HARGEISA – Somaliland’s representative to the UAE, Hassan Yasin Hirad, defended a bizarre video of him ‘commemorating’ Saudi national day, and his presidential family ties, in separate interviews with Bulsho TV earlier this month.
On October 11th, Hirad was questioned by Bulsho TV about the video he recorded of himself last month. Hirad filmed himself standing alone in silence, while the Saudi national anthem played in the background.
Hirad was ridiculed by many Somalilanders after the video began to surface on social media, and was heavily criticized for ‘lacking knowledge on diplomatic protocol and training’.
Hassan defend the video to Bulsho TV, arguing that honouring a national anthem in silence is ‘a another form of diplomacy’.
“We have very close relations with Saudi Arabia. People often believe diplomacy only consists of meeting with government officials and diplomats. That is not the case,” Hirad said.
“My staff and I played the Saudi national anthem in honour of Saudi national day for one minute and a half. We also sent a congratulatory letter to the Saudi government and informed them about the celebrations of Saudi national day in Somaliland” Hirad said.
When asked about the public’s scathing response to the video, Hirad said it’s part of Somaliland’s democracy – but also voiced his displeasure on the issue.
“We are a democratic society and people have a right to state their opinion. I did however see some nasty responses from some people – but that’s their prerogative. I know I’m not a bad person,” Hirad said.
Three days later on October 14th, Hirad sat down with Bulsho TV once again, this time to denounce his critics and set the record straight on how he landed his position.
Hirad was previously an elementary school teacher in the UAE, prior to his appointment in August 2018.
Hirad is also the nephew of President Bihi’s elder wife, and the son of President Bihi’s brother-in-law.
When asked whether his paternal aunt had a hand in his appointment, Hirad responded with harsh words for his critics and the Somaliland public as a whole.
“This question proves how small-minded our people are in the first place. Those who are educated enough know that both of the President’s wives have no influence over the President’s decisions and appointments,” Hirad said.
“It is also absolutely disrespectful to even talk about the President’s wives. I was appointed to this position due to my perseverance, intelligence, and Allah’s will,” Hirad said.
Hirad then oddly contradicted himself seconds later, and insulted Somaliland’s former President’s and their families.
“We (Somalilanders) are all related somehow. However, familial ties shouldn’t help you land a government position. If Somaliland’s previous administrations used to operate that way – I believe this administration is different,” Hirad said.
Hirad then went on to directly address his critics, and compared them to individuals with intellectual disabilities.
“If the youth of our nation – that I expected a lot more from – are mocking me in public places, then they are no different than the mentally challenged, Hirad said.
This is a developing story. Please check back at The National for more.