Historian of the Hunted//Achebe

I will speak for the silent
For the quiet & meek
For lions without historians
When their time is most bleak
I will speak for the mothers
Whose children are deep
Six feet under earth
Their hearts aching in grief



I dare to speak up for the ones who are silent
The perished
The dead
Who were taken by violence
By hatred so evil It sets off the sirens
In hearts of the many
Affected by climate
Imposed by the powers
Want life for us, gory
Oppress us & kill us
Then rewrite our stories
Use ignorant persons
To push their agendas
Then blame them
Condemn them
Say it’s their dilemma
Real narratives living
On tongues of the spared
So shook they stay quiet
They bury despair
Their silence a guise
That shields them from torture
But the truth beats them harder
Than any enforcer
It crawls up their throats
In the night as they sleep
Wake up soaked in fear
And they weep, and they weep
I will speak for the silent
For the quiet & meek
For lions without historians
When their time is most bleak
I will speak for the mothers
Whose children are deep
Six feet under earth
Their hearts aching in grief
I will speak for Aleppo
For Flint
For Treyvon
I will speak up for Hamza
And baby Aylan
I will speak up for Deah Yusor & Razan
I will speak for Ciara
Those who’ve done nothing wrong

I will speak for those sinking
In deep seas of sorrows
Holding hope in their palm
For a brighter tomorrow
It is they who push me
To be great
To be proud
I will speak for them loud
No guise and no shroud

I will speak, I will speak
‘Til I can’t speak no more
And when that day comes
Some must take up the chore
Show them to be louder
Teach the children their voice
Of resilience is power
Tell them all to make noise
They must speak for the silent
There is no other choice
They must fall on all ears
Then one day we’ll rejoice
In a land known as paradise
Prepped for arrival
Of those who have fought
For what’s right
What is vital
For humanity
For what makes us all great
On that day we will rest
No more pain
No more hate

Shukri Janagale (Artist) resides in Garowe by way of Toronto, Canada. Since her return to her homeland, Somalia, she has been blessed with a sense of peace. This is the healthiest she has ever felt, spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally. This nuance of balance has ignited a surge of creativity that Shukri hasn’t experienced since her adolescence. Due to her experiences she has chosen to make Garowe, Somalia her home base. In an attempt to alter the negative perceptions of her country and inspire other diaspora members to return home, Shukri has chosen to challenge her private nature and share her experiences via Instagram. Her Art Work focuses on the abstract human portrait. Due to religious reasons, her paintings are devoid of eyes. The absence of eyes adds another layer of depth to her subjects; it’s as if the void serves as a layer of protection to the windows of the soul. You will find bright contrasting colors and black are reoccurring themes in her work.
Digital portfoliohttps://janagale.crevado.com
Hanan Hassan (Author): The poem is inspired by Nigerian poet, novelist and critic Chinua Achebe. He was once quoted stating “Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter”. This quote resonated with me as a young Somali woman in America. Through my written works, I dare to speak up for those who aren’t allowed the space.

Instagram: @onedesertflower


The girl, Hawa, had been lying there for a few hours. Her eyes calculatingly followed the shape of the overbearing yellow and orange cliff face to her right, that hung over the blinding Indian ocean, like a precariously leaning suicidal figure.

61 Suleman Hersi - Untitled image

.خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ مِن صَلْصَالٍ كَالْفَخَّارِ

.وَخَلَقَ الْجَانَّ مِن مَّارِجٍ مِّن نَّارٍ


He created man from sounding clay like unto pottery.

And He created jinn from smokeless flames of fire.

                                            – The Holy Quran, 55:14-15

Qoraxle Beach, Berbera, Former British Somaliland
August 1991
The Present

In the searing heat of midday, a child lay hiding on the beach amongst the stench of her tribesmen’s bodies.

Qoraxle, a small port town in Berbera, was enshrouded by mountains, sea, sun and as far as the rest of Africa was concerned, a civil war. The villagers slept through the afternoon heat, yet the unifying call to prayer for Asr would resonate throughout the divided country and across the ocean soon. The red sullied sand of the beach spread in a curve until it dissipated into a far blur. There seemed to be no horizon, to the point where one could not discern where the empty sky and monotone sea met. The girl, Hawa, had been lying there for a few hours. Her eyes calculatingly followed the shape of the overbearing yellow and orange cliff face to her right, that hung over the blinding Indian ocean, like a precariously leaning suicidal figure.

