Zoobe

*originally shared this on FB to mourn with my community, and sharing here to connect with my brothers and sisters outside of my social spaces*

 

In 2015, I left Kismayo to move to Mogadishu for good. As the car descended upon Airport Road to make a turn on the roundabout, heading to KM5, I remember the liveliness of Zoobe, its hues visible as hell. So much traffic. I mean Mogadishu is a lively city, but Zoobe was popping.

There was so many interesting storefront businesses; their names painted in the most lucid colours. bustling streets, cheeky merchants, and the people, so many people. My god there were so many people. I remember the traffic so well. I settled in a house there, with roommates, who are now family.

Friends remember my anxiety every time we drove down KM5 to work; “Take the smaller roads, get of the hell out of this junction, I don't wanna die here,” I would scream, as I kept my head down, and hid in the back seat. I’m ashamed of this sight, but my friends know and remember how much of a coward I was. I’m an admitted coward, but it wasn’t just that.

I thought of nothing but the sheer number of pedestrians and cars. “My god, if they ever hit us here, it will be a catastrophe” I screamed at passenger friends. Traffic of that magnitude made me nervous, made all of us who visit that area, work there, live, eat, play, laugh, business, and pray; nervous. That horrible day came.

Zoobe, where I met the love of my life. Where I danced, cried, built dream empires with, discoursed all of Somalia’s problem away, and laughed with friends, who’ve turned into family. It’s where so many worlds meet. Popularly known as hub where all the hip spots dwell.

Where the youth talk shop, shukansi, and debate. Where we shop, and where we feed. It is truly a magnifying neighbourhood-one I’m so honoured to call home now, as many of us do, and did, and will. It is one of the vessels of the electrifying city, Mogadishu, that doubles up as broken heart of this nation.

I’ve never cried this much in the entirety of my life. And close ones know what a life i've lead.. Not when I lost the man who made me, three months ago. Not in the many other explosions before it. Not during the many trials and tribulations of our daily lives. This one broke me. Mostly because I wasn’t there. This one broke all of us. Over 300 lives. What a way to close off a Saturday. Only in Somalia. I can't even say the number. How do begin to pick that apart? Make sense of it.

I’ve never felt so close to my community as I do now. Like many of you, I’m angry and I want answers and heads on the chopping block.

But before this, I want us to remember how beautiful we are in this moment. Each one of us, holding back the urge to call everyone out. The urge to not ‘politicize’ the most political hit against the very heart of our world. 300 + humans lost, and folks told us to shut up, and not ‘politicize,’ and we listened. 300+, numbers still not in. The number of lost loved ones, still unclear.  In a few days, I’ll write about how politics cannot be divorced from anything in Somalia, ever, ever, anything. But not today.

Everyone is silencing their reactionary impulses, their knowledge of the root causes, their personal politics, their intel, their allegiances, and their need to grab the demons responsible for this, and thrown them in an bottomless hole with their political and social enablers. But we’re all holding back, and trying to find the love and light in this.

In the coming days, we will emerge from the mourning, some friends/families will be left to sit alone, and continue their sorrow in private company, as a few days can’t begin to prepare one for a life without a loved one. I’ve learned this.

Those of us, without immediate sorrow, free from immediate grief in our homes. It’s time we start asking the difficult questions in the coming days. Every single one of us has a role in this.

From the sympathizers we house, to the corrupt and inept politicians we befriend and laugh with, but shake our heads at the idea of them in the work of governance. To the men and women getting sun tans in Halane. To the constant critics, and the mashruuc-raadis optimists. To the complacent ones, myself included, who believe the work of rebuilding a failed state lies in rhetoric and constant critique. All of us need to take a good look at yesterday’s travesty. 300 plus lives taken. What role do we play? And if we give a damn about fixing it, what's the extent of our commitment?

The world has had enough of us; the leader of their 'free world' even banned us. This can’t continue. No one wants refugees anymore.

The days of taking our political offices for granted cannot continue, the mourning cannot continue. The sociopaths who did this, sitting at the gates of Mogadishu, hiding in Lower Shabelle, in Jubba,and in Galgala Mountains; need to be plucked out like the cancerous tumor they are, and along with the keepers of their ideology, their intolerance, their enablers in our government suits, and their moral supporters-in-absentia. But to do this first, requires an understanding of this disease. 

Until then, let’s try to love on one another. We’re so cynical, eyes-rolling, i can hear the ‘caadi ask dhiig’ already, and it’s understandable.

Whose ever taught us that our lives matter, our deaths a tragedy and undeserved. No one. Let’s begin the road to recovery with empathy and love. So that’s why I wrote this. To tell every single Somali out there, I love you, you matter, you inspire me, and I’m sorry if I’ve never told you this before. It's not easy being us, but I wouldn't want it any other way. I love you guys. 

Afrolens