Ephemeral tragedy


I’ve noticed that the Somali diaspora, especially the under-30’s, are divided into two factions; those who don’t like to think about what happened to their country of origin or why it’s still almost three decades later, and those who are heavily vested in the politics. I’ve been a part of the two camps at several points in my life, so I understand their standing points. For those who numb themselves, it’s like what people do when they hear about humanitarian crisis in Central Africa or the disappearing habitat of the polar bears  – they shut down because they are overwhelmed by the implications of what they are seeing, and right now they’ve got one too many bills to pay and figuring out a life that is only valid from Friday evening- Sunday evening. How is one to deal with problems on a macro level when the micro problems have proven to be too much?

The other camp is very rowdy and it’s abuzz with life. There’s always a convention, a blog, a video, an article going on calling out for something to be done about an issue. Sometimes these efforts accrue in modest success, but it often falls flat and becomes tangled up in a bunch of perfectionistic red tape.

Of course, there’s the favourable middle ground where effort and intrinsic motivation meet. But the point that I was getting to was the second camp in the Somali diaspora and how their zealousness crushes through the barriers that need to be carefully peeled back.

It’s all too easy to tell the people who live in Somalia and who have done so ever since the Civil war; You’ve failed. You know nothing. You are incompetent. We know better. Now leave us to fix what you couldn’t. 

It’s easy to seethe with anger and frustration listening to the 9 p.m. BBC Somali news about yet another suicide blast in Mogadishu, or a famine in Baydhabo, and blame this on the people. It’s easy to use flawed humans and outdated traditions as scapegoats. It’s easy to do so because we don’t have to deal with the insecurities of a war-torn region. We don’t have to deal with a constant ringing of bomb blasts on a weekly basis. We don’t have to deal with PTSD being a common illness. We aren’t the ones that have to find order in disorder. We aren’t the ones forced to be resilient and try to thrive in a maelström of panic.

Very often, it becomes a power struggle and a way to fulfill unlived fantasies about grandeur and accomplishment. Many want to become ‘the’ person to bring order back to Somalia; ‘the’ person the world would give a standing ovation for having done what is so easily discernible from where we sit on our fancy leather sofas in Birmingham, in Ohio, in Stockholm, in Dubai. Though it might seem like a noble and altruistic aim, the ulterior motives soon seep through the banners held up for the world to see and disfigures it entirely. Soon it transforms it into the founding gremlins of the war; hatred,selfishness,envy,insensitivity.

Far fool ma dhaqdo.

That’s a Somali proverb that means that a finger cannot wash the face. Each finger is imperative, but one needs a hand to efficiently wash the face. Likewise, we need every nomad, every biibito– owner, every dugsi– student to repair a nation. To repair a nation, we must repair every thread in the collective fibre; we must mend every broken capillary that burst due to the wrenching heartache; we must arrange for a O+ blood transfusion ; Optimism+  . We must see everyone as significant in their own way.  Every person carries a thread, a piece of the puzzle. We must revive the flames of hope lodged in the embers of souls across the globe. It’s the tiny steps that are overlooked that eventually make the mile.


5 responses to Ephemeral tragedy

  1. “One world, one people.” That dream seems as far away as it did when I was a “hippie” back in the 1970s. Throughout the world… So. Much. Misery. It just makes you weep when you think about it.

    How do we go about getting people to see the value and walk the talk?


  2. I loved reading this blog! And as the writer says – we need optimist+. I feel Am it. An optimist not with the half full glass but with the overflowing glass. Every tragedy that is happening in our world today is the war that is happening inside the individual. When we try and face our shadows & stop running away from them – then and only then shall we stop the projections into our outer world! When we remember and rediscover the potential in us the world transforms itself. This is a reality – a testimony if you like in my case. When we reaffirm & trust who we truly are we become what we want to see in our world – and when this integrity returns the LIGHT in our action paves the path for others to follow – on their own accord. This article is a proof – keep writing for you are igniting the light. Thank you!

    PS: I am a mother of five who fled from the Somali civil War & I now reside in Australia. I am also an author – my book ‘A Resilient Life ‘ is my experience of the war & my integration journey into the new community.


    • Blues Fairy – Author

      WOW. I’m so glad you decided to reach out to let me know of your story. It gives me more confidence in what I’m doing since I often espouse things I haven’t seen others espouse so you kinda doubt yourself at times. It’s a lonely road but oh so rewarding. I added you on fb, hope to learn more about your experiences 😄


  3. Not very lonely if you don’t make it one. You write so beautifully and are an inspiration to many.. Allow that onboard and you’ll never feel lonely again – besides – someone like you with such beautiful & wonderful wise words is far from lonely – the words themselves are alive and journeying with you! I did not get a friend request – what name did you send the friend request under – I mean your name? Would love to be in contact & know a little bit more – I’m a fun already so looking forward to hear from you!


    • Blues Fairy – Author

      Aww you’re so incredibly kind 😄. Your words had me rethink a lot about my writings and this journey.. I hadn’t considered what influence I might have on others. My name’s Mulki Early on fb


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