Born again Somali
By. Hassan Mohamed
I am what you call the lost generation. I spent my prime years as a child in a world of turmoil and hatred. Back in Somalia, I was thought to hate certain people. You name a tribe and there is a saying about what kind of people they are, and based on that I hated their guts. Some were just tall with long feet and good for nothing. Some were black with a blacker behind and up to no good all the time. Some had small teeth and were the devilâ€™s child. You also had the ones in the cost line that ate fish and should not be mentioned because they ate fish. What does a man who eats fish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner have to say about serious issues in life? I mean, isnâ€™t it obvious that a man needs to have a steady supply of camel meat and goat milk in his diet to be talking about real issues. And then you had the guys who were skilled enough to fix things, and make things out of scratch. They were bunch of goons of course. Only good for fixing things. You also had the light skinned southern people who were good at entertainment. They had a monopoly on all the Somali movies and contemporary music. They danced, sang, and stayed happy all the time. How could you not like these people right? Wrong. They were bunch of sissies only good for dancing and singing.
That sort of puts everything in perspective. And then there is my tribe. Well, my tribe was the best. We had it right. We ate camel meat, drank goat milk, and never danced around like bunch of fools. We hardly did anything wrong and were always superior to everybody else, especially these other ones who let the other morons dominate them. Am I being harsh? I do not think so. This was the way to be. The ultimate Somali man was the one who hated everybody but himself. I was the best out there among 5 million others who thought just like I did. 5 million future presidents. 5 million righteous warriors who all had the quest to one day take over the country. Maybe I am exaggerating, like we always do, but at least half of the country thought this way, which is just as disastrous.
I was a boy with these thoughts. This powerful, attractive, and hateful dogma is all I had to lean on. I couldnâ€™t wait to grow up to be the man to enforce these ideals I had. It was a manâ€™s duty to make sure these other goons did not take over and screw things up. No place for a woman in this mighty quest. A woman had no tribe and belonged to the house she resides, her fatherâ€™s house or her husbandâ€™s house. That narrows the righteous population even further.
When I left Somalia in the war I was 13 years old. Almost old enough to get morons out of my way so I can fight my way up to the top of the hill. But that was cut short with the war and me moving to the West. My first friend I ever had in the West belonged to that black and blacker behind tribe. We were in the same school and in the same neighborhood. I never though he belonged to this black and blacker behind tribe because ironically he was lighter than I was. How could that be? Together we befriended another guy who belonged to the tall and good for nothing tribe. Indeed, you guessed it right; he was not tall at all. That shot another one of my beliefs in the head. This was all getting screwed up in front of my eyes. These friends of mine were unbelievably like me in so many ways. They were righteous, smart, and superior like I was. Which kind of annoyed me for a while.
Together we formed a close friendship that went beyond the tribal gaps, stereotypes, and bigotry weâ€™ve held inside for so long. I must also say it was so easy for me to open up to these other kids from the other tribes, which says a lot about the strength of the tribal superiority dogma Iâ€™ve held for so long. Sometime during our friendship I realized what a complete moron I was for thinking like I did. In a way it was a look in the mirror that did it for me. At that same time I wanted to track down who ever put these beliefs in my head, hold them by the ear and bring them to the mirror as well. How does anyone think theyâ€™re superior to someone when they have the same ethnicity, race, and religion? What a shameful face to look at. I can proudly say it does not belong to me now.
By. Hassan Mohamed