The beach was eerily quiet.

A part of Hawa tore herself off the ground and stood up. She would rather jump off that cliff, than lie there waiting to be killed.

Her black hair was knotted with despair and sleeplessness, glowing a bronze and henna red in the relentless Somali sun. She wore a shiid coloured by age and blood, and a garabsaar that hung in cascading lines of orange off her hollow collarbone and jutting shoulders, far more animate in the wind than the sunset painted sea. She put her hands together in prayer, bringing her little henna tainted fingertips to her face, her nails clogged black with dirt and blood. There was a design of a small circle with little triangles dotting the circumference, printed on both her palms. An emblem of the sun, and the seal of her tribe.

Her desperate prayer was interrupted as somewhere in the distance she heard the crack of several AK47s. They had finally found her.

Qoraxle Hinterlands, Berbera, Former British Somaliland
August 1991
A Few Hours Ago

Hawa was lost in the mountains. She trudged aimlessly as she waited for the opaque sky and shadowy sea to give way to dawn break. As the shepherdess of her family, she usually left Qoraxle before dawn to take the sheep to graze in the mountains of the hinterlands. Yet something had gone precariously wrong, and despite the feeling of foreboding, she had continued down a path she had not taken before. Sleep weighing her down, she’d dozed off under a sparse tree as the sheep grazed. She had jolted awake as she became aware of an imminent eerie, permeating feeling casting over her like dark clouds suddenly rolling in and over themselves on an empty sky. Her limbs responded slowly at first, as if unwilling, and then she bolted up, seeing the sheep were gone.

She had felt a convulsive chill run through her and turned to see three red lines of henna engraved on the trunk of the tree. The marking of the Jinn. Everyone knew Jinn resided in the Qoraxle mountains. In her hasty escape, and simultaneous search for the sheep her family entrusted her with, she had also become lost herself.

Now Hawa wandered aimlessly, looking for Qoraxle. When the sun lit enough of the world around her, she decided to search for the nearest village. After a few hours walking inland she was surprised that she did not tire or grow thirsty. Hawa found the remnants of an abandoned nomad camp with three bul. It was as if the whole place was trapped in limbo.

Hawa, unsettled, was speeding through the campsite when she heard the crackle of a radio, playing eerily to no audience in particular. “-Qoraxle village has been bombed this morning by the regime. The hospital was the first to be targeted and reinforcements are too far away to arrive on time! Everybo-”

Before Hawa could even register a feeling of immense dread for what was happening to her town, the momentary palpable silence was disrupted by a sudden shaking of the earth in rippling waves that threw her into a sudden panic. It was a grenade, and close by. The abandoned camp was being targeted. The second blast uprooted the bul itself and Hawa could not even muster a scream before she was sent scattering like the gritty sand. Before the ringing subsided in her ears she saw two huge grimy vehicles roll up through the swirling smoke and dust. They came to a jolting stop so close to her little sprawled body Hawa felt they would run her over. There was a moment’s silence as the jeep and a large truck stopped, and Hawa dashed into the nearest bul, under cover of the flying dust.

She heard the car door open and dipped back behind the yellow cloth covering the mouth of the bul as what she assumed to be the leader barked an order. She supposed having found nothing, the men scuttled back into their vehicles. They started the engines again ready to speed on.

Hawa knew she would never make it to Qoraxle on foot, so she sprinted after the truck, leapt up, fingers clutching perilously at the edge, then leapt inside. She crept and crouched, hidden amongst the guns, bullets and munitions, under a hot plastic tarp. Hawa vowed she’d escape the second the truck paused.

Just as Hawa though the journey was never-ending, she peeped out of the tarpaulin to see they had stopped at Qoraxle Port, her home. Yet the bustling town port had been reduced to silence and was devoid of any human presence. The truck rolled up to the beach where it stopped. This was Hawa’s chance to escape. Flinging the tarpaulin over her head, she bolted out.

But not before she was spotted.

