TALKING POINT By M. M. Afrah©
I do not want to leave you with
the impression that I am not against national (Homegrown) or international
terrorism and that all is well with the world. Far from it, it is just that
there has been so much happening closer to home that one has to place those
happenings in the balance with the occurrences on the international scale,
particularly when they effect us Somalis.
In a society in which you are
not treated equally there is no reason to believe in its values, care about
responsibilities of citizenship, and identify yourself with the principles and
dreams of your fellow citizens.
Calvin Coolidge, President of
the United States 1923—1929 wrote:
“Let the laws of the country proclaim to her
humblest citizen, performing the most menial task, the recognition that all men
are peers – the humblest with the most exalted – the recognition that all
work is glorified. Such is the path to equality before the law. Such is the
foundation of liberty before the law. Such is the sublime revelation of man’s
relation to man – democracy.”
President Coolidge examined the
questions of democracy, inclusion, exclusion and the need for the law
enforcement agencies and the judiciary to understand their responsibilities and
treat the little guy fairly and without discrimination or double standard.
Now, one of the nastiest
painful agony felt by many of us was to see refugees from the former eastern
block countries (former Yugoslavia) waved through with a red carpet under their
feet, and automatically granted landed status and little later citizenship to
pursue normal life, while Somalis who escaped from a large scale gruesome
conflict, life is far from normal, even after more than ten years in North
America. Some were even ordered deported back to war-torn Somalia, because they
could not produce papers establishing who they say they are. You don’t need a
crystal ball to know that a government ceased to exist in that country 12 years
ago. And a simple click on Google, the worldwide search engine, would tell
immigration and FBI officials, or anyone else, that there is no civil authority
or government in Somalia and that a brutal war is still raging there – no
files, no offices and no law. Nothing.
Visible minorities in the same
situation as the Somalis, things are grim, because the colour of their skins
happened to be brown or black Even Hindus and Sighs are suspected of being
Moslems from the Middle East. In Texas a Sigh gas station attendant was killed
in cold blood, because of his turban and long beard. Fellow passengers
manhandled another passenger on a commercial airliner, because they mistook him
for Osama bin Laden! The pilot landed the aircraft at the nearest airport where
FBI and airport security agents arrested and handcuffed the Sigh passenger. They
released him after they discovered that he was neither a Moslem nor of Middle
eastern origin. But the damage has already been done. He is now suing the
As you see, I could go on like
this ad infinitum, poking holes at the present witch hunt, reminiscent to the
Red Scare in the United States in the 1950s, when innocent people, like Charlie
Chaplin, one of the world’s most famous comedian, was accused of being a card
carrying member of the Communist Party. He died in exile in Switzerland at the
age of 83. But you know the score. It is all homeland security. And homeland
security it is. There was a time when I was investigated by the dreaded NSS in
Mogadishu for not knowing how to spell Marxism, Leninism, Scientific Socialism
and Communism. But that was Siad Barre’s heydays when he was courting the
When an angry white mob asked
the great African-American comedian, Dick Gregory, if he was a Commie
(Communist), he pulled his sweater over his head and said, “I can’t even
spell the word!”
Now, in this era of “global
war against terrorism”, I had my own problem of spelling the word. I often
confuse it with the word tourism! No offence intended.
The majority of the peace
loving Somalis were appalled, angry, disgusted and perplexed by the September 11
terrorist attacks on New York City, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania and the
Americans should be ashamed of victimizing innocent people under their
protection. Racial profiling has to be stopped and the people who call this
“unusual times” should know that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms never
ceased to apply & thou shalt honour, if that’s what it takes.
Is there a promise of hopeful
optimism for you inspite of the current political climate in North America?
I’ll leave that up to the individual reader to decide.
TO BE CONTINUED….
By M. M. Afrah©