Tag: somali


The Sensationalized Somali: Anti-blackness and Islamophobia in Toronto’s Media Blog

Recently, Vice released its documentary about Toronto’s Somali communities in Dixon. Titled “This is Dixon,” the documentary attempts to find out if a gang called the “Dixon City Bloods” exists in the neighbourhood. Narrator Suroosh Alvi interviews those living in Dixon, as well as outside reporters, lawyers, and police officers. Why does a documentary that attempts to portray Dixon, centre, begin, and end with the...

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Translation Not Possible Blog

There is an episode of Star Trek’s The Next Generation (yes, I am a sci-fi nerd) where we are introduced to an alien species that only communicates through metaphors and allegories. This method of communication is incomprehensible to others who only hear the nonsensical strings of individual words, even with the technology to translate languages universally. Whenever I watch an old Somali riwaayad, the ones...

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In the Archives Blog

In February of 2015, my father, Said Sheikh Samatar, took a fall down the stairs of his home in South Orange, NJ and suffered a brain injury from which he did not recover. A year later, I am thinking about him through his things. These things are objects that carry words, written and recorded. They are in my office, some of them still in boxes....

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In the Borderlands Blog / Dispatches

Dispatches #5 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia I sit on a quiet patio in Bole on a Sunday afternoon, catching up with an old friend from Canada who, like me, is completing a PhD in history in the United States. Like me, she is a child of the diaspora, born abroad to parents from the Horn, retracing and rediscovering roots alongside academic research. It strikes me that...

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The Politics of Being Somali in East Africa Blog / Dispatches

Dispatches #4 Arusha – These last few weeks in Arusha have taught me what it means to exist as a body that is read differently from the average Tanzanian. There’s no question that my Blackness gives me a particular kind of African membership, but my body is still viewed peculiarly. My hair produces the greatest confusion. When it is uncovered people ask me if I’m...

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Federalism: By the People or For Them? Blog

For too many Somalis, the federalism project seems to be a foregone conclusion. The Federal Republic of Somalia was proclaimed almost exactly three years ago and we have had transitional federal governments for years before that. So what is federalism? Why is federalism presented as the only option for Somalia? Who chose federalism for us? I’ve been ruminating on these questions for a while and I shall...

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