Qoraxle Beach, Berbera, Former British Somaliland
The Present

The sparse yet peppered sound of gunfire chased her. It came closer and closer, the silence punctuated by her own erratic heartbeat. All Hawa could hear was her own haggard breathing. There was nowhere to hide on the clear beach except amongst the dead bodies, so she plastered herself to the side of someone who could have been her uncle. She could taste the sweat, salt and soullessness emanating from his body, and although it made her gag, the idea of rotting along with the rest of these bodies murdered angered her more. Somewhere overhead, the manic shouts of one of the soldiers came closer and the stuttering of the gun became increasingly unstable, interrupted by bursts of noises escaping his mouth. Bile swirling in her stomach, she peeped over the corpse.

He made his way towards her.

Hawa prayed she had not been spotted and tried her best to play dead. The soldier gripped the previously aimless gun and held it with a new purpose. The guttural noises were within earshot, but combined with the garbled tone of his tribal dialect, Hawa could not discern what he was saying. The soldier’s eyes were too big for his head, in a way Hawa found scary and were darting around so fast his feet stumbled into the dead.

“Come out, child! There’s no fun in hiding amongst the dead when you’re still living.”

Hawa began shaking as if she was possessed.

The man had his back to Hawa and tripped over the body she was hiding behind, crashing into her. Desperate, she crawled out from under him and over stricken faces. Although she tried to avoid them, her fingers found grip in gaping gazes, mouths and wounds. She was expecting a bullet to embed itself in her small frame by the fifth body, but instead the soldier let loose another burst from his AK47 at an enemy that was not Hawa. She dived to the ground and saw that he had not, or could not see her.

The soldier ploughed on through the dead as Hawa was left behind, unnoticed and alive. Shaking uncontrollably now, Hawa felt the essence of her being flaring up. He was only a few metres away. Something had forced her to stagger up, blinking sand and dust from her eyes. From behind, he felt Hawa’s uncanny gaze fixated on him, burning the back of his head and boring into him hotter than the noon heat of the sun. He turned his head over his shoulder slowly, to meet eyes with what he had not seen earlier. His face contorted into an expression of genuine terror. He was not seeing her, but something else, something not yet diabolical. Screeching, he abandoned his gun, stumbling over the bodies and the phrase: “Jinn! Jinn!”

He ran back the way he came to the group of soldiers he had wandered from, repeating jinn until his voice went hoarse and out of earshot.

Hawa felt a sudden sense of relief, and felt some control over her limbs again. She did not know what had made her stand up so abruptly. She wondered why the soldier had thought that she was a jinn. Yet as she thought this, with a surmounting feeling of terror, she heard loud voices approaching. It was the hysterical soldier, with many chiding voices following, as he swore he had seen a possessed child on the beach.

Hawa could not outrun them. She let a sigh out into the wind and turned her face to the sun, her eyes closed, fingertips to her lips, hands cupped in prayer. She rubbed her face with a weariness far beyond her years and opened her eyes, bright spots of white light fluctuated before her. She realised what needed to be done, and no longer worried. Instead she thrust her orange garabsaar over her bony shoulder and looked to the precarious cliff from earlier.

It jutted out at an inviting angle.

Hawa was known as a fiery child, because of her henna-ember dyed hair and ambitious, independent attitude. And this time, she was determined to put out the flame of her soul in the bottom of the ocean before any enemy tribe or rogue militia would put a bullet through her temple. Taking matters into her own hands, Hawa’s small bare feet left behind red ribbons of blood as she made her way steadily to the top, her toes curling over the edge of the sharp cliff.

In uncensored ugliness, she saw now below a spectacular display of bodies. They were plagued by the militia, who were slowly making their way across the dumped bodies searching for her. They had AK47s on their backs, with cartridge belts strapped around their bodies. They rifled through the contents of their enemies’ pockets, stealing inflated money, false identification, imported watches and personal photographs of beloved family members. Hawa could not bring herself to be angry anymore. Resigned, she stood up and gathered her shiid in her fists instead.

In a local masjid a few kilometres down the beach the muezzin performed the third call to prayer for Asr, a holy and pure melody that echoed down the beach and reverberated through the blasphemous bodies of those both butchered and breathing, so that every man and woman, rich or poor, from the tribes of the Hawiye, Isaaq or Darood would wash their sins away with ritual ablution and lay their foreheads to the ground as one to ask Allah for forgiveness. The call continued:

“. . .  الفلاح حي على. حي على الصلاة

Hasten to prayer. Hasten to success . . .

