when crossing the line is a good thing

i wrote this at the height of the Gaalkacyo conflicts this past summer that was reminiscent of the conflicts that foreshadowed the 1991 civil war. and indeed, many were afraid it’d boil over to the rest of the country. i thought it’d be a good reminder to come back to the points made as they are perennial lessons we’ll have to revisit as Somalis


I know how things get stirred up. Demons wake up. Pain bubbles to the surface. Chain reaction. I want to put a spoke in the conflict’s wheel.

I’m angry, but I’m letting the anger burn me instead of finding a way to project it on external causes or people.

This is a very complex situation, and it’s easy to pin it to one party or one cause. But it’s that easy way that has brought about an endless loop of trauma. Sometimes I think, is Somalia like the movie Groundhog Day where the main character played by Bill Murray found himself living the same day, February 2nd, over and over and over again.

He first reacts to being stuck waking up to the same day by wilding out: binge drinking, sleeping around, recklessness galore. But that becomes boring pretty fast. So he starts getting depressed and suicidal. He commits suicide. Only to wake up in the same day again. He commits suicide a couple of times more, in vain.

When he realizes that there’s no escaping this earthly purgatory, he starts putting his endless 24 hours to good use. He learns languages, playing the piano, eloquence. He starts noticing those around him and their needs. And for the first time he cares. He tries to help the homeless, aid people with their personal crises, and not be a bystander anymore.

This causes him to be the talk of town, and a woman who he has been desperately trying to get with to no luck finally pays note to his character transformation. They fall in love, and he decides he’ll be alright if he has to live in this endless loop forever, as long as he’s got her.
The next morning he wakes up to February 3rd! The endless loop has finally broken!

I feel that we are going to be stuck in this endless purgatory if we don’t stop taking to the same visceral reactions every time.


to the majeerteen: I know you’re furious and hurt and are probably thinking some angry things about hawiye. I’m really sorry that this has to happen. I’m truly sorry. However I plead with you, now is not the time to inflict more pain on yourself by loathing and generalizing hawiye ( to many daarood, any subclan of hawiye represents all of hawiye.hence my usage of hawiye instead of habargidir). I know that it’s tempting to pick up the stereotypes recycled for decades and use that to wall off from having to deal with hawiye ever again. I know it seems like the best solution. But all you’re doing is shutting pain IN your heart, and not letting the wounds air. You could shut down and be done with ‘them’. However, realize that how you react to this situation is within your control. Your anger doesn’t force you to make decisions. Reclaim your power from the toxic energy infused in these acts designed solely to infuriate and gain your anger.
Heal yourself by choosing to step away from the victim mindset that demands a scapegoat to take responsibility for your anger.

to the habargidir: I know you probably feel ‘they’ started it and that ‘they’ always play the victim. I got really upset when I heard the drone attacks, and despite the heavily biased version of events that reach each side, no innocent person deserves this. You don’t deserve to be marginalized or discriminated against. I know how Baraxley is often spoken about.

So I plead with you to have empathy. I plead with you to respond with putting aside justifications, and validating the pain and loss of INNOCENT people who had nothing to do with this long-standing and complex feud. I beg of you to not let ego prevent you from humbling yourself to the pain of your brethren. Seek out the objective truth of the situation.

Heal yourself by choosing to step away from the victim mindset that demands a scapegoat to take responsibility for your anger.

It’s not easy. It’s the most difficult thing any Somali is faced with. The wall of othering provides a buffer zone where one can feel relatively safe in the knowledge that bad things have a known source. It can be very traumatizing to go through endless trauma without having any control over the situation or knowing why things are happening. So we look for explanations to huddle behind. It provides temporary relief, but it keeps us stuck.

The worst conflicts and traumas contain the most depth and aptitude for resilience, strength, progress and healing.

I know because I’ve been at war with my PTSD, anxiety disorder, depression for years. And I tried it all- to wall myself off from the triggers, to repress my feelings, to act in anger, to give up hope. It was only when I realized that for good or bad this is my life and Allaah would not afflict me with something painful if it weren’t for a bigger purpose. So with that in mind, I started to face the darkness. I started to dig inside it, with the hopes of finding light. And that’s what I found.

I’ve learnt that inner turmoil isn’t something to fear, but it’s my soul’s way of crying. I’ve learnt that when I feel the urge to run away from myself, to forget what I’m feeling, that’s when I’m in the most need of keeping still and tuning into my internal whirlwind. And the darkness soon morphs into a vivid masterpiece of wisdom. I heal. I understand. I grow.

Never have I been harmed by facing the conflict.

And though my personal struggles are nothing compared to decades of war and trauma, I can only extend this to you, who is reading, in hopes that you can catch a break from the toxicity.

May Allaah heal our ailing hearts, our paining hearts, our conflicted constricted constrained confined confused hearts. May Allaah teach us about love and mercy. allaahumma aamin.

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