Reaching the West (Tahriib)

Oh media, we have no knowledge except that which you’ve bestowed upon us! Their truth remains stained by your falsified fiction; in the Society of the Concealed Sun, the shadows provide the only truth you know.

A Submission 25 -

  1. The nomads crossing seas represent not merely the uneasy equilibrium of their ancestral lands; they embody the continuing pain of change in its purest process, passing borders and human boundaries, carrying rose-watered tears of intertwining, individual hopes and familial aspirations, opening the doors of interconnectivity between billions of singularities.
  2. However, the changing political climate of the accumulative western masses, much like the weather of Denmark, remains clouded, rainy, and stormed by a prejudice, disguising the abrupt melancholy of the sun’s children, abandoned by their mother, and left in the darkness, exhaling in sadness, as she exhaled a soured smell.
  3. Upon arrival, the fleeing children inhale the oppressive smog in unison, realising; that they will never be as deeply, as solemnly, and as brazenly free as they were in the “motherland.” Nationalist fears and phobia, imprisons them systematically, evidently, judging and jailing the frozen bodies of southern folk, with misery gleaming in their eyes as they reach the West.
  4. The refugees, the ultimate recipients of deaf Western ears, live in fear since there is no solace to be awaited at these gates of “Paradise.” They’ve been battered and bruised and accused of being the plague, as they beg for safe passage, and as the ebbing tides of humanitarians’ hearts shift, harden, and transmute into rocks, some even harder.
  5. If they felt the wandering souls’ pain, if they realized that the minority does not erode the majority, could something change in The Normative Mind? Nevertheless, they remain quiet; a society shall not discredit its own. They shall distance themselves, while the media dictates our differences; so, they say all glory belongs to you, media!
  6. Oh media, we have no knowledge except that which you’ve bestowed upon us! Their truth remains stained by your falsified fiction; in the Society of the Concealed Sun, the shadows provide the only truth you know. And fear is accompanied by ignorance and collective hatred bleeding into one another: potent like the poisoned milk of broken mothers, it nurtures a new cycle of change.

FARDOSA SULEIMAN (Photographer) is nineteen years old and from San Jose, California. Fardosa began taking photographs only one year ago.

Instagram: @fvrdosa
Twitter: @fvrdosa

YAQUB MU’MIN TOXOW (Author) is a Danish-Somali poet and community activist engaged in issues of contemporary immigration, intersectional oppression, and social mobility.

Instagram: @muuminos

Hoyoo Ma Talo

Jilbabi

Hoyoo Ma Talo.

She went to buy some milk,

left the war and now her keys are by the kitchen sink.

Hoyoo Ma Talo.

She forgot to say bye,

walked away from the TV, tribal cries.

Hoyoo Ma Talo.

Abo waved me off again.

Eyes glued to Horn Cable; politics begins.

Hoyoo Ma Talo.

I lost my Hoyoo, Abo where is she?

She’s in her room. He’s pointing.

Hoyoo Ma Talo.

I refuse to pick up the phone,

all I see is flaming-orange handprints on the walls,

Hoyoo Ma Talo.

The floors littered with her dahaab,

all from her hustle and my lack of adab.

Hoyoo Ma Talo.

She tells me her stories-

Tahrib from Hargeisa, Djibouti, Syria and Turkey,

Hoyoo Ma Talo.

She lost them all young.

The war that took everyone,

Hoyoo Ma Talo.

Ayeeyo Ma Talo.

Haboo Ma Talo.


HIMILO DARWISH (Artist) is a 23 year old business student. She has been drawing since she can remember. Her artwork currently revolves around her identity as a Muslim, Somali, Black woman living in the UK. She resides in London.

Instagram: @dazmyart

FATHA HASSAN (Writer) is a Creative Writing and English Literature graduate, born and raised in London. She loved writing after discovering her talents while studying in university. She now hopes to finish and publish the novel she started as part of her dissertation.

Instagram: @fathaaaonline

Retribution

My last few months as a citizen of the country were spent in an old industrial factory only about a mile from the southernmost edge of the border. Every day I would arrive to work at six in the morning and leave at six in the evening. I had a trusted friend there who would tell me about how other people escaped and helped me formulate the last details of my own Tahriib act.

A Submission 35 - Asha Nooh

Where I come from, no one ever gets their way. My life has been extremely lucky, but not one without sacrifice. Nothing but hatred comes from that wretched land; it barely qualifies as a nation. A false democracy permeates the unknowing atmosphere. Each and every year, the people democratically vote for their dictator; the only name on their ballots. He then continues to strip away civil rights, sanctify enslavement and puts his needs ahead of “his” people’s. It is amazing how this level of suppression is able to exist in the world. Even with such an air-tight seal on the country, government bodies around the planet have caught wind of the barbaric laws that exist there, and the crimes against humanity that they bring. The country’s motto was basically: No one in, no one out! I am one of the few who got out.

The words: “ALL CITIZENS MUST BAND TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD OF THE REPUBLIC” are plastered in every direction one can look. My government would attempt to use propaganda to maintain their hold on the population, and only use brute force on those who decided to take action. We were being persuaded that we were on the “good” side, that everyone else is going to come invade soon and we must be ready. Nationalism is a funny, but powerful thing. People tend to agree that the side they’re on is the best no matter what. To this day, I am thankful that I was able to see through the veil of lies.

