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Misunderstandings of Somali Culture

March 7, 2014

When describing other cultures and peoples of different parts of the world European colonialists have always engaged in so called generalizations of encapsulating all in one basket.  A short cut understanding just to suit their imperialistic purpose of exploitation of use and throw away. They always spoke from a position of power and domination regarding themselves as better than Africans looking down upon who was not white and Christian.

Let’s not forget Richard Burton’s account of his experiences in East Africa in the mid 1800’s and what he wrote about Somalis in his famous book “First Footsteps in East Africa”

“….. true specimens of the “greasy African race,” wear locks dripping with rancid butter, and accuse their citizen brethren of being more like birds than men…………..The head is rather long than round, and generally of the amiable variety, it is gracefully put on the shoulders, belongs equally to Africa and Arabia, and would be exceedingly weak but for the beauty of the brow………They have all the levity and instability of the Negro character; light-minded as the Abyssinians……”. (First Foorsteps in East Africa, Richard Francis Burton Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1856).

Nothing much has changed 14 years after the beginning of the new millennium. Case and point is this brief “article” by  a British fellow who claims to be communication adviser to the president of the Somali Federal Republic. This individual has not understood Somali language and culture, the lexicon and the syllogism. He is absolutely not in the position to critique or call Somali people to be “…quite a xenophobic lot” or referring to his maid as being a stubborn for that is also sexist language.

At least have the decency to keep quiet and be respectful of our Somali culture and traditions. I wish that you were not in our country. |In fact, you do not qualify as being and adviser to our president for you know nothing about Somalia and its people.  Take it from me Caddeey Cameey |(white skin scarred check) who grew up on the history of Dheg dheer ( long ear) and swears by the poems of Cabdullahi Suldaan Timocadde ( white hair). How ironic that you have been given the same nick name of our glorious nationalistic poet.

Leave Somali culture and take the effort to understand its millenarian culture. Sadly, we are going through a tumultuous period of our existence but that does not mean that we have to be looked upon down. We are a fierce and proud people. Just wondering who is rude now!

“Colonies are the outhouses of the European soul, where a fellow can let his pants down and relax, enjoy the smell of his own shit.”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow


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