Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Somalia's diaspora poets step into the mainstream

CNN)When Beyoncé dropped her album "Lemonade" in April last year, it blew up the Internet and went platinum around the world. But for Somali poets across the diaspora it symbolized the rise of their art into the mainstream.
Queen Bey interlaced her album with passages of poetry from Warsan Shire, a former Young Poet Laureate of London. A British-Somali poet now based in Los Angeles, Shire weaves together the frictions and contradictions of diasporic life and the pain of leaving your roots behind.
As she puts it in her poem "home": "No one leaves home unless / home is the mouth of a shark." She continues: "You only leave home / when home won't let you stay."
    Driven by a connection to a ravaged homeland and the search for self in unfamiliar surroundings, these sentiments underpin an entire generation of young millennial artists coming of age across the Somali diaspora right now.
    By using social media, they're taking back the narrative of their motherland and making it their own. Al-Shabaab headlines are being counterpointed with messages of community and hope.
    One quick search on YouTube throws up hundreds of videos of young poets talking about their connection to Somalia in Canadian, Swedish or US vernaculars, among many others. These videos reach tens of thousands of people around the world. Artists such as Canadian Hamda Yusuf use TED Talks to broadcast pithy opinions on modern identity, while teenagers rap on the streets of Minnesota lamenting "a loss of respect for their mothers' ways."
    British-Somali poet Farah Gabdon is a leading light of this poetry movement, performing for organizations such as the Finnish League for Human Rights and posting to thousands of online fans. In her late 20s, she was raised in England, yet inexorably is linked to her motherland.
    "The war destroyed a lot of Somali culture," Gabdon said. "Not just culture, but the expression of it.
    "I think it was very traumatic. They lost everything."
    Back in Somalia, Gabdon's grandfather was a poet and her dad was a published fiction writer. Then in 1991, the country became engulfed in civil war. More than half the population fled, including Gabdon's family. Poetry got left behind.
    But right now, something strange is happening. Members of the diaspora generation are starting to reconnect with their roots. They're starting to talk openly about the effect war and displacement has had on their art and their people's sense of self. Their work is questioning what it means to be a young Somali in 2016.
    "I think most of the writing from Somalis in the diaspora is about identity and connecting and finding a place where you fit in," Gabdon said.
    "It's my story, but I'm also aware that my story is the same as a lot of other people's," she said. "And I want to tell it in the best possible way through poetry."
    Faisal Salah is a 23-year-old British-Somali musician using art to explore his roots and identity. He's at the vanguard of this new wave of Somali poets creating an alternative narrative about their homeland.
    "When people see Somalia, we've got all this crap about us," Salah said. "Piracy, extremism, Al-Shabaab. Broken state, Black Hawk DownCaptain Phillips. All of these different things are how we're represented now.
    "But for me it's about the nation, the heart and the spirit of the people back home," he said. "Connecting to that, and preserving it in some ways -- it plays such a huge part of who we are."
    Like many Somali families, Salah's parents were granted asylum in west London. And like many, they found it hard to adjust. His mother tried to raise the family, while his father struggled to support them.
    By exploring his roots through his art, Salah started to find kindred spirits online. These days he performs before tens of thousands at concerts across Europe and in Australia and Indonesia.
    "I feel like there's something crucial about this time, in this globalized society," Salah said. "We (the diaspora) know we're not alone now, we can reach out to each other.
    "Our cultures and traditions are part of what have manifested us to this point," he said. "And I want to pay homage to it now. Because one day, it might not be here."
    I spoke with Gabdon and Salah as part of "Future Somalia," a documentary project I started to profile this phenomenon of resurgent Somali culture among the diaspora. We made a clutch of three short films and posted them on the artists' social networks.

    The intention was partly to show how Somali art helps form these artists' identities and partly as a clarion call to members of the diaspora to find out about and embrace their roots. The clips have currently reached more than 50,000 people across the diaspora globally. And they continue to be shared every day.
    The "Future Somalia" project aims to show that the idea of home isn't just about the four walls you live within, it's about the ability to express yourself. Art is a vital part of that, and that's what this new generation of Somali artists are starting to discover.
    In September, Salah posted a new video on Facebook. It's an honest account of his search for self through music and spoken word.
    In the post below his video, he embodied the sense of self-discovery these young artists are finding right now through their work.
    He wrote, simply:
    This space is mine.
    These experiences are mine.