I was orphaned at a very young age. When I was 15, I began work. My many odd jobs allowed me to see the cracks that the system was built upon. There were people everywhere who hated their lives. They were forced to live through hard labor with no benefits because it was for “the good of the people,” all while seeing one man reap the benefits. At 18, my boss casually mentioned someone escaping the country. Over the next two years, that comment snowballed into a plan. As an unskilled worker, I had time to think while I worked in the mines, or in the fields or in the factories while I mindlessly completed my day’s task. It was not until last year that I set it in motion.  

My last few months as a citizen of the country were spent in an old industrial factory only about a mile from the southernmost edge of the border. Every day I would arrive to work at six in the morning and leave at six in the evening. I had a trusted friend there who would tell me about how other people escaped and helped me formulate the last details of my own Tahriib act.

With excitement I took one last look at my home and stepped into the water.

In order to leave, one has to physically cross the border. Obviously right? Well not quite. No planes go in or out, or cars, trucks or trains. The only way out was by foot and it was a long walk. The border was in the middle of an open plain with a body of water running along the side and not getting spotted by the literal thousands of guards patrolling the area while crossing the plain is the most difficult thing possible but I knew just how to get around it.

At this point, you might be wondering why more people weren’t leaving. Why my friend in the factory wasn’t joining me on my adventure. This is one of the most barbaric parts of living there. Your family and friends will all be punished for your crimes, including fleeing the country. Luckily for me, I had no one close to me. I moved around all my life and never made attachments. This is why I consider myself lucky.

Waking up extremely early, I started to do what I have always dreamed. There was a tiny creek that ran out into the river that stretched the open plain in my backyard. My brilliant plan was to swim to my freedom. Instead of meticulously creating a hatching a scheme to stealthily sneak around through the line of sight of the guards, I have been practicing holding my breath.

With excitement I took one last look at my home and stepped into the water. Once I was in, there was no way back, only forward. I swam beneath the surface for as long as I could in order to minimize my visibility. Every second my head was exposed to the air would increase my chance of getting caught. My determination drove me through. Swimming through that lake took almost two hours, and was the single hardest thing I have ever done, but I have not regretted it for a second.

Eventually, I made it to the other side. I ditched everything but my suitcase and ran like hell. Not once did I stop; I felt as if I were being chased even though every time I looked behind me no one was there to return my gaze. Once I made it to civilization, people realized where I had come from and wanted to hear all about me. This is the moment that I realized that exposing the conditions that I grew up in, and helping my people break the shackles of oppression is my next challenge. This is why I am sharing my story. I seek retribution upon those that have done me and my country wrong.


ASHA NOOH (Photographer) is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She captures spaces around her with a focus on Landscape Photography in her hometown and other cities. She uses photography as a way to escape the busy day and to express herself. She is working on expanding her craft into film and graphic design.

TIMIRO CAABI (Author) is a proud Somalilander artist, born and raised in Hargeisa. He wants to pursue a degree in architecture with minors mathematics and urban education policy. He wants to eliminate the gender inequality that plagues our education system, and believes such inequality to be setback for prosperity of the country. He wishes to use his gifts and talents to help his society.

Saint Siri and the Necrology of the Nameless Nomads

The sea exhales the cold air of the North, and Nomads pray not to meet Poseidon’s wrath before hearing the windy lullabies of European coastlines. The delicate murmurs of the winds, now coloured with a more urgent desperation, surround them. The fear of drowning no longer constrains them.

A Submission 22 - Fardosa Suleiman

Night after night, the Nameless Nomads run fingers and feet along a tired map, carving it with their hearts’ prayers, hoping to shorten the distance between their reality and the Northern hemisphere, so they summon her, the saint of modern hope – Siri! Season after season since Syria caught fire, she has reassured and safeguarded those leaving their homes.

The ones carrying memories that have long since become yearnings, which could only be satisfied by her visual saturation, unaware of the ghosts that haunt the hearts of the many Nameless Nomads, those who had fallen for love’s mournful melancholy.

As desperation ceases them and governance leaves them, The Nomads become paralysed by Hollywood hallucinations of green grazing valleys; of illusory realms where the trees cast shadows that are not their own. They take the long pilgrimage across the Mediterranean: Eritreans, Syrians, and Somalis holding hands as they search for the extinct shelters of philanthropic souls.

The sea exhales the cold air of the North, and Nomads pray not to meet Poseidon’s wrath before hearing the windy lullabies of European coastlines. The delicate murmurs of the winds, now coloured with a more urgent desperation, surround them. The fear of drowning no longer constrains them.

Their aspirations are growling; it feels closer now, the greener grass. But the invisible thread of WiFi is disconnected. The coast provides no shelter from the xenophobia that awaits within the hearts of fearful folk conditioned to be wary.

The nomads buffer Al-Jazeera, exhaling hungry breaths as dreams of greener grass evaporate. In societies where the concepts of shelter and prison bleed into one another, in lands that will harbor neither the sun nor sadness, where the hearts of Nomads perish soon thereafter, stranded in the blue much like thousands of other Nomads whose names we all wish we knew—Can Saint Siri save them now?


FARDOSA SULEIMAN (Photographer) is nineteen years old and from San Jose, California. Fardosa began taking photographs only one year ago.

Instagram: @fvrdosa
Twitter: @fvrdosa

YAQUB MU’MIN TOXOW (Author) is a Danish-Somali poet and community activist engaged in issues of contemporary immigration, intersectional oppression, and social mobility.

Instagram: @muuminos