances of Somali society. As such, the literary text does not only entertain, but also engages us in historiographical discourse."

In The Invention of Somalia (RSP 1995), which he edited and contributed to, Ali Jimale Ahmed extended a challenge to Somalia intellectuals to rise up to the occasion with these words: "The only way to break out of [the current] vicious cycle is to initiate a politics of emancipation in which the combatants go through the clan system but emerge on the other side ready and empowered to imagine a just society." In response to his own challenge, Dr. Ahmed initiates a rigorous dialectical discourse in this important new book on Somalia literature and politics. This book will not only have a lasting and positive impact in the study of comparative literature in Africa but, more importantly, it will contribute immensely to the current debate within Somalia community, as the nation struggles to find a way out of its current tragedy. 

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