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
Love
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
Instagram@cushiticqueen
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

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:

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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,
acceptance.
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,
acceptance.
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:
honesty.
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…

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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

Birthyear

In the afternoon black was worn for your engagement  
Clean, smooth black like the faces circled around you, the groom to be
Prayers were recited as the wind blessed your new beginning

23 Sumaya Mohamed

The year started with a whimper
A soft cry barely heard or understood
In the morning white was worn
Clean and spotless for a funeral
Your body beneath my feet covered in a white shroud
Began to change in color as we threw dust and earth upon it
Your body seemed so small, was all I could think–
Soft
Delicate
Beautiful
Prayers were recited as the earth celebrated your homecoming

In the afternoon black was worn for your engagement
Clean, smooth black like the faces circled around you, the groom to be
Prayers were recited as the wind blessed your new beginning
The seasons come and go with vibrant colors
The moods circle around increasing and decreasing in volume
Prayers recited in between poetry and songs sung

In the evening a child was born
Blue was worn like the storm clouds gathering after the sunset
As rain pounded between leaves and pavement as I cried
My cry an entrance to this world
The rain poured for me cleansing those around me who watched
How small and fragile I looked


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

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.

 

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Inta dhimirka waalida
Dhaban dhaabay suuqyada
Inta maanku dheeliyee
aan  wali hugii dhigan

21 Sumaya Mohamed

Inta dhimirka waalida
Dhaban dhaabay suuqyada
Inta maanku dheeliyee
aan  wali hugii dhigan
Inta guri dhex joogtee
Aan cidiba dhaadayn
Inta dhibic yar uun qabee
Lagu dhibayo suuqyada
Inta magac dhibsanaysee
Dhagta loogu ridayuun
Inta ay dhalaan yari
Ka dhaarsheen inuu lado
Intaan dhuuni helinee
Dhawr caano maal qada
Inta dhaxanta jiiftee
Dhulku gogol u yahay uun
Inta dhibicda roobkiyo
Dabayluhu dharkood yahay
Inta dhaqashadoodii
Dibad yaalka laga dhigay
Waxba may dhitaysane
Wali hooy ma dhaadoo
Dhaayaha ma saartoo
Maku dhibay dhibkoodani???


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

مكتوب (Maktub)

Nothing of our circumstance is convenient.
But if a river didn’t flow steady, I wouldn’t drink from it.
& if the ocean always drew closer to the sun in her waves,
the people on boats would grieve.

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Do you see this green stem?
How can they reason that the water from the soil travels up,
If they can’t believe that we, too, will one day ascend?

& do they not know that the rain that comes down
brings with it, the whisperings of our dead?
drops of acid rain to hiss at our ancestral mistakes. 

Do you see that the sheep does not fear the pious farmer,
Even as he brings forth his sharpened tool?
The sheep knows well what is to come,
& even when the flock runs, it stays.

For the prayers recited before it’s slain will stretch themselves
into a cloak of protection on judgment day.
An atom’s weight of good can go a long way,
& this sheep knows what route is best to follow.
What is a death ordained by the pious farmer,
but a life simply tracing its destiny with the ink of honor?

***

Look at me. No, not with your eyes.
Don’t you recognize me from a past life?
Nothing of our circumstance is convenient.
But if a river didn’t flow steady, I wouldn’t drink from it.
& if the ocean always drew closer to the sun in her waves,
the people on boats would grieve.

We are born of different garments but of the same cloth,
the colors of your wisdom harmonize with the patterns of my complexity,
we pass on these garments to clothe our children and their children.
What greater thing to have in common,
than the thread that weaves through our carpet?
Like the one in my mother’s living room,
It possesses a beauty that invokes the might of sand and bottles of perfume,
for the soldier who touches it in Burma,
& the maid who sweeps over it in Khartoum. 

When tea with sugar is offered to you, remember me.
You are bound to no one, so live freely, but you’re a person of their word,
and it is you who proclaimed that
the sun doesn’t shift from its axis.
So, until you recite otherwise, I will trust it–
awaiting the day when sun meets ocean in a sunset decreed.

Karima signature


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

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.

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

Aqoonso

Dhagta ugu rid waanada
U wanqalo odhaah daada
Wakhtigana u meel dayo
Samirkana la noqo wehel

65 Amani _ Safa

Dhagta ugu rid waanada
U wanqalo odhaah daada
Wakhtigana u meel dayo
Samirkana la noqo wehel
Is aqoonsi waa kow
Waa seeska noolahaa
Dhaxal abida weeyaan
Af-gobaadsi waa u nacab
Waa u wehel kalsoonidu
Garashaduna waa weel
Waxa wiiqa gocashadaa
Waydeeya ruux wacan


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.

Hanad Darwish (Author) is an adopted Londoner, having grown up in Birmingham and moved to London to study law. He considers himself as well a part-time resident of Hargeisa, and he frequents the city every chance he gets. Hanad has been in love with Somali art and literature since hearing Mohammed Mooge’s “Saxarlaay ha fududaan” at the tender age of 13 or 14, but it wasn’t until the beginning of this year that he was inspired to write his first-ever piece of Somali poetry. “Aqoonso” is his second piece of writing, which explores the beauty of reflection, acceptance, and confidence in oneself.

Mental Health is a Bitch Sometimes

The Mental Institution

I’ve been trying to collect myself.
I’ve been told to take it easy.
But self care turns into isolation.
I feel like
I’m not worth it.
I looked at myself in the mirror and wonder if the pain will ever leave my face.
I make wudu and ask god to forgive the mistakes I’ve made.
I hold my hands up high and make dua and cry to allah to help me find happiness again.
I’m broken and still need fixing.
My new canvases are there unused and still in plastic.
The love I had for creating is gone.
This keyboard laughs at me with dust and a full battery.
It feels like the more push myself towards dreams, the faster I want to run away from it.
I’m stuck.
I’ve been in the same spot for hours and I can’t move.
The only thing moving is my thoughts.
And I’m here, creating, erasing, creating, rereading.
Without art I would have lost access to my most honest thoughts.
Thoughts that my mouth can’t say.
So I’m silent.
But, here I am creating, existing, and telling myself:
“You are worth it, you are beautiful, your work matters, and above all, you’re still alive. And that’s a beautiful thing.”


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.

The Mental Institution
Acrylic Fluid and Resin on Stretched Canvas.
The above piece was inspired by the collective chaotic thoughts that occur within a mental institution.

Instagram: @mahrinnart
YouTube: MarinnaS

Ladan Abdi (Author) is a Somali-American painter and writer born in Salem, OR, raised in Corvallis, and currently living in Portland. Her artwork represents her love for her culture, religion, nature, and warm colors. Ladan’s hope is that others can relate to her experiences and hardships through her writing. She has performed poetry for events, fundraisers, and art shows in the Portland metro area. In 2018, her artwork will be featured in the new Virginia Garcia Hospital in Beaverton, OR. On social media, Ladan posts art related on topics related to identity, self-love, mental health, and healing.

Instagram: @flowers4ladan
Twitter: @afrocan_dream
Tumblr: afrocandream