The murderers below ignored and drowned it out with their own pillaging sound of sacrilegious success. Hawa looked down in disgust as one of the men below ripped apart the front of a mother’s shiid and prised something from around her neck. Hecelebrated by thrusting the glinting object up to the sky and the men around him congratulated him, slapping him in the back with a friendly nudge of their guns.

Hawa cried then, first because she felt she was the only human there that day, and secondly because she would also be the last. She felt the wind curl its long, slender and pointed fingers around her shiid, and flung her across the open space, out to the sea far enough so that when she washed ashore, her soul would have long departed from her. She imagined she fell with the grace and suppleness of angels, ready and accepting, and wished to be obliterated into nothingness in the water below.

As she crashed through the surface, the water clawed its way down her throat and settled in the cave of her lungs like a beast returning home. But she found herself not drowning, and instead she felt her body and garments slowly floating back up to the surface, despite her desperate attempt to sink lower. She thrashed and kicked so that the sea sucked her soul to the bottom, she breathed in so deeply she imagined she’d vacuumed the whole ocean into her little lungs, but her fiery attempt was put out by the force of the sea.

No matter what chance to embrace death came her way, it seemed she would not die.

Hawa did not know for how long she was underwater but she finally glided to the top, and her face broke the surface. Before she could notice the passage of time in the sky, she breathed the despised air, the heavy velvety blackness of the sky dotted with glittering sequences cast a revenant glow on her wide forehead and cheekbones. Hawa felt the cool air on her burning face and as she lay on undulating waves, she wondered why she was still alive, and could not help thinking that something had indeed been preventing her from dying.

Suleman Hersi (Photographer) is a 27 year old civil engineering student, who holds a BS in engineering. He has always enjoyed being creative, and has tried his hand at various art forms including poetry, short stories, rapping, and beat-boxing. Photography is a medium he returns to regularly. From 2013 to 2016, Suleman simply used his smartphone to capture images; by 2017 he found freelance photography work. His dream is to work as a concert photographer, as he enjoys the show energy and atmosphere. Suleman will travel to Somalia next year for photojournalism. He resides in Asker, Norway.

Instagram: @ihersi
Website: www.ihersi.com

Asma Ismail (Author) is 23 years old and lives in Birmingham, England. She works as an English teaching assistant in a secondary school. After completing her English and Creative Writing degree, she still hasn’t let go of her storytelling roots, and appreciates opportunities where she can share creative work that holds true to her culture and identity as a Somali.

الحلم الجميل

I'm Melting

لقد حلمت حلما جميلا وناقصا ، رأيتني دخلت الجنة مع أناس آخرين لم أكن أعرفهم في الدنيا ، كان بعضهم في قبور مجاورة لقبري ، تلاقت أعيننا فور أن قذفنا من حفرنا ، جميعنا تعانقنا ؛ فقد كنا نلتقي لأول مرة منذ ان تجاورت بيوتنا ، كنت أسمع احيانا ضحكاتهم وأحيانا اخرى صوت جمجمة بعضهم وهي تتكسر كالزجاج .

حوسبنا و نجانا الله ، ثم بدأنا نلتمس طريقنا إلى الجنة ،وفي الطريق لم أكن أركض بسرعة البرق و لم أركب حصانا طائرا مثل كثير ممن مروا فوقنا .

وبالرغم من أن سيئاتي لم تكن كثيرة ، وحتى بعد أن فشل جلدي وأصابعي في توريطي ؛ إلا أن حسناتي ذهبت مع آخرين ادعوا أنني غبتهم ؛ لهذا فقد توجب علي المشي مع أصدقائي الذين كان نصفهم يزحف على بطنه ، كنا عراة ، وكان الرجال يختلسون النظر إلينا ولا يتورعون عن التحرش بمن تصل أيديهم ، هكذا هم دائما .

لا يوجد رجل حي يفوت على نفسه فرصة النظر إلى امرأة عارية حتى ولو كانت في أرض المحشر .

أما نحن النساء فكانت عيوننا معلقة بالأعلى ننتظر توصيلة من أحد الطائرين ، كما عهدوا علينا في الدنيا ننتظر التوصيلات .

واحدة منا فقط حصلت عليها .

كنا حفاة ، والدم بسيل أنهارا من أقدمنا ، لم تكن هناك سماء أو أرض ؛ فقد طويت كطي السجل للكتب ،

هل يمكنك تصور ذلك ؟!

