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Archive for February, 2006

He could hear someone tread on the living room after knocking the door down with a bang. He certainly knew what this meant. Quick on his feet, he hid in a tiny closet behind ringed area where some firewood was burning in what resembled a kitchen.

Adam’s father had been away the whole day and hasn’t returned so he was at home with his mother and two siblings who occupied the room at the end of the tiny and dark corridor.

The streets of Mogadishu were a constant battlefield and a perfect breeding spot for all sorts of crooks, muggers and gun-wielding thugs. Carcases of dead bodies decorated the narrow streets, swimming in puddles of blood and sewage.
The rapid fire from the weapons was deafening and no one dared go outside day or night unless ready to follow the code of the crooks – kill or be killed. Shopping for food was often very difficult and Ali – Adam’s father – would go every once or twice a month (if possible) to the tiny groceries and fetch his family whatever provisions he could find. In the meantime they were subsisting on a severe nutritional regime of bread and whatever they could implore from the neighbours. Life outside the house was unbearable, and the safest place to be was indoors.

Adam’s safe haven – a tiny two bedroom house with a roof on top was at the time what he considered to be the safest place in the entire city; a place that sheltered him from the heavy bombardment of rival gangs. Now it was being invaded.

He could still hear the footsteps. By his judgment the steps belonged to about three or four men. Inch by inch they advanced, rummaging through the entire living room. In a panic, and petrified of what these raiders might do to them, he wondered if his mother and siblings were awaked by the noise. They slammed the kitchen door open and stood there looking around the room poorly lit by the dying flames of the fire. There were no lamps to illuminate the dimness, for they ran out of Paraffin the night before.

He was getting hot in the closet, sweat dripping down his eyebrows but he dared not move. His heart pounded heavily in his chest upon the procession of the burglars towards where he was hiding. It was beating hard and fast now. For once he wondered if they could hear the violent thudding of his faint heart against his ribcage, which was itself squashed by his knees. He placed his hands on top of his knees and rested his chin on them, trying to get a glimpse of the men from the tiny crack on the wooden door of the closet. With squinted eyes he could see them. They were four of them, just as he predicted, standing and laughing with one another, holding a huge arsenal of weapons – assault rifles, machine guns and small hand held guns – with bullets fastened onto their bodies. They looked menacing in every aspect. Two of the men retreated cautiously, circumnavigating the cutlery en route. They made their way through the dark corridor to inspect the other rooms in the house. ‘I cannot – should not – let them get to my mother, I can’t’, he thought to himself. He had to do something; He had to do it quick. The sitting was getting rather uncomfortable too; He squirmed around restlessly in the tiny space like a cat on a hot tin roof, careless of the amount of noise he’s making. Suddenly one of the men turned around to inspect the closet, suspecting he’d heard something and then BANG! A loud noise came from the corridor, his heart sunk.

Who was shot? As the two men in the kitchen went to inspect the gun blast, Adam came out of the closet hastily, afraid that his mother or one of his siblings has been shot.
He rushed towards the corridor, right after the two men. He strained my eyes, eager to discover the incident. Blood had been spattered everywhere along the shadowy corridor. No one was around. Where is everyone? Where are the intruders? He thought, rushing to the room where his mother and siblings had slept in. He kicked the door open and the nozzle of an Ak-47 pointed right in his face. He was taken aback, his heart stopped, he couldn’t catch his breath – the succession heavy pulses of gasps – reminded him of the time he nearly drowned in Seacoast. The heavy breathing left his throat dry so he swallowed some saliva to soak it. He couldn’t see the face of the person pointing the gun at him, due to the darkness that engulfed the room, but was now convinced that the person who was shot earlier was either his mother or one of his siblings. Why don’t they just shoot me for dead too? He didn’t feel comfortable. The nervousness was killing him. He was just thinking of running back cowardly into his closet again, regretting that he even came out of it, when the dark figure grabbed him by the hand and pulled him vigorously into the darkness. A familiar waft tickled his nostrils – It was his father! And it was he who fired the shot at the burglars and they fled away, one wounded badly. “God!” screamed Adam, heaving a sigh of relief and hugging his father tightly!

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It had just started rained. The floor, already damp and wet, reflected the nimbus clouds looming on the horizon as we sought protection from the rain under a bus stop shelter. Several people crowded the bus shelter, leaving inadequate room for any more. The clock had just struck twenty minutes past the hour of five, and by this time many workers were leaving their monotonous work places and heading for their home.

