"Ugandans believe nothing good comes out of Uganda. We believe everyone else is good and we are just not good enough. We don't think much of our ability to do anything,” these were the opening remarks of Mr Opiyo Oloya at the launch of his book "Black Hawks Rising".
Like every Ugandan, Oloya says this was his mind-set in 2007 when he read that the UN Security Council had decided to send troops to Somalia which had been destroyed by war.
This inspired his writing of the book.
Before Mr Oloya was a writer, he was a reader, so he says.
Born in a small village, west of Gulu with no public library, Oloya had uncles who thought highly of books. They are the ones who cultivated the reading culture in him. He became so engrossed with reading that he forgot to cram for the primary seven exams which in his own words said “I failed twice.”
The MC, Ms Sarah Kagingo hailed the UPDF, which is the focus of the book and spoke extensively about what the army did for the Somalis. This is something the book reflects quite well and is something the author is quite passionate about.
"Uganda contributed the first ever contingent to AMISOM, we went there when everyone else had cold feet," he said.
The fear of someone coming out to tell the story different from how it had actually happened pushed Oloya to write the book after meeting Gen Edward Katumba Wamala.
"As Ugandans, the time has come to stop believing we can't do anything good. The work Uganda has done has been pivotal in changing Somalia. We need to learn to celebrate our successes. We must stop saying we can't do this or do that. We can, and we have." These were the author's closing remarks.
The deputy speaker of Parliament, Mr Jacob Oulanyah said,"Today's youth must be encouraged to read because there's so much to read and as it turns out, our lives depend on reading."
Black Hawks Rising, is a book that brings out in fine detail the role of the UPDF in bringing peace to Somalia. In the words of the author, "Uganda never wavered from the commitment it had made in 2004 to support Somalia and it was clear that Somalia is a better place because Uganda was there."
Copies of the book can be found in all branches of aristoc worldwide.
Who is the Oloya
Oloya is a Ugandan-born educator, author, broadcaster, music-lover and journalist, who is resident in Canada. He is the current Superintendent of Schools, York Catholic District School Board. Previously, he has served as the principal of Divine Mercy Catholic School, an elementary school in Vaughan, Ontario. He writes a weekly column for a local daily.