بقيت فقط الجنة والنار والطريق الذي بينهما ، اذهاننا اختلت ، وأفرغت من كل التصورات ، أو الذكريات ، الشيء الوحيد الذي بقي من أيام الزمن الجميل كانت هيئاتنا البشرية .

فقدنا صديقين في ذلك الطريق الحاد والمستقيم جدا ، وأيضا صديق آخر علق في منطقة تسمى باﻷعراف ، أخبرنا أنه قاتل مع طارق بن زياد في إحدى معاركه بدون إذن والدته.

لم أكن لأفضل رفقة رجل جاهد مع ابن زياد وبدون إذن من والدته !

وأخيرا وصلنا أبواب الجنة ، تنفسنا الصعداء جميعا عندما رأينا جناحا رضوان الخضراء .

كنا آخر سبعة دخلوا إلى الجنة ، و بعد أن اغتسلنا في نهر الحياة ، تغيرت أشكالنا ، وصار لوننا نحن الفتيات الأربعة خلاصة كل الألوان مجتمعة في أجسادنا المصنوعة من الكريستال ، سألنا الملك المشرف على ترفيهنا ما إذا كنا نرغب بلقاء ربنا ، واحدة منا أرادت ذلك ، وأخرى طلبت الإجتماع مع أهلها ، في هذه الأثناء صديقنا المتحرش اندس في بحيرة كانت تغتسل فيها حور لإحدى الصالحات ، وبدأ عمله فورا ، ابتسم له الملك وأخبره أن له سبعون يشبهن مثلهن .

فعلة صديقي تحمل في الجنة اسما آخر ، وبالتالي فهي لا تعتبر جربمة ؛ لأن الحور لم تخلق إلا لمتعة الرجال من اهل الجنة ، وأيضا نساء الدنيا ادخلن فقط لهذا الغرض .

الأربعة الباقون قرروا الإحتفال ، جاءتنا سرر مرفوعة تطفو كالسفنة على السطح ، حملتنا إلى خيمة واسعة ، وجميلة ، هذا كل ما يمكنني القول عنها ، كنت فاتنة وأنا متكئة على ذاك السرير ، أتتنا طاولات لا نهاية لها مليئة بفواكه تتلألأ وتأتي إليك بنفسها ، وشربنا حتى الثمالة بأكواب موضوعة .

احتفالنا استمر لمدة خمسين سنة .

كانت الجنة تعج بالنساء على عكس ما توقعت ؛ فكل رجل كانت له أكثر من خمسين امرأة ، وهكذا فالنساء كن أضعافا مضاعفة بالنسبة للرجال .

بعد قرن من الزمن كنت أعيش فيها عيشة رغيدة وضجرة ،

وكنت اتمنى لو علقت مع المجاهد ، أو أن لا بنفتح قبري خطأ وأبقى منطوية مع الأرض إلى الأبد ، حينها جاء أحد صديقاي من النار بعد أن عفى الله عنه وأدخله في فسيح جناته ، ويبدو أنه – مثلي – مل من النساء والرجال إلى آخر تلك المياعة قال لي “وهل أنا طفل رضيع كي أشرب تلك الكمية من اللبن كل يوم” ثم أخبرني عن جهنم ، كانت مليئة بالأحداث المثيرة ، تحالف نابليون مع استالين ويصارعون في حكم سقرة حلفا آخر مكونا من الفايكنغ برئاسة هتلر ومعه أبوجهل ونتنياهو المتعاركان بدورهم ،[حدث في النار أن تحالف هتلر مع الساميين ] وقال أن سقرة يحكمها حلف نابليون .

بعض من شياطين الإنس انقلبوا على حراس زمهريرة ، ويخوضون حروبا ضارية ضد مالك .

اسكندر الأكبر أمر جميع العلماء الذين كانوا فيها – وفي الحقيقة كلهم موجودون هناك – أن يقوموا باختراع سلاح يمكنه من الإستيلاء على النار ومن بعدها الجنة وربما على العرش وإبليس يقدم مشوراته كالعادة.

الطموحون في الدنيا طموحون في الآخرة .

وودي آلان يخرج فيلما كوميديا عن أهل الجنة ويعرض في سينما [الحطمة ] المزدهر ، في الدرك الخامس بعد أن يتم شي المشاهدين وتبديل جلودهم .