Rarely do the buses take this long to come, what has happened today? These damn buses! I was thinking to myself when a strong sensational scent, swimming with the wind currents, raided my nostrils. My mind, which was once indolent of its surroundings after a dreary day at work, was now immediately invigorated, awaken by the pleasant smell of the intruding forces; my muscles which were fatigued by the strenuous work, have now revived from spasm; my feet became more lively, my eyes more vigilant. A familiar current of electricity ran through my veins; there’s something about that scent that makes it seem a lot familiar. Where have I encountered it before? My mind started wandering as the familiar scent grew stronger and stronger, hysterically titillating the tips of my nostrils, passing the scent from one nostril and now to the other in a playful manner. My eyes frantically searched for the direction this piquant yet delightful aroma was coming from; searching to and fro, hither and thither, unconscious neither of the eccentric behaviour I am displaying inadvertently nor of the weird looks I’m receiving from the perplexed onlookers.

Why am I soaking wet? My subconscious mind subtly asks, as the conscious mind is reluctantly yet effectively overpowered by invincible and transparent invaders, not even aware that I am now standing in open air – dripping wet as the rain pours down on me. The conscious mind, drifted away by the registration of a sudden gush of cold into the system, was now once again repossessed as a gentle breeze wafted the familiar scent down the bridges and alleys then into the open air. My nostrils were now accosted by the familiar scent, excitedly caressing them. But this time coming from an Easterly direction, the scent was a lot concentrated and intense. Voluntarily, my nostrils followed the direction the scent seemed to permeate from, was it cologne? No – it was something a lot stronger; it was something unfathomable, something overpowering – it’s sweet smell, rarity and supreme qualities quite akin to the Frankincense I used gather back home. I walked over to the second shelter, still intrigued by the scent like a dog sniffing out a trail. Buses came and went, people boarded and dismounted, even the shelters which were once jam-packed are now vacant.

Minutes just rolled by, yet that scent seemed to hypnotize me, enthralling me in a way too wonderful for words, in a way no other scent has. I inhaled and exhaled, making sure my lungs are filled with the fragrant smell. Subconsciously I wondered what time it was and where I ought to be, but that feeling was trivialized when the conscious mind was subdued by the intruding scent and, out the corner of my eye, I spot a young woman walking down the road. Her manoeuvres were of regal grace; she ambled gracefully, carrying along with her the scent that seemed to send my mind packing. She didn’t seem to notice that it was even raining; in fact she wasn’t bothered by it for she didn’t have any jacket either! The closer she got, the more her scent dismantled my senses. She walked round oblivious of anyone or anything that moves and contentedly sat at the corner of the long red seat at the bus shelter; now she started fiddling about with her hair, removing the protruding strands of hair from her damp forehead. Was anyone else not aware of this? Am I the only one stirred by this angel? Have I lost my judgement? I was lost in contemplation, unaware of the old lady behind me repeating “Are you alright sir?” when she didn’t get response a couple of time she decided to talk louder “Sir, Are you alright there?” which immediately commanded my attention. I look around; a huge throng had gathered behind me as I stood there facing the shelter’s large plastic shield, standing on the large red seat. What was I actually doing and how did I end up here?

I spent nearly 15 minutes trying to gather my wits, trying to think why I have lost my judgement. What was it that commandeered my consciousness? Have I lost my sanity? No I haven’t – I was merely hallucinating. It was but a figment of my imagination – my mind’s eye having been enticed by a distinctive scent that knotted my consciousness in a complex network of fanciful images and, of course, the rather attractive young woman that smiled beguilingly at me. Finally with a shake of the head I laughed at myself, the onlookers started laughing too unable to believe the events that have were just unfolding right in front of their eyes. The rain had now stopped, and all thoughts seemed to have evaporated into thin air as I boarded the bus an hour and nine minutes after I initially came to the bus shelter – it was now twenty nine minutes past the hour of six. What a consuming element the scent is – you have to keep all your wits about you!

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It had just started raining. The floor, already damp and wet, reflected the nimbus clouds looming on the horizon as we sought protection from the rain under a bus stop shelter. Several people crowded the bus shelter, leaving inadequate room for any more. The clock had just struck twenty minutes past the hour of five, and by this time many workers were leaving their monotonous work places and heading for their home.

Rarely do the buses take this long to come, what has happened today? These damn buses! I was thinking to myself when a strong sensational scent, swimming with the wind currents, raided my nostrils. My mind, which was once indolent of its surroundings after a dreary day at work, was now immediately invigorated, awaken by the pleasant smell of the intruding forces; my muscles which were fatigued by the strenuous work, have now revived from spasm; my feet became more lively, my eyes more vigilant. A familiar current of electricity ran through my veins; there’s something about that scent that makes it seem a lot familiar. Where have I encountered