Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Why I wear a Face veil

As you go regarding in your daily activities in Mogadishu, you cannot miss the amount of face veils on display. Almost all the women wear a full face veil. While conducting a quick survey on why a face veil is widespread, I couldn’t come up on a conclusion myself so I asked a young Somali woman to take her much appreciated time and write an article to explain on her reasons for Moga Tribune.

A face veil is an Arab tradition and not compulsory in Islam. Even when you do your pilgrimage at Hajj, the closes’ you can get to Allah (SWT), women cover themselves from head to toe but leave the face open as it isn’t an issue. Here’s her article:

For me, wearing a veil has a sense of Islamic identity. When you wear full hijab (covering of the head, neck, chest) there is no doubt that you are Muslim. You will not be mistaken for anything else but a Muslimah. The hijab provides me with an identity. I don't have to tell people she is a Muslim, as it shows.

The full face veil has its major benefit in the sense of privacy. The face veil “hides” me from prying eyes and helps me to “lower my gaze”. Men do not gaze at you in a sensual way, they do not approach you in a sensual way, and neither do they speak to you in a sensual way. Rather, a man holds you in high esteem and that is just by one glance at you! It is also provides a sense of security and confidence where one can go about with your daily life without any worries.

Face veil gives you the freedom of movement and expression. I can able to move about and communicate without fear of harassment. My Hijab gives me a unique confidence. It truly is a blessing to walk freely without anyone giving you un-necessary glances or making you feel intimidated.

But these days in Mogadishu face veil has its risk, especially in governmental areas because
it presents a grave security risk. They had been incidents which occurred in Mogadishu when the government troops were killed by armed men wearing the face veil in order to pretend they were women. So a full face veil can have great disadvantages as it can arise suspicious like incidents I have mention above.

On the whole, I wear a face veil because I want to go about with my privacy and I wear it as a choice rather than being forced upon me.

Z - Guest Writer

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Survivor’s not Victims

I regret to admit but trauma has caused a long painful suffering on our beautiful mothers and sisters in Somalia. We at SOYDEN have been conducting a Trauma Community Forum in the 16 districts of Mogadishu and the stories I have heard have shed light into the atrocities our people have faced. 

Along with my colleagues, listening to our communities about the long suffering they had witnessed the last 2 decades makes one feel numb and absolutely emotional. Somali women have suffered enough and are the true winners of the horn of Africa for staying so strong.

They are winner’s because they have kept faith and stridden along with the daily lives and supporting their families. They are winners because they have never given up hope. They are winners because they faced their entire deep trauma’s single handily without letting their emotions get the better of them. They are winners because they have kept their families together without much support. They are winners because they are our mother’s and have shown great patience.

 I pray to god that our mothers and sister, who I feel are survivors, for long prosperity and happiness in their lives. 

And Inshallah, I’m sure their time to shine and receive their rewards is only around the corner.

Soomaaliya Ha Noolaato!

Mohamed Hassan (Dj)

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Have Faith Somalia!

Liido Sea Food Restaurant, a popular gathering for Somalis to relax
(Picture courtesy of Moga Tribune)

Shocked? Yes. Terrified? No. Disgusted? Of course. Angry? Most definitely! What I had witnessed this afternoon has touched me so much. It’s so sad to see my beloved nation still being scarred by groups who have no moral or faith. I have witnessed a car bomb go off at Liido Sea Food, a popular restaurant right on the tip of the Indian Ocean.

Just after we had all thought the high times of Somalia was re-emerging, a car bomb was detonated today in Mogadishu where me and some friends, by the will of Allah, had escaped within seconds. The power of the bomb was the most shocking and loudest sound I had ever heard and would not wish on anyone to ever witness.

Recapping my thoughts while alone in my room, the saddest reflection evolving on my mind is why would you target a restaurant? What could you possible achieve? The ideology of some of my countrymen really is disturbing. This is not an Islamic action, no. This is a personal war being fought by groups who only want full control over Somalia. This is a war for power and nothing else.

If you have ever witnessed an explosion, you would know the mind automatically goes on a confused feeling of not knowing what had just happened or where in the world you currently may be. Countless thoughts come across your brain, whether to run, help casualties, duck for cover and so on. After all, you are a human and always your first actions are to protect yourself. But what if you have persuaded friends to come along with you when they probably had other plans? I’m sure a feeling of guilt runs through you and their safety will be a priority as they have cancelled plans to fit into your schedule. I am grateful to Allah for protecting us.