كتيبة من الملائكة حضرت الفيلم .

الحكماء والفلاسفة يجزمون أنهم في الجنة وأن النار تقع في الجانب الآخر .

شكسبير يكتب نهاية سعيدة لروميو وجولييت ، وكل العشاق اجتمعوا معا .

أنا وصديقي عرفنا أننا جزء من تلك الأحداث وأننا لا ننتمى إلى الجنة ، دلتنا الأفعى وقطفنا تفاحة ، فلما ذقنا الشجرة بدت لنا سوءاتنا وقيل لنا اهبطوا بعضكم لبعض عدو ، ولكم في الأرض مستقر ومتاع إلى حين ، وأصبحنا آدم وحواء المطرودين من الأعلى .

صحوت وأنا أنتظر بفارغ صبر [ذلك الحين ].

Marinna Shareef (Artist) is a 20 year old Trinidadian multidisciplinary artist who specialises in manipulating both digital and physical media to portray her everyday feelings. She is inspired by the magnitude and mystery of her emotions that she experiences as someone who deals with bipolar disorder, using visual imagery to organize her thoughts into a way that she can better understand.

I’m Melting
Mixed Media collage on greyboard.
This piece depicts how a depressive episode feels when I’m fighting the urge to give up.

Instagram: @mahrinnart
YouTube: MarinnaS

Saloomi (Author) graduated from Hargeisa University, and writes in both Arabic and Somali. Saloomi resides in Hargeisa.

Somali Proverbs

My people say to leave what is on this side for the flood
And to leave what is on that side for the wind:


My people are beautiful:
They say if people come together they can mend a crack in the sky.
My people are funny:
They say tea is for men and talk is for women.
My people are naïve:
They say a broken tradition angers God.
My people are nomads:
They say a man prolonging his life sees a camel give birth.
My people are wise:
They say these youth taught their mother to give birth.
My people are lovers:
They say a thousand assignations, one marriage.
My people are honest:
They say there is no life without a women.
My people say to leave what is on this side for the flood
And to leave what is on that side for the wind:
My people have been left in the past.

Nuura Axmed (Artist) posts poetry and personal essays about identity, mental health, and travel at her blog Thoughts of a Big Head. Nuura is also a visual artist who focuses on the attire (hijab) of her subjects, and the overall mood of the piece, in lieu of emphasizing facial features. She enjoys taking photographs of her grandmother, and making digital edits on her phone. She resides in London.

The above artwork is titled: Macooyo and the First Granddaughter

Instagram: @wordsbynourz

Ali Hagi (Author) is a Somali male living in San Diego, California. He is 28 years of age and was born in Qooryooley, Somalia during the civil war. His family fled and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Kenya until they were granted entrance to the US as refugees in 1993. Ali took some time off from school to find his place and figure things out. He is now pursuing a Bachelors degree in English Literature, Insha’Allah. Ali is an avid reader and writer and has been writing poetry from a young age. He takes inspiration from poets he reads as well as the stories and poetry of his grandfather, Muhammad Omar Dage, a renowned poet in his own right. Ali plans to pursue a career in writing and publish a collection of poetry as well as a novel in the near future, Insha’Allah.

Maxaa Kaa Maqan?

Waxaa iqa maqan,
That depression is not a myth,
A conspiracy of gaalo,
A break from tradition,
A rebellion against religion,
A coup,

62 Amani _ Safa

Waxaa iga maqan:
peace of mind.
A respite from overthinking,
of resting at night, like others,
and entering the garden of dreams.
Instead I lie awake regretting what was before,
anxious of what is to come,
As the present continues to elude me.

Waxaa iga maqan:
a mental burden, lifted.
I carry the expectations,
of achieving dreams, unfulfilled,
of crossing boundaries, un-navigated,
attaining accolades and diplomas,
of carrying the torch of hope
with my bare hands.
of not wincing, not complaining,
As the fiery flames of this forced role
engulf me, completely,
leaving no residue of who I was,
or what I could have been.

Waxaa iqa maqan:
belonging. To feel at home,
in my own home, in my own bones.
Not too black for this crowd,
too white for the other,
too foreign for this circle,
too western for the other.
How can I identify,
when all that I identify with rejects me?
I am a nameless, faceless ghost,
longing for and seeking out,
familiar leaves, friendly waters,
founded foundations,
something to call my own.

Waxaa iqa maqan,
That depression is not a myth,
A conspiracy of gaalo,
A break from tradition,
A rebellion against religion,
A coup,
Overthrowing all that you know,
Disregarding all that you do,
It’s an illness,
A dark cloud,
A swallowed pain,
A bottomless well of emptiness.

Waxaa iqa maqan:
That you too hurt,
that in the wrinkles beneath your eyes,
and between the gaps in your teeth,
on the calluses of your palms,
that you carry pain
that traveled miles with you.
That you too, are hurting.
That bloodshed can be washed from your hands,
though not so easily from your mind.
That you feel alone,
that you feel without a home,
that you lie awake many nights,
worrying about what has been,
and what is yet to come.
That I put a name to your pain,
that I put a name to my pain,
that I put a name to our pain,
that together, we can overcome.

The above image is part of a collaboration between:

Amina M.
Instagram: @4nine2 
Website: www.4nine2.com

Safa M., professional photographer based in Vancouver, BC.


Anisa Hagi-Mohamed (Author) is a dedicated mother, wife, teacher and writer. She spends most of her time lost in thought or daydreaming, cooking/foodography and starting projects she knows she will never finish. She hopes to one day publish a novel, memoir and cookbook, all in that order. She blogs at www.anisahagi.com 

About her poem, “Maxaa Kaa Maqan?,” Anisa says: Often, when the elder generation inquires about the younger generations’ mental health issues and illnesses, their first reaction is usually to ask: Maxaa kaa maqan? Meaning what is missing (from you)? Shelter, a warm bed, food, and a plethora of material, tangible possessions are ticked off. Parents can’t fathom what might trouble a mind, if a stomach is full, if all the faculties of hearing, seeing, etc. are working.

Forbidden Fruit

Avocados and bananas spoil unless you coat them in lemon…

52 Ikram Ahmed - Untitled Image 1

Avocados and bananas spoil unless you coat them in lemon—

burning them a little so they become vigilant

& right their wrongs before Armageddon.

Karima signature

Ikram Ahmed (Photographer)

Instagram: @byikramnur

Karima Osman (Author) studies public health and medicine, and enjoys the art of poetry in her free time as a way to reconnect with her motherland, the nation of poets. She runs a blog, Nomadic Intuition, where she features her writing and has self-published a poetry chapbook in 2016. We hope you enjoy her words.

Instagram: @arim.ka 
Find Karima’s book, Bishara, at this link


Maahmaah tun weyn baa leh
Ninkastaaba tulud geela
Ama tiro wuxuu haysto

58 Suleman Hersi - Untitled (Merry go round)

Maahmaah tun weyn baa leh
Ninkastaaba tulud geela
Ama tiro wuxuu haysto
Ceel iyo darkii soo tub
Waana tabarta xeeshiisa
Halkuu dhigi tayuubkiisa
Tixda waxaan araartayda
Ugu ladhay tusaalaynta
Garashadu hasoo toosto
Tabashana wada gaadho
Tolka gebi ahaantoodba

Af dal dhan ah tilmaantiisa
Af dad dhan ah tiraabtiisa
Misna tebinta weedhiisa
Ninka tirin u xaydxayta
Badawnimo in loo tiirsho
Maskaxday kasoo tarantay
Inagaa tilmaantaas leh

Tabar duunyo lagu qaaday
Qof tiraab ku doondoonay
Tahli maayo helideedde
Qof wuxu ku tookhaayey
Tahanbaab la doonaaya
Intuu taag awoodaayo
Gomadaha ku tuuraaya
Hantidiisu tuug booba
Iyo telef ma waayeyso
Isaguna tafiir laawe

Teel teel u yaalkeena
Iyo beelo kala teedka
Taageero cadaw siinta
Walaalkana takoorkeenu
Kalsoonida wixii toogtey
Weeye tiray odhaahdeena

Af tubeec kusoo heesay
Gaariye tixraac suuban
Tuducyada kusoo qaatay
Tabantaabo helay waayo
Taariikhna geli waayey
Sow inuu dadkii tiirshay
Waa gartiise tebo maaha

Inagaa cidlada taagnay
Afka tahar ku sooryeynay
Inagaa markuu tiicay
Taageera garan waynay
Tiradeenu waa duul dhan
Taranteenu waa qoomam
Waxa tuulan dunideena
Afaf lagu tiraab sheegto
Luuqdeenu kuma taale
Caku tiro badnaanteena

Tebi oo ku baro diinta
Hanti weeye toolmoone
Ha is dhihin tacliintaadu
Weligeed ma toosayso
Jeeerood afkana tuurto
Taariikh hidde na laasho

Toosh iyo ka dhigo nuurba
Haka talin dhamaadkiisa
Waa taajka sumadeene
Tacadiga kadaa weedha
Ha turxaamin suugaanta
Talo iyo ka dheef waano
Dadka aad kasoo tarantay
Ruush iyo talyaan maaha
Carab iyo tigreey maaha
Ingiriisna kuma toostid

Soomaali baad tahaye
Ha tirtirin astaantaada
Halacsiga tigaad beeran
Waa tacab gadaashiisa
Inaguna tartami mayno
Afka oo tabaalaysan
Halkuu tegay asaageenu
Faca tiigsan kari mayno

Tarbiyee ilmaha waani
Tawxiid markuu qaybo
Iyo tiir islaamkeena
Afka hooyo waa taajir
Ilbaxnimo tubteedii dhe
Hanka toosi waa guule

Suleman Hersi (Photographer) is a 27 year old civil engineering student, who holds a BS in engineering. He has always enjoyed being creative, and has tried his hand at various art forms including poetry, short stories, rapping, and beat-boxing. Photography is a medium he returns to regularly. From 2013 to 2016, Suleman simply used his smartphone to capture images; by 2017 he found freelance photography work. His dream is to work as a concert photographer, as he enjoys the show energy and atmosphere. Suleman will travel to Somalia next year for photojournalism. He resides in Asker, Norway.

Instagram: @ihersi
Website: http://www.ihersi.com

Maariya Cisman (Author): “Magacaygu waa Maariya Cismaan Maxamed joogta Boorama  waxan ku dhashay magaalada Burco sannaddii 1996-dii, halkaas ayaanan ku barbaaray 2012 ayaan dhammeeyey waxbarashada dugsiga dhexe, isla 2012 ayaan usoo wareegay magaalada hargaysa halkaas oo aan ka bilaabay waxbarashada dugsiga sarre.
Sannadii 2016-kii ayaan qaatay shahaadda dugsiga sarre, waxaanan jaamacada camuud ee magaalada boorama ka bilaabay cilmiga shaybaadhkha. Welina waan wadaa, waxaan ahay hal-abuur afka hooyo ku gabya.”

Facebook: @maria.osman.33
Instagram: @MaariyaCisman

Poem, Untitled (2)

Gadgadoonka waayaha
Xiliyada is garab yaal
Haddii uu garaadkaa
Maankaagu gaabshoo
Gaadhi waayo meeshii
Naftu kuu galbineysoo
Hakad uu kusoo galo
Ha giriifin noloshee

19 Sumaya Mohamed

Gadgadoonka waayaha
Xiliyada is garab yaal
Haddii uu garaadkaa
Maankaagu gaabshoo
Gaadhi waayo meeshii
Naftu kuu galbineysoo
Hakad uu kusoo galo
Ha giriifin noloshee

Geenyada jareysoo
Godkii hore ka digo rogo
Gobolkuba haduu dumo
Galbis weeye maantaas
Iyo waxaan lasoo gocan
Waagii soo guduutana
Yi’ didiilo gaariyo
Waa nasiib kusoo galee
Haka gaabsan hanashada
Gunta dhiisha uga tolo
Shalay galab wixii tagay
Weligaa hasoo gocan

Sumaya Mohamed (Photographer) is an aspiring visual artist currently based in Bosaso, and roaming around Somalia. Her images portray everyday life in the motherland.

Instagram: @svmaya

Naaima Abdi (Author): “Waxaan ku barbaaray dalka Jarmalka, waxaan kusoo noolaa isagana dalka UK, imikana waxaan si rasmi ah u dagnahay Hargeisa, hal-abuurka ama qorida maqaalo iyo maansooyin u badan hogol tusaalayn, waa ii hobby ama maararow, waxaan inta badn ku cabiraa aragtidayda ku waajahan duruufaha kala duwan ee bulshada soo waajaha, sida baahi, xanuun, i.w.m.”

Instagram: @na_poetry