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Everything posted by Warmoog

  1. I don't mean to generalize, but I'm starting to think Somalis (the majority of us) are too passive. Looking back on our history, I often wonder why people tolerated Siyaad Barre for over two decades. I know he wasn't so bad during the first few years of his reign, but when he revealed himself to be the true despot he was - why didn't people have a mass-reaction, an uprising, a revolution... or show some sign that they weren't passive participants in the workings of their demise? I'm not overlooking the fact that some resistance was demonstrated by political groups based in Ethiopia. But, within the country, artists (poets, singers, etc.) were the only ones who maintained some form of true patriotism by opposing (or at least criticizing) the regime. But why were they the only ones who saw the importance of resistance? Why did the 'silent majority' never feel the need to speak up? Why didn't the masses realize that history would never forgive them if they did not react? And sure they reacted, eventually, but by that time things were so far downhill it was too late. In other words, the mechanisms of self-destruction were so far in the works, their ill-timed reaction made no difference to the course of history. I mean look where we are now... Even today, the silent majority is again being led from one empty watering-hole to the next like helpless cattle by the same losers who picked our nation to the bone. Again, I don't mean to generalize but upon pondering this issue I'm left with the same conclusion time and time again. So far, as a people, I think we have been too passive for our own good. And if we ever want to attain anything better, we have to change this (among many other things). Salaama.
  2. This is a complex issue and I don't think anyone will know the complete story (i.e. where we fit into the "History of Africa") until the origin of Somali people is studied extensively. Although a few have already done so, there isn't one mainstream theory upon which everyone can agree. Asking whether Somalis are Arab or African can have anyone trying to explain for hours because the question itself is somewhat ambiguous. Under what context are you using the terms African and Arab? The two are not mutually exclusive because a person can be Arab and African at the same time. In addition, being African does not necessarily mean being 'Negroid', as a large portion of the continent's population is typically not categorized as such. Africa is, after all, an extremely diverse continent inhabited by numerous 'races'. We really should not place people in rigid categories. In doing so, we would, among other things, be oversimplify long, complex histories that often involve a great deal of intermarriage and fusion between differing 'races'. That being said, I personally do not share the 'racial confusion' (if it can even be called that) some folks seem to possess. This particular issue is neither confusing or cause for subjective judgement because one fact remains concrete: Somalis are Africans, and to state otherwise is false. (Or it's wishful thinking?) For those who argue that Somalia is in the Arab League and it must therefore be an Arab country: the Arab league is a POLITICAL ENTITY and a government's association with it does not define the racial identity of its populace. Several countries go back and forth between the Arab League and the African Union (e.g. Somalia, Libya, Egypt), but they do so for purely political reasons. Even so, considering Somalia's seat has been empty for more than a decade, the country's place in the Arab League makes little tangible difference to begin with. If I may go on a slight tangent here, I don't think anyone should take pride in being part of an organization that has disgraced Muslims everywhere time and again. Salaama.
  3. Knowledge and Education are two different things. There are many Somali elders who, although illerate, are very knowledgable. For instance, Ayeeyo X can recite Somali poems from centuries prior or she can make up a complex one of her own instantly, but she gets others to write her letters because she can't write a word, Somali or otherwise. PS - Ayeeyo X is just someone I made up, she's not my granny (although I've met many like her). Salaama.
  4. Good question... Without a doubt, my hero is my mother. Salaama.
  5. The lack of quality in Somali concerts isn't much of a problem for me. Not that I attend many to begin with, but we have to understand the people organizing these shows are not P. Diddy or any other filthy-rich celeb. What vexes me, however, is when you hire a fanaan to perform at a social event and they take your money, but they never actually show up. Hassan Aden Samatar has done this on several occasions. (I've heard of people in the States whose weddings he ditched.) At other times, when he doesn't like the vibe/atmosphere of the place (apparently he's moody), he just hums the lyrics... song after song. :eek: Talk about entertainers stealing our money, it's pure xaasidnimo. P.S.- Never pay in advance for a service when all you have is a verbal contract. You're pretty much stamping the words 'take advantage of me' on your forehead. Salaama.
  6. Originally posted by think_tank: Somalis suffer from high rates of hypertension, high cholestrol... Subag, xalwad... need I say more? Lol, considering our general fondness for sugar and fat, I'm not surprised. Originally posted by wind talker: I bet you, at least proportionally, there's more Somali females abroad effected by the illness than Somali females in Somalia! And I'm simply basing my conjecture on the foods we consume out here in the Western Hemisphere. I agree. And it’s not only the foods we eat, but also the atmosphere and pollution we’re exposed to that ‘s causing all sorts of unusual allergies and conditions, which are new to Somalis. Salaama.