    This expression is mine.
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    Ex-Somali Police Commissioner General Mohamed Abshir

    Ex-Somali Police Commissioner  General Mohamed Abshir

    Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater

    Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater
    Somalia army parade 1979

    Sultan Kenadid

    Sultan Kenadid
    Sultanate of Obbia

    President of the United Meeting with Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of the Somali Republic,

    Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

    Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

    Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire

    Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire
    Sultanate of Warsengeli

    Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre

    Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre
    Siad Barre ( A somali Hero )

    MoS Moments of Silence

    MoS Moments of Silence
    honor the fallen

    Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie

    Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre  and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie
    Beautiful handshake

    May Allah bless him and give Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan

    May Allah bless him and give  Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan
    Honorable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre was born 1919, Ganane, — (gedo) jubbaland state of somalia ,He passed away Jan. 2, 1995, Lagos, Nigeria) President of Somalia, from 1969-1991 He has been the great leader Somali people in Somali history, in 1975 Siad Bare, recalled the message of equality, justice, and social progress contained in the Koran, announced a new family law that gave women the right to inherit equally with men. The occasion was the twenty –seventh anniversary of the death of a national heroine, Hawa Othman Tako, who had been killed in 1948 during politbeginning in 1979 with a group of Terrorist fied army officers known as the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF).Mr Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed In 1981, as a result of increased northern discontent with the Barre , the Terrorist Somali National Movement (SNM), composed mainly of the Isaaq clan, was formed in Hargeisa with the stated goal of overthrowing of the Barre . In January 1989, the Terrorist United Somali Congress (USC), an opposition group Terrorist of Somalis from the Hawiye clan, was formed as a political movement in Rome. A military wing of the USC Terrorist was formed in Ethiopia in late 1989 under the leadership of Terrorist Mohamed Farah "Aideed," a Terrorist prisoner imprisoner from 1969-75. Aideed also formed alliances with other Terrorist groups, including the SNM (ONLF) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), an Terrorist Ogadeen sub-clan force under Terrorist Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess in the Bakool and Bay regions of Southern Somalia. , 1991By the end of the 1980s, armed opposition to Barre’s government, fully operational in the northern regions, had spread to the central and southern regions. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes, claiming refugee status in neighboring Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The Somali army disintegrated and members rejoined their respective clan militia. Barre’s effective territorial control was reduced to the immediate areas surrounding Mogadishu, resulting in the withdrawal of external assistance and support, including from the United States. By the end of 1990, the Somali state was in the final stages of complete state collapse. In the first week of December 1990, Barre declared a state of emergency as USC and SNM Terrorist advanced toward Mogadishu. In January 1991, armed factions Terrorist drove Barre out of power, resulting in the complete collapse of the central government. Barre later died in exile in Nigeria. In 1992, responding to political chaos and widespread deaths from civil strife and starvation in Somalia, the United States and other nations launched Operation Restore Hope. Led by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the operation was designed to create an environment in which assistance could be delivered to Somalis suffering from the effects of dual catastrophes—one manmade and one natural. UNITAF was followed by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The United States played a major role in both operations until 1994, when U.S. forces withdrew. Warlordism, terrorism. PIRATES ,(TRIBILISM) Replaces the Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre administration .While the terrorist threat in Somalia is real, Somalia’s rich history and cultural traditions have helped to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. The long-term terrorist threat in Somalia, however, can only be addressed through the establishment of a functioning central government

    The Honourable Ronald Reagan,

    When our world changed forever

    His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)

    His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)
    Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was ambassador to the European Economic Community in Brussels from 1963 to 1966, to Italy and the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] in Rome from 1969 to 1973, and to the French Govern­ment in Paris from 1974 to 1979.

    Dr. Adden Shire Jamac 'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.

    Dr. Adden Shire Jamac  'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.
    Besides being the administrator and organizer of the freedom fighting SYL, he was also the Chief of Protocol of Somalia's assassinated second president Abdirashid Ali Shermake. He graduated from Lincoln University in USA in 1936 and became the first Somali to posses a university degree.

    Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

    Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic
    Somalia

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