Every year the management of the Hargeysa International Book Fair choose a theme to address throughout our multi-cultural event, which also serves to gather all of our disparate activities. Last year’s theme was JOURNEY which also featured in our magazine DHAXALREEB; as for this year, we have chosen the theme of the IMAGINATION. Why? Let us say from the outset that although we are so bountifully blessed with such an enormous corpus and cultural wealth, the majority of people living on our planet are still unable to use their IMAGINATION and appreciate the miraculous historical evolution through which humanity has traversed over the past few millennia. Pitiably, most of us are among those the great German poet Goethe defined as ‘Any one who cannot draw from the past three thousand years, must be living from hand to mouth.’ Amidst the incalculable riches filling the world, there are millions of people over the continents who go hungry and homeless and to whom hand watches, mobile phones, and cars are unthinkable luxuries. We wonder if the well off can really IMAGINE their plight.

 Like memory and intelligence, the IMAGINATION is a natural faculty of the human mind. It is, indeed, one of the most important faculties capable of growth and development and without which our lives would have been rendered dreary and meaningless. We can safely say that almost all the baffling achievements enjoyed by humanity today had but barely a century before been perceived as totally incredible. They have come true thanks to our creative IMAGINATION coupled with the fascinating journeys of scientific explorations that continue to this day.

 Coming back to our main concern, the launching the Hargeysa International Book Fair, we believe that the radical transformation of our people begins with morphing our rich oral tradition into a well-sustained culture, based on reading and writing. This we hold as an essential requisite that would eventually enable our people, mainly the young generation, to have access to the various fields of knowledge and thus keep abreast of their dynamically advancing world and contribute to its on-going development. This measure, as can be seen, definitely entails a long process demanding collective work, dedication, endurance and relentless strife; but first and foremost it requires a creative IMAGINATION. That is why we are always keen to invite likeminded colleagues from the African continent and beyond, particularly those engaged in the field of literature, art and culture in order to cooperate in our common endeavours and exchange experiences beneficial to the progress of our respective societies.

 Realities are stranger than fantasies: Through continual toil, study and knowledge can we harness the wildest dreams of the IMAGINATION into stark realities. The world around us bears witness to this, including the simple mobile phone and computer set linked to the satellite station in outer space. Who would have thought, including even the most optimistically visionary black American, that within a few decades from Martin Luther King’s spellbinding address ‘I HAVE A DREAM’ to the crowds in Washington in 1963, a Barak Obama would be ceremoniously escorted to the White House as the reigning President of the world’s most powerful nation on earth, the USA. But having said this, make no mistake that that dream of the great humanist Martin Luther King still remains to be far from being realised. On the contrary, all the ills in his lifetime he so vehemently condemned, are still rife and rampant in his boastful country. Creative IMAGINATION remains nonetheless all- important.

 Moving to a completely different sphere, but maintaining the same dauntless spirit, we can IMAGINE that the unsafe, insecure treacherous wild plains that are today inhabited by hapless Somalis in the God forsaken regions in the Horn of Africa would be, not before long, seething with amazing prosperity inviting millions of tourists the world over, and becoming at the same time the most ideal site for space crafts equipped with all facilities for passengers bound for the other planets of Mars and further afield.

 Likewise, we can also globally IMAGINE our future children being born immunised and totally free from such deadly diseases as malaria, meningitis, leukaemia, aids, cancer etc and enjoying their entire lives to the fullest potential without worrying about ill-health and the scourge of mental impairment and physical deformity.

 So, let our motto for this year 2014 be: ‘Set Your Imaginations Free, Higher Still, And Still Higher’.