  7. Every society has their definition of 'ideal beauty'. And regardless of how unrealistic that ideal may be, there are always many who try to attain it… often at the risk of their own health and peace of mind (think: anorexia, bulimia, plastic surgery, implants). Among many cultures, including our own, the characteristics of beauty often include fair skin. But believe me, this is far from being unique to Somalis. Those who use skin-lightening creams, whether they are women or men (lol) - Somalis or not - obviously have deep-seated insecurities about their appearance. In addition, I think such people are also influenced by the definition of beauty in their society. Sadly, they lack the courage to be true to themselves and the will to ignore social ideals... so they succumb. Originally posted by somealien: you know im not into this whole "somalis are the most beautiful" stuff but lets be honest our best physical trait as a people as well as the most obvious (what you can recognize a somali by) is our skin texture. not the shade, but chirka, you know? we have a glow about us. somealien - I've seen numerous Ethiopians who I initially took to be Somalis, so I'm not convinced of this 'glow' theory of yours. Salaama.
  8. I made a few mistakes in spelling the names of authors whose books I recommended in my last post... opps! Before any of you avidly reading nomads start looking for the works of non-existent writers, I’ll have to correct myself. Tamarind Mem – by Anita Rau Badami The God of Small Things – by Arundhati Roy Zaylici, I’m definitely going to check out The Republic. It sounds very interesting. If we could all do what we’re good at, life would be so much easier. I’m having my own conflicts of interest with regards to 'what I’m good at' vs. 'what I think I should be doing'. Unfortunately, several factors – such as the reality of being a first-generation Somali and feeling the silent pressures of the need to take advantage of the opportunities presented to us in the West in order succeed above all else - make the decision difficult. Yet, while I worry so much about my worldly affairs, I also feel the guilt of not giving equal dedication to more important issues... namely my duties as a Muslim. I think more than a few Somalis my age are in the same boat of confusion. With that said, I’m definitely adding that book to my list of works to digest during Reading Week. Salaama.
  9. A Fine Balance – By Rohinton Mistry: So far, this is one of my top 3 novels of all time. It’s deeply moving and packed with gut-wrenching twists throughout, particularly at the end (some of my friends literally cried). The writer puts together wildly different characters, yet manages to tell a very believable story at the same time. This saga will make you feel like you’re watching a good Hindi film, but unlike some of Bollywood's melodrama, it’s far from predictable. Tar Baby – Toni Morrison: I think Toni Morrison is the most talented American writer alive and Tar Baby is my favourite one of hers thus far. Yes, it’s a love story. And a very realistic one at that, which means a fairytale ending isn’t always possible… but I don’t want to reveal too much. One of the marks a good writer is the ending and much like A Fine Balance, Tar Baby also has a memorable finale. Unlike Mistry, however, Morrison doesn’t leave you depressed… she leaves you hungry. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens: Ok, some people think Dickens is a bore. I must admit the man possessed an inexplicable desire to use extremely long sentences with minimal punctuation, but give him a chance! This is a highly acclaimed novel throughout the English-speaking world and, based on first-hand experience, I can tell you it isn’t hyperbole. There are many more I would recommend and although I don’t have time to write a review for each, I’ll just state the basics. Tamarind Mem – Anita Rau Batami The God of Small Things – Arudhati Roy A Glass Palace – Amitov Ghosh Paradise – Toni Morrison (If you hadn't already guessed, I have a thing for Indian writers:D) Salaama.
  10. Good question… I’m a newbie here and although I’ve contributed to a few others discussion boards in the past, this is definitely ‘the one’ I’ve been looking for. As you might already know, there are quite a few Somali forums out there. Finding the right one, however, has been somewhat of a painstaking search for me. I came across discussion boards that should, for the sake of accuracy, just be called boards because there was no discussion. Some contained plenty of contributors and posts but had an obvious lack of substance and, thus, appeared pointless and superficial. With a few others, the vital signs of life often disappeared quickly and, as the stench of brain-farts grew, I often lost interest and wandered elsewhere. All shall remain anonymous! My initial observations here have noted the following – contributors aren’t afraid to write long articles… and they use full sentences! Simple things make me so happy. Honestly, considering this site’s lively atmosphere and insightful contributors, I think my long search is finally over. And as far as what motivates me to write, I would have to say that stimulation and boredom both play a role. Sometimes I feel a strong urge to write (often to no one in particular), but interacting with other nomads makes the task that much more engaging. Salaama.
  11. To be honest, I cringe at the thought of being asked to identify my qabil. People can sugar-coat-it however they want but, as far as I’m concerned, that one word defines all that is ‘wrong’ with Somali culture. (Allow me to get off-topic for a brief moment): I once read an article on one of those Somali History sites, which made an interesting contrast between Somalis and Europeans. It stated that Europeans have a clear understanding of their place in the world, but lack an understanding of their place in society; whereas Somalis have a clear understanding of their place in society (thanks to qabil), but have no idea of their place in the world. That statement could not be truer… Qabil is a very self-consuming issue and as you become more caught up in it, you become increasingly out of touch with the ‘bigger picture’ (i.e. the world, everything that’s not related to your personal sphere, etc.). To get back to your main question, I don’t think qabil has taken over the younger generations. Sadly, it’s still deeply embedded in the older people regardless of whether they’re vocal about it or not because even those chased out of their country and put through hell by the calamities of qabil-inspired civil wars still carry around a lot of clan-beef… and that’s unfortunate, to say the least. As incoherent as my ramblings may seem, what I’m trying to say here is that qabil is a double-edged sword and - if we can’t use it safely - it’s in our best interests to discard it. Salaama.