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Safi Abdi

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Safi Abdi

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Tearlessness has blocked our Vision
By Safi Abdi   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, May 05, 2007
Posted: Saturday, April 28, 2007

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Do Somalis cry? Do they have emotions like other people? Does heartache mean anything to them? Do they hurt when throbbing with pain?

How many of us really cry when we see ourselves on TV: Disheveled. Deranged. Divided. Feeble. Cracking guns. Right at the bottom of human society?

 

How many of us really feel anything when we are met at foreign airports with derision and unwelcoming stares? Really, how many of us know that we are all Somalis and that as far as the outside world is concerned we are one and the same? And that as long as we don’t forgive each and show mercy to each other no one will ever take us seriously? Indeed, how many of us really wonder at the gravity of our situation?

 

If the happenings of the past 16 years are anything to go by, we should by now know that we Somalis have become experts at dismantling our home and dispersing our people. A visit to any Somali discussion group will show us just how further removed we have become from our original Somali-ness even though every site is screaming Somalia . Somalia . Somalia . Our failure to unite in loving brotherhood has shown us, and the world, just how deep this disconnection has dug into the Somali psyche.

 

Even though we say we are Muslims, even though we swear on the Qur’an, even though we read:

 

(And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; (Chapter 3, Verse 103)

 

And again,

Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations after receiving Clear Signs: For them is a dreadful penalty,-  
( Chapter #3, Verse #105)

 

Tafararaq has become a badge we wear with glee and satisfaction. Brothers and sisters, don’t be fooled, to remove this pandemic it will take more than a few handshakes and a few signed papers.

 

Personally, I blame our hardheartedness and obstinacy on the day’s tragic state. Of all the emotions that Allah has endowed with man, the one we Somalis lack the most is compassion, and I can’t see us acquiring that quality unless a drastic change comes from within each and every Somali.

 

All we see are the negative vibes, brute forces and general nonchalance, while Islamic tolerance, brotherly love and compassion for our fellow citizens have all been slaughtered at the altar of dispassion. 

 

I hope I am not exaggerating and that you won’t disregard this as a hare-brained woman’s delusions. I want you to keep reading and I want you to be honest with yourself. This is a reality and we Somalis are living with it as we speak. There are no tears in our eyes. There is no compassion in our hearts. Some of us shout and howl, but are we capable of shedding honest tears? Are we capable of repentance? Is it possible for us to face our Lord and tell Him the Truth, nothing but the truth, in prayer and truthful recognition of our failing as a community? Our Lord! We are sinners, all of us, East, West, South and North. Some of us had been responsible for past sins and some of us have repeated and tripled those sins. But now we're sorry for destroying ourselves, our nation and our people. We are sorry for giving Islam a bad name. We had been shortsighted and ungrateful. Will you please accept us, change our hate into love, and make us into loving humans who can co-exist and can take care of their own, and are at peace with their neighbors and humanity as a whole?

 

If there is one thing we’ve learned during these trying times, and even before that, it is that we Somalis are hardhearted, hardheaded and  unrepentant. It’s anathema for Somalis to bend. A Somali man does not cry. The community does not allow fathers and brothers to shed tears, in as much as they abhor admitting their mistakes. This is seen as weakness.

 

A conversation I overhead long ago has proven to me again and again the deep implications of what it means to be a Somali. For instance, a Somali male is a person who doesn’t show his true feelings. And no one expects him to weep at his tragedies or failings or cry or shed tears even when his loved ones pass away. Yes, a Somali male is expected to seek revenge, that he would do, especially in these times of lawlessness, and if he can’t find the culprit, he would find someone else (an innocent man) from the tribe (Jahiliya period style, pre-Islam Bedouin tradition) But will he shed tears for the departed? Don’t count on it. That’s unmanly.

 

But fortunately for the community, a certain man had once found the heart to break the cycle of the upper lip and I am not shy to share his story. He had done the unthinkable. He cried in full view of an 'observer' and was caught red-handed, shedding tears (isaga oo ilma duugaya ayaa lagu qabtay) .

 

Please note, the poor man’s wife had just passed away, leaving behind five children, and people were baffled at the very idea of his shedding tears! If this wasn’t a rare feat, I am asking, would people comment that the bereaved man was shedding tears? His wife had just passed away, and the women were flabbergasted that he should have tears in his eyes! Believe it or not, this is the Somali culture and it’s deeply ingrained.

 

A Somali male is geesi (hero) if he can kill/be killed or brave self destruction iyo dib aduun (worldy trials) with gusto and without cih! Then he is a geesi geesi dhalay (a hero and son of a hero) We are supposed to be so tough and so dogged that even our women aren’t supposed to say cih! in the throes of child labor. Small wonder that we can live with so much pain, and for so long! And we are still putting on a brave face!

 

Our culture doesn’t even allow Somali men and their living spouses to have quality time together. I guess it’s a sign of weakness for a Somali man to spend more time than necessary with his wife and children. Some merely tolerate the kids when the father happens to be around the house. I assure you if the men and the women were spending more time together we’d see less guns, less Qaat, and more hugs in the homes. But that’s altogether a different story. Off course, we are not like other people, we are Somalis and despite our dire straits we are constantly upbeat about our tragic dilemma.

 

We say we love our beloved Prophet yet we don’t follow in his footstep of tolerance, compassion or fairness. The mosques are filling up with more and more people yet no Sheikh or Imam is urging the worshippers to pray for peace, nor do they advice the worshippers on the most basic Islamic practice of becoming good husbands, good fathers, good neighbors, good Somalis or even good Muslims.