All praises go to Allah for guiding us and returning us back to safety. Only a real man would accept his responsibilities and a coward would avoid all consequences. 

Allahu Rahma to those who died and a full recovery for the injured.

The explosion had occurred in the parking area of the restaurant were a car fully loaded with explosion, was left at the driveway. We had arranged to go for a quick coffee to relax and take a breather from work life. Approaching, we had briefed ourselves whether we should go inside the restaurant, or drive past it and park right nearby next to the beach for a quick view over the Indian Ocean. While concluding, we had agreed to go inside the restaurant for coffee and then maybe over to the sea.

At this moment, we had parked our car right outside and this is only by the grace of Allah. While locking our vehicle, BOOM, the loudest explosion with thick black smoke rising from the parking lot. Our vehicle shook with all windows smashing, which caused debris all over. The sound of the explosion still rings right across my ears.

One can never get tired of thanking Allah for steering us away from going inside the gate to park in the space provided. Had we not done that, who knows what would have happened?

I can only continue praying for my people to be re-united as prayer is a tool which I have full confidence on.

Wherever you may be, please pray for Somalia Inshallah

Soomaaliya haa Nolaato!

Mohamed Hassan (Dj)

Thursday, 14 February 2013

One People, One Nation and One Culture
When one hears Somalia, one pictures famine and war. Somalia was formerly the powerhouse of Africa. A place were African leaders would approach to the former but now deceased Somali President, Mr Siaad Bare, for advice, capacity building and aid for their internal problems. 22 years on, Somalia depends on African nations for peace and Security.

We have a vast nation with the longest coastline in Africa, one language, one religion and one culture but are divided in mindset. We need to assemble trust with one another after so many difficulties and heartbreaks.

 At this current rate, Xamar is a peaceful city. Everything looks back to normal. People are rebuilding their lives and livelihood. You do hear the odd bullet going off but this is due to some of the police force high of marqaan. The city is buzzing, and the Diaspora is coming back. The beaches are full, lot of traffic with the sound of car horns constantly on replay. I’ve met some Fellow Brits and quite a few American youths who, just like me, are back on home soil since childhood but for a few of them their first times.

It does seem at this tempo, unity is inevitable but with one outstanding predicament, tribalism. We must start a scheme to raise an awareness of the social problems clan mentality can cause to our beautiful nation and its people. This must be done as soon as possible to take full advantage of the peace process and to educate our future leaders the setbacks it can cause. We cannot afford another setback on war and destruction.

Furthermore, what I am stating here does not mean to fully erase tribalism, no. But we must not let clan dictate our lifestyle, political views and social life.

What I mean is very simple, I'm a Somali

Mohamed Hassan (Dj)

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Mogadishu's Lost Children

This is an article I wrote back on 24/07/2012. I re-published this to highlight the problem some of our young children are facing in the rapid progress the country is currently witnessing. Although the city is getting safer by the day, we cannot forget our young.

WHEN you travel in Mogadishu, Children have a large presence across the city. Everywhere you go, you see a child with a brush and tin full of polish. In the KM4 district, there are a lot of children with boxes of polish looking to shine anybody/clients shoes.

 As I was lingering around the neighbourhood, I could see older men treating the young children, some as young as 6, like they were “owned” for that 4 minutes of getting their shoe cleaned. You can see the lost and humiliation the child is feeling right across his/her eyes although one has to see the pressure the kid has in order to support his/her family and the value this income can provide. No child ought to face these responsibilities.

The kid would often charge for 2,000Somali Shilling, which is exactly 9 cents in US dollars, for a clean shining shoe. In those 4 minutes, it seems like the child is working as if they would earn about $100. Sometime, the way they are treated and humiliated is absolutely disgraceful. They are sent by their parents to earn a living while the parent is either selling pastries in a food stall or begging across the other street. 

Mogadishu has changed and it seems as if Mogadishu has forgotten its “lost” children. Things need to change and they need to change now. A new legitimate government has opened its doors for the first time in 22 years. The government must recognize there are a lot of problems to deal with in Mogadishu. We cannot just wave our hands across this problem.

The government/institution must open up schools, recreation centre’s, trauma classes and teach people about the environment and how one can support or sponsor a child in their local community.

As the rich is getting richer, on this current rate, it really does seem the poor will only get poorer and the streets of Mogadishu are only evident to see.

Mohamed Hassan (Dj)