FOR GOOD? ECHOES FROM THE DIASPORA
22 April. 2002
GONE FOR GOOD? ECHOES FROM THE DIASPORA
is a big issue in Somali families in the Diaspora and many
parents get stuck in it and try to maintain a lifestyle familiar
to the way they were raised in the old country of which discipline,
obedience and preservation of their cultural value are the
Naema Dahir is bewildered when her 14-year-old daughter refused
to speak Somali with members of the family or with Somali
nothing, nothing at all you can do about it," said Naema,
shaking her head and laughing. "This generation is gone for
good!" she added.
first time, I felt uneasy," recalls another mother. "You cannot
force your own children to speak their own Somali language,
at least at home, because teachers at school tell the children
to call 911 if their parents became "abusive" or force them
to do something they don't want to do," she said with tears
in her eyes.
bewildered father said that his 12-year-old daughter spends
most of her free time listening to "weird" music in her bedroom
with other girls and boys from the neighourhood and refuses
to eat her dinner. "My own daughter had even "ordered" me
to knock her bedroom door every time I wished to see her!"
said that with little choice in the matter of their children's
upbringing, they have had to get used to the idea. Parents
who would not take nonsense from their children are regarded
as "abusive" and "child molesters" and are taken away from
them by the police. In addition the parents could faces charges
against them under The Child Protection Program. Ironically,
some of these children are then taken to orphanages where
pedophile priests sexually assault them! Survivors of Child
Abuse by Catholic pedophile priests can attest this claim.
It is like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
is so upsetting. It's not at all what we were expecting,"
said a teary-eyed grandfather in Toronto. He blames the Television
and the Internet for corrupting the Somali children in the
Diaspora. "They show explicit sexual scenes and even teach
children how to make a bomb," the frail old man moaned.
some parents molest their children for one reason or another.
A case in point is the battering to death of 7-year-old Jamaican
boy, Randal Dooley, by his father and stepmother. The pair
will automatically receive life sentences with no parole eligibility
for at least 10 years or up to 25-years, according to the
Toronto Star News Service.
then does the future hold for the Somali children born in
the Diaspora? Very bleak and hopeless. Talking to these teenagers
makes it even bleaker and uncompromising than ever. 16-year-old
Yusuf, who now calls himself Joseph or Joe and wears oversized
pants and an ear ring says his parents are old fashioned and
out of touch. "I would never allow my mother to visit my school.
My classmates will laugh at her because she looks like a potato
sack in her shapeless long dirac," he said after a long pull
from what looked like hashish.
is your mother who brought you to this world," I reminded
him, after reading to him the lyrics in Mohamed Suleiman's
song "Hooyo la'antaa dayaxa lama aadeen…."
a folk song that's incompatible with today's trend. It's not
cool, man," he snapped back and disappeared among a crowd
of students with similar lifestyle.
issue, I cannot pretend to be a moralist or traditionalist
but could it be that Somalis in the Diaspora do not care anymore
about their children? It boggles the mind, but something can
be done to educate them.
all right for a child to speak English, because that's what
they teach at school, but to emulate bizarre habits, like
boys wearing ear-rings and oversized pants, for example, boils
me with rage.
M. Afrah © 2002
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Mr. Afrah is an outspoken Author/Journalist and a member of
the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) and the
New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). He
contributes hard-hitting articles to Canadian and international
newspapers and magazines on the Somalia situation "through
the eyes of a man who covered the country for more than two
of us remember his critical articles in his weekly English
language HEEGAN newspaper, despite a mandatory self-censorship
introduced by Guddiga Baarista Hisbiga Xisbiga Hantiwadaagga
Somaaliyeed in 1984 and the dreaded NSS. I am very proud to
know that Mr. Afrah openly defied the draconian censorship
laws and went ahead to write what he thought was wrong in
the country. He received several death threats from the warlords
and was briefly held hostage by gunmen in 1993. But he remained
defiant and continued to send his stories of carnage and destruction
to Reuters news agency. He still is!