 

But stranger still is the belief (and I am basing my contentions on stories I have heard) that crying and shedding tears even at Allah's House Baitul Allah, is an ‘Asian thing’…Apparently only Pakistanis and Indians and other emotional folks cry during Hajj and Umra! Somalis crying by the Kabah, if at all it happens must be a rare sight! According to Somalis I talked to, Don’t count on your luck to see a Somali male crying his heart out by the Kabah! If feelings are at all present in this worshipper's heart, they are buried deep.

 

As people make Tawaaf, it's not difficult to spot Nigerians or Iranians or others crying in their tongues or in heavily accented Arabic, One sees Indonesians and Malaysians overtaken by emotion, but Somalis? According to Somalis themselves, Somalis don’t cry. They are not given to baring their souls. Not even to Allah, I must add. Because if we did bare our souls to Allah, the Merciful, would we remain in this disgrace for this long? I don't think so.

 

Those of you who had gone for Hajj or Umra would know the sheer magnitude of this Holy experience. This is the time when hundreds of thousands of believers converge, for some a once in a life time experience, to pay homage to their Creator Lord as guests of Ar-Rahman, the Merciful, this is the time when believers simply let go of themselves and their egos; repent from their past sins and make a vow not to ever repeat the same.

 

The Hajj is in fact a manifestation of Islamic brotherhood. As is the visit to our holy Prophet’s mosque where we are granted the chance to walk on the places our beloved Prophet and his blessed companions and family walked; this being an opportunity to mingle with those elevated spirits who cemented the ties of Islamic love and brotherhood. Unfortunately, this holy experience which can only be celebrated through tears, remorse, deep faith and renewed energy and love, simply passes by us Somalis, year after year. This opportunity for reunion and reconciliation just passes by us, year after year.

 

We all want to go to Hajj and Umra, those of us who can afford it, yet where is the love for our fellowman? Where is the hunger for brotherhood?

 

Brothers, hold it there, I am not talking about specifics here, just stating a general Somali malaise, self-righteousness and remorselessness.

 

Banal as these might seem to people not given to sentiments and Ilma duugid, such coldness speaks volumes with regards to our current situation. Some might attribute our lack of solidarity to unlucky circumstance. Some might even argue that the reason why we are not softening so easily despite all the difficulties Allah has put in our way is because we are patient people. Well, I beg to differ. We are not patient people. We are just plain hardhearted. In other words, way nan jixin jixin. So much so that the recording angels must be having a hard time wondering what to put in our books.

 

Do they not then earnestly seek to understand the Qur'an, or are their hearts locked up by them?  
(Quran: Muhammad, Chapter #47, Verse #24)

 

Without a doubt, Somali hearts are locked up, and the key, which happens to be brotherhood has been firmly buried somewhere known to us, or at least known to some of us. And unless we Somalis bring this key back, no amount of outside help, interim governments, Arab sympathies, Islamic courts or tribal associations will provide cure. Allah does not help those who do not help themselves. And unless we change from within, become sincere and upright, we will never reap the fruits of nationhood or dignity.

 

The cure is in the Somali person’s heart. Now shall we shed tears or shall we not?

 

Do they not then earnestly seek to understand the Qur'an, or are their hearts locked up by them?  
(Quran: Muhammad, Chapter #47, Verse #24)

 

Since we have come this far, I suggest that we all do this little experiment. I have got this special bucket and I want to see it filled with tears. The feelings are within us. Let’s release them into this bucket. It’s easy it can be done. And while at it, it pays to keep this in mind: We Somalis we are a tiny nation. As believers our strength lies in love, brotherhood and unity. So it is for own survival as a community that we pass this bucket around. And pass it on to the government, and on to the clan elders, to the courts, to husbands and wives, and to every Somali internet site, including all cyber lands. Then only would we be able to mend the fences, break down the walls, win each other’s hearts and bring peace and prosperity to our nation.

 

Wassalalahu ala sayidina Muhammad wa calla aalihi wa assahabihi wassalam! Wa billahi tawfiq wal hadaya.

 

Copyright Safi Abdi, 2006, edited, 2007.
   


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Reviewed by bashir mohamed (Reader) 2/21/2008
Sad situation,you are trying so hard to reach our hearts and minds.I admire your courage and determination.please keep up the good work and may allah bless you

Bashir Songe
Reviewed by Abdi-Noor Mohamed (Eagle Of Hope) 4/30/2007
It is as human to cry as to laugh. Every human being cries; some shed tears letting the steam go off. Others suppress their emotions and lock the steam inside themselves and won't release it until they take a revenge against those whom they though had offended them and sometimes they take revenge against innocents who share tribe with the culprit. This is inhumane and unislamic. During the Prohpet days(PBUH) people saw great leaders of Islam openly crying to expressing their displeasure and sad feelings over something. Crying is not a shame or a sign of weakness. It is a way of showing pain and letting others share the pain with you. Denying using such emotional outlet would lead to a dire consequence to the health of the person, community and the entire nation. Thanks dear ukhti for bringing this tearless ness issue to the attention of the world.
Abdi-Noor
Reviewed by Jibril Mohamed 4/28/2007
Somali hearts are locked and The key to the Somali person's heart is lost in the ocean. It is someone with an open heart who can cry.

'Do they not then earnestly seek to understand the Qur'an, or are their hearts locked up by them?

Afalaa yatadabaruunal Qur'aan, am Calaa quluubihim aqfaaluhaa?

Thank you walaashey. We need people with sharp brains like you. If only all Somali women were positive thinkers like you, men would never fight. This is too much. Enough is enough. No more war. We belong together. Let us join hands in bringing this hostility to an end. Thank you for being a peace activist.

Abdullahi



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