Monday, June 17, 2013

The missing fathers who only show up at make-a-baby o'clock!

A day for Somalis to reflect while the rest of the world celebrates Father's Day. Alarming number of Somali children are growing up without father figures and so many 'single mothers' in hijab, seem to be dropping babies every year for men missing in action only to show up to 'bestow' the women with yet another fatherless child!

Somali men have deserted their basic responsibilities and still demand respect, for what, donating their sperm? For the entitlement to be Presidents of a nation they haven’t managed to feed and raise its children?

I am among the older generation of Somalis in their 30s now who saw better days of Somali men. Time when men honoured their responsibilities, took pride in raising and providing for their families. Time when women were treated with respect and not viewed as sex object or someone to rape and take their frustrations out on. Also, a time when women had more self-respect and did not marry and conceive for any Jack with a third leg. When women did not settle or justify their existence on having babies…For any man!

Some of today’s single mothers will, with such audacity and confidence, advice other single women to “just dust-off one of the loser Farahs and marry him. After all, the aim of marriage is to have babies and if the man doesn’t hold his part, just kick him out after you got your babies”! Seriously?! Silly me, I thought marriage was about a union of two people who have chosen each other and actually enjoy each other’s company and then children were byproduct of this happy union. I also thought children who are born out of happy union and are given love and support grow up to be emotionally balanced human beings and productive citizens.

This is not blaming all the mess that is today’s Somali society on the failed fathers but also on the mothers and women who have settled for less, who do not have enough self-believe to demand the best a man has to offer.  

I am lucky, in that I was rasied by a responsible, loving and a totally dedicated single father. A man who showed up at school in Somalia every Thursday to check on our performance, if we have behaved ourselves and demanded we always get 1st in class (this last one I didn’t really like but I appreciated it much later). A father who managed to insulate us from the madness that was growing up in Waaberi district of Mogadishu, a place with very little rules and routine and too much fun for children. He taught us how to read, write, wash our clothes, cook and know when social rules were too stupid to obey! Every evening was a family time, we had time to listen to radio, write commentary, do home-work together and just talk and laugh.

I don’t see a lot of that happening in the current Somali families I meet and it is very sad to see children growing up pretty much on their own and with exhausted single mother who can barely manage to provide for them and spend quality time with them. Of course, there are many single mothers and parents doing well and I am happy for the children growing up in those households, but majority, especially the Somali families in the UK, I have not seen a sight more depressing! Single mothers overloaded with children and responsibilities and living in tiny spaces who hardly see the sun. How on earth are they supposed to raise children well when they have no space to breath? And our society, instead of talking about these issues openly and provide support for the families, we are told, go ahead sisters and have more babies! We congratulate women for being tough and raising the children on their own. "Maansha Allah" seems to be reserved for the struggling single mother for marching on when the husband ran off on her and their 6 kids!

Less Maansha Allah, misleading and misinforming women and putting up with the missing fathers, please. Women need to be supported to make better choices in their lives. Why take on this load and spend your few days on this earth slaving because society expects you to make use of that womb and make a baby, who might grow up so miserable that he will happily wear a suicide belt and take few people with him!

Yes yes, before you go quote a Quran chapter on me, babies can be a blessing, I agree. I am not totally anti children or marriage. I am anti create another ghetto culture and have more babies than you can feed for loser ‘husbands’. Somali women can do better and should demand more! However, given the reality on the ground for the slim pickings of cool, sexy, great Farah, marry Steve or stay single and enjoy sex for what it is.

My dad would disown me for these views, lol, but he raised me to think and question stuff. So, here is to a great father, whom we strongly disagree and sometimes can’t stand each other but who did his job so well the guy deserves a goddamn medal!

Happy father’s day to the responsible, loving and caring Somali fathers out there, you are very very few. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Dear white folks, it is illegal to take photos of or with African children!

Dear white folks, 63 years ago it was ‘noble’ to take pictures with rough-looking black African kids like you were in a zoo. It was still kinda cool and adventurous thing to take back home from your “dark continent” adventures as late as 1990s. In 2013 however, access to camera, flights and communication devices have been democratized and the world is a bit more ‘transparent’.  

Africans, former zoo residents, are out of the zoo and on social media and can see all the weird pictures you post with trusting and ‘cute’ black African kids with big smiles. I don’t think they like it a bit. Ever seen a black African tourist in Croatia posing with a random blonde kid? That shit doesn’t happen so what makes it normal for you guys to come to Liberia, Ethiopia, or that country called Africa and pose with a random black child? So weird! Maybe next time you will be content posing only with the giraffe and leave the children alone.