Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Swedish delegation seeks answers to Somali success

by Laura Yuen, Minnesota Public Radio October 20, 2010 LISTEN Embed | Help
Minneapolis — The entrepreneurial success of the Somali-American community might be taken for granted in the Twin Cities, but not in Sweden.
In the past five years alone, Somali Minnesotans have established about 1,500 businesses, according to local estimates. That figure is nearly incomprehensible in Sweden, where the Somali community is largely struggling and out of work.
The tale of these two communities raises an obvious question: Why do so many Somalis in the United States seem to be thriving, while their counterparts in Sweden continue to languish?
This week, a Swedish delegation of government officials and scholars is touring Minneapolis to find the answer.
Fresh off their charter bus, a couple dozen Swedes gather in the parking lot of Karmel Plaza, one of several malls in Minneapolis where most of the customers and shopkeepers are Somali.
With cameras in hand, the visitors huddle around Jamal Hashi, the owner of the nearby Safari Express restaurant and creator of the camel-on-a-stick concoction at this year's Minnesota State Fair. Hashi, who is 28, is sporting oversized sunglasses and a Ralph Lauren puffy vest. The sun is pouring down on him. But the almost scientific curiosity from his Swedish visitors is just as intense.
One man from the city of Gothenburg is clearly impressed with all the businesses in Minneapolis, and a bit envious.
"So why can't we do that in Gothenburg? So yes, tell me why," he says.
Hashi tells the Swedes that he's been to their country to visit family. Some of his most educated relatives are on welfare.
"And what they tell me is that it's hard for them to begin. Just getting a drivers license was a process," Hashi says.
Then a Somali-Swedish woman pipes up from the crowd. "What was your impression when you met us Somali people in Sweden? Be honest."
Hashi hesitated, choosing his words carefully. "I had some family members who were living there for 20 years, and I asked them, 'Why is it that you can't build your own business?' I see them hanging out at the cafes. And one cousin of mine said to me that he felt like his dreams were impossible to reach, like a fly trapped in a wine glass turned upside down. So you can only see it, but you can't reach it."
Heads in the crowd begin to nod.
Swedish economists are concerned that if Somali refugees fail to integrate, they may become a permanent underclass in that country. The delegates say they traveled all the way to Minnesota to see for themselves that it doesn't have to be that way.
Their hosts are with the African Development Center, a Minneapolis lender that trains refugees how to run small business.
Inside Karmel Mall, the storekeepers are a fascinating case study. Stall after stall, Somali women are the ones selling scarves and perfumes. In Sweden, about 80 percent of Somali women aren't working.
One of the visitors, Stockholm city councilor Rahma Dirie, said she is taking in the success stories with an amount of pride. Dirie is Somali herself, and she says many Swedes are puzzled by the Somali community because they don't have as long of a history with immigrants.
"It's difficult for them. They think they're different people, they don't know how to act, they don't know how to integrate," she said.
But she said Swedish government officials and others who work with refugee resettlement are willing to learn. "The fact that they are here, to see what you have done, is a big step," she said.
Somalis in the United States are believed to be employed at twice the rate of those in Sweden. Although the Scandinavian country has long prided itself on having a generous welfare system, many believe that safety net isn't helping Somalis become self-sufficient.
"The people are stuck," said Hussein Samatar, who heads the African Development Center. "If you've been told to sit around, after a while you get used to it. And there's no incentive to participate."
Delegate Benny Carlson, an economic history professor at Lund University, was so intrigued by the successes of Somali Minnesotans that he came here in 2005 and wrote a book about it. He said the Somalis who settled Sweden have similar educational levels to those in the United States, but it's tougher for them to land jobs in his country because of stiff regulations. Carlson said even a janitor must be able to write reports in Swedish.
"So if you're more or less illiterate, it's completely hopeless to get into the labor market," Carlson said. And, he says, Sweden offers fewer jobs in the service industry.
"It's a very common saying among politicians: 'We don't want McDonald's jobs here in this country.' So that's the price you have to pay to have only good jobs," he said. "You have some people never having any job."
The delegation will stay in Minneapolis until Friday. They're also exploring the deep roots planted here by Scandinavians more than 100 years ago.
They've walked through the bustling area once called Snus Boulevard, named after the tobacco snuff favored by Swedish immigrants. Today, it's known as Cedar-Riverside, believed to be the largest Somali-American neighborhood in the country.npr

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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

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Sultan Kenadid
Sultanate of Obbia

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

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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
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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,

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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

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