ANOTHER COUNTRY BY M.M. Afrah
EXCLUSIVE TO BANADIR.COM
An extract from a new book by M.M. Afrah to be published
in Canada in the winter of 2002.
trust a corporal with a Charlie Chaplin moustache playing
head of state."
"The American people would have laughed if a fortune-telling
had predicted that a movie actor was going to be of the United
States and would playing an active role in dismantling the
Soviet Union. They would have taken away her crystal ball
and put her in a straight jacket."
"Well, at least Ronald Reagan kept his campaign promise whereas
corporal failed to keep all of Europe and the Soviet Union
under his jackboots. As for uncle Joe Stalin, he simply thrived
on chaos and mayhem to stay in power after Lenin's demise.
People were brainwashed, hypnotized and programmed to toe
his line," the Russian said.
another swig from the bottle and a hiccup, he said Uncle Joe
Stalin and Adolf Hitler tried to outdo each other in slaughtering
millions of people they considered as untermensch or subhuman
and enemies of the state, while the West stood by and did
nothing. They even rejoiced at his Anschluss with tiny Austria
and his invasion of Poland."
"The Western leaders, notably Neville Chamberlain, believed
that nazi Germany was deterrent against Communism. Or perhaps
they were considering joining into the fray," Keynaan suggested.
"Also Hitler must have impressed them with his drang nach
ostern policy." Keynaan added.
the western media is accusing us of gunrunning in Africa.
We would not need allies or Noah's Ark to survive in hell.
They had even coined the phrase "The Russian Mafia and Money
Laundering." The other day, the British tabloids in their
front pages called us the New Red Mercenaries in Africa."
West brought disease, guns and Christianity in Africa and
claimed that they were helping us adopt their brand of civilization,"
believe the things the papers are printing about Africa,"
the Russian said and staggered towards the cockpit with his
empty bottle upside down. He was sporting hand-tooled San
Antonio boots, Levi jeans, Nike jersey and Gucci wrist watch.
Russian terrifies me," his sister said.
wrong, Marian," said Keynaan confidently. "Ivan is quite harmless,
trying to survive under very difficult circumstances. Or merely
restless and disastified with the terms of existence." Because
Marian's agitation struck him as funny, he gave low chuckle.
"Any way, we are out of harm's way for the moment." He soothed
began to roar and shudder above the treacherous Indian Ocean
as if in turbulence. But Keynaan is wondering how the boys
would find themselves among boys with long hair and girls
with short hair. Would they wear ear-rings and oversized pants?
Would they forget their language and way of life? How is he
going to deal with the stony faced immigration officials about
the family's resettlement in Canada? Which transports him
back to his raw deal with Canada Immigration after living
in legal limbo for over five years. This is what went between
Keynaan and the immigration officials at both ends of the
to Canada Immigration. For information in English press one,
for service in French press two."
was a trace of Russian accents (probably a new immigrant who
had arrived little while ago.)
citizenship press three, for sponsoring a relative abroad
press four. For application for residence permit press five.
Our lines are busy right now. Please wait for the next available
am Natasha speaking. How may I help you?"
Keynaan: "Oh, I would like to know the status of my application
for a permanent residence in Canada. My client number is…."
"What is your country of birth?"
"Let me find that one in my computer. The program is moving,
kind of slow today, eh. Hmm. It's warming up, eh. I don't
get any Somalia. Let me try something else. You hold on. Okay?"
she said in heavily accented English, but otherwise perfect
English. Her voice made the English words sound like music.
Houston is singing "I will always love you."
"Hi! Sorry to have kept you waiting. I hope you enjoyed Whitney.
But where is Somalia?"
"In East Africa, specifically in the Horn of Africa."
"Are you sure it is not Samoa or Solomon Islands?"
"I am very sure it is in the Horn of Africa. It has dominated
the world news for quite some times when the American Marines
and Army Rangers stormed our beaches to spearhead Operation
Restore Hope. There was a marathon Somalia Inquiry in Ottawa
for a very long time about the Royal Canadian Airborne Regiment
in a town called Belet-weyne and the official cover up that
followed. There was daily press coverage on the subject. You
guys should know."
Hold on for a moment, please."
Dione is singing "All is coming back to me now."
"How do you spell that?"
"What?" Natasha: "The name of your country."
is singing, "Don't cry for me, Argentina."
"Are you still there?"
"Yes, I am." Natasha: "Sorry, there is no Somalia in my computer."
"Somalia still exists. I know because I came from there. There
are people still living there and it is still in the Atlas.
I can assure you."
"Well, I don't know."
"You can even buy a phone card from the Chinese corner store
here and call Somalia, where people own Ericsson or Nokia
cell phones despite the anarchy and carnage. It is much cheaper
to call Russia or Ukraine."
"Hi again. Well, I'm sorry I can't find Somalia or your name
in my computer. Boob! BOOOB! Hold on while I ask Bob here."
Chapman sings "Give me one reason why I should stay here."
"Sorry, but Bob here doesn't know either. I don't know how
to help you."
"Could I speak to your boss?"
"Hi! This is James MacMillan, your Caseworker. Your name and
country is in our computers, after all. Your application for
a Permanent Residence in Canada is being processed. Good luck
and good day!"
writer asked Keynaan how he felt about the bureaucratic bottleneck
at Canada Immigration, he said: "The information that my application
was being processed failed to thrill me. They have been telling
me the same story year in and year out for six years. If only
the people there knew what they were doing. It is the dialogue
of the deaf. Their telephone system and their incompetence
could drive a person crazy. It is like wadding into a bowl
of spaghetti!" he said.
the Somali refugees have been given Convention Refugee Status
on arrival in 1990/91, only to be immobilized and kept in
legal limbo for years on end. They were unable to find decent
jobs because they were not "Landed" refugees, because they
lacked what Canadian employers euphemistically call "The Canadian
experience" or unable to speak either of the two official
languages. Thus, they were forced to live on the shrinking
leaders, refugee advocates and human rights organizations
believe that the Somalis have been singled out because of
their skin colour. They say refugees from Bosnia, Kosovo and
other eastern European countries do not encounter these hurdles.
© By M.M.Afrah 2001 All rights are reserved