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Scattered throughout the face of the Globe "Why Somalis are not willing to go back to their homeland?" "Why Somalis choose homelessness over home
THROUGHOUT THE FACE OF THE GLOBEBy Ali Osman Elmi
I have met a lot of criticism from my previous articles: "A Roundtable with Ethiopia and Why is Somali media silent". So I decided to write an Article that I believe many people will agree with me because it is a National problem and the reader will not be able to accuse me of bias, as this is a universal Somali experience. I also avoided reaching a conclusion in this article, as this is a national problem that needs a political solution.
I am haunted and consumed by the questions "why Somalis are running away from their homeland?" " Why Somalis are not willing to go back to their homeland?" " Why Somalis choose homelessness over home " "Why Somalis can't solve their own internal problems?" I was 16 years old when my older brother put me in a plane headed to Sweden and I was transit to Germany. I did not knew at the time where I was going but I was some how thinking it will be great adventure and ticket to a better life. I was caught in Frankfurt Airport. When the police officer took my hand and told me I am carrying a stolen Kenyan Passport and even worse a forged passport. I declared I am a refugee running away from prosecution and torture.
I was put in a refugee camp for three long years without permit to study or to work. I requested that I should be flown back to my Homeland Somalia but that was declined because of my previous statements of fear of prosecution and torture. What about this young man who thought he will study in a foreign university and live a better life. Remember I was 16 years old who finished high school and now I am 19 years old in a German Refugee Camp. The only thing I was allowed to do was to play table tennis with other refugees from Kurdish, falastinians and Romanians.
I was not allowed to go to school. The only language class allowed was to learn German from the Caritas (Kaniisad) and they discusses Jesus (Ciise Masiix). Well I go to the Caritas to learn few German words so that I can buy bread and milk. There are quite a number of Somalis in the Caritas who also attend the classes. This includes Safiya young Somali women with 7 children; 4 boys and 3 girls. I spoke with Safiya one day and she told me she come from United Arab Emirate where her husband is very successful businessman. I asked why have you come here? She said why do you come here? I said I thought I would have a better life. She said so do I and our conversation ended. Few weeks have passed since I met Safiya and her 7 children. The refugee board told me I have been transferred to a new camp called Nurtingen. I took my little possessions and left the next morning for Nurtingen. This camp was better in living condition but there were no Somalis. The only Muslim living in Nurtingen was a Sudanese who used drugs and have a German girl friend. I went to his place one time and the smell was very strong so I left and never come back. After 4 months I met a very good Afghan man, who was very good and talked about Islam and we become friends. One day he told me he met a Somali women with a lot of children and she was with a Rastafarian man from Burkino Faso. I told him I want to see her. We went to the refugee houses asking a Somali women with a lot of children. A Romanian refugee pointed his finger over that house in your left and we knocked her door she opened and as I feared this was Safiya.
She told me she has been here for 4 weeks and found no Somali the only person close to Somali was the Raasta Man from Burkina Faso. She told me her children started going school and she has a major problem the Christian Missionaries started to visit her quite often and some of her children the 2 older boys started to change their name to Bernard from Abdullah to Herbert from Yahya. I felt sad and wondered what their future would be. I suggested to her to go back to UAE but she refused.
I told her you need to hang on to your children and never let them go with the Christians. Also I told her that Naveed and I will take the children to the park so that the Christians could not get the time to take children on the weekend. She agreed but I knew this could not be maintained for long as I was preparing my exit from Germany in 2 months.
This is the Catastrophe of a Nation that scattered throughout the face of the globe. But even "catastrophe" cannot come close to accurately defining the true context and meaning of an National problem that has devastated so many Somali lives, paralyzed Somali culture, and incarcerated our Somalian future.
This is a great tragedy that is incomprehensible to any single human being. It is a national nightmare and the existence of non-existence; the presence of being absent; moving forward with no movement; achieving without real achievement.
Somalis today are in a state of perpetual suffering, caught between the beauty of what could have been and the tragedy of what is.
Somalis are a people who share one religion, culture, geography and language. They are people who are related in intermarriages and bloodlines. They are people who share one and the same destiny. Given all that God given bounties as Somalis, we are constantly fighting a battle within ourselves, where even the greatest essence of achievement is overshadowed by the insurmountable and everlasting reminder of our national debacle. It constrains even the most promising of conscious individual success with the pain of our collective failure.
We Somalis can never really comprehend the real cost and loss of Safiya's 7 children. They were a Somali children after all and they were Muslims (for example Abdullah and Yahya) what could they be today God forbid with Bernard and Herbert.
I often try to imagine what has really been stolen from me by living in Diaspora? And, I have difficulty visualizing in the vastness of my mind the true meaning of that loss.
Sometimes, it is a nightmare among my own people, divided by internal tribalism and divergent goals. Drowning in empty rhetoric. Smothering in shortsighted vanity. I did not choose to live in America. I was cast there in the backwash of collective migration.
As I walk past the poverty stricken, poor souls who in their aimlessness beg for alms on the streets of America, the foreign land where my existence has found itself, I wonder who really is the homeless one? Him or me?
Even though I reached my goal and become an Engineer working for reputable company, I feel emptiness, pain and longing for justice, united and prosperous Somalia.
No matter where I am in life, or what I become in my career, there is a black emptiness in my heart that pulls at me and tells me to come home.
You must have asked your self why not come home. Well this is exactly what I was expecting you will ask. Do you remember the questions I asked at the beginning of this article? I am haunted and consumed by the question "why Somalis are running away from their homeland?" " Why Somalis are not willing to go back to their homeland?" " Why Somalis choose homelessness over home " "Why Somalis can't solve their own internal problems?"
Well here is the answer to all these questions. Somalis do not understand at all or do not understand fully the concept of sacrifice. It seems most nations Muslims or non-Muslims understand one way or another this concept that without a sacrifice there will be no life worth of living.
Let us consider few facts here, United States of America is leading the world in material and money because of the sacrifices they put forward. They spent millions of lives and billions of money to maintain their lead over other nations. It could be said they very well understood the concept of sacrifice. You have to be prepared to give your money, mind, and your life for what you believe in. Ask your self would you die for defending your country people and religion? Think about it. Would you pay all your wealth to defend it and eat water and few dates (timir) for months and months?
Would you forget or forgive your personal agenda for the good of the country. Would you leave your family and belongings and go to a country you have never seen before for the sake of your people and defense of your country?
The answer of the most Somali people is no or their action are manifestations of the no. That is precisely why we will not have a country. When we see the slightest danger we flee from our country because we don't like to sacrifice only few of us will sacrifice to stay behind to work between people and make peace. But we see differently when we see other nations. We see Americans sacrificing their children in the Streets of Mogadishu because they see an interest for going there.
We see Turks commandos going deep in Africa to capture OCALAN a Terrorist and Communist Secessionist. We see Israelis doing covert operations in Europe and in Middle East. We see Philippians fighting for their rights and never letting their dream die. We see people from Kosovo going back to their country by the thousands while they can stay America and blend with the white folks.
We find the history many Jews migrated to Falastine knowing they will put them selves in danger and trying to capture land from the sleeping Falastinians and we see today what their sacrifice did for them. They took the land of the falastine and are passing laws that will prohibit a falastinian to go back to Falastine.
Well my question is a sacrifice a learned quality or inborn quality? Well it is a learned quality as this verse from the Quran tells us:
"By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you give (freely) of that which you love; and whatever you give, of a truth Allah knows it well" (3:92).
"Those who believe and work righteous deeds, from them shall We blot out all evil (that may be) in them, and We shall reward them according to the best of their deeds" (29:7).
So, imagine the greatest sacrifice--one's life. It as a large reward. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "No one who enters Paradise will want to come back to the world and have anything on the earth except the martyr. He will wish to return to the world and be killed ten times because of the honour he sees" (Bukhari and Muslim).
In order to receive great honour and lasting rewards, we must be willing to sacrifice whatever we can and whatever we love the most. Each person does what his capacity allows him, and Allah knows each of us best. We should trust in Allah and constantly remember Him through various ways of worship. This will make us stronger. Once we give up the useless and time-wasting nonsense that exists in the world, and we worship Allah more and more, then we'll find a strength and a "power" that will help us to complete our duty to Allah and bring our nation and people from their abyss. For Allah says, "Whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy Hand-hold that never breaks" (2:256).
The issue that is in front of us is very clear we have to choose to sacrifice our lives, our money, our energy to redeem our religion, dignity, country and people. If we fail to do that, then be warned we will be divided in to mini-states and then the existent of Somalis as we know it will vanish.
If we understand what sacrifice really means and we act upon it. Then as a Somalis we can redeem our nationhood. However, if we continue to flee from our country the slightest danger be it war or economic then we will become a people that are inactive and once we become inactive you will be acted upon.
We must be vigilant and very careful about the events that are taking place in Somalia as well as the actions of our own people. Since the collapse of the Somali regime there was no one single Somali initiative to bring peace and civility to Somalia. All of the Somali initiatives has been taken or forwarded by other people such as Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, USA, UN and so on. We are people acted upon as you can see. To act yourself you need to sacrifice and it is lucking unfortunately.
We need to wakeup before we are told to wakeup as our brothers in Falastine. There are 70 million people with out a port in our doorstep and we are about 10 million and three may be outside, with a government and strong army they are already a formidable enemy imagine with out a government and tribalism what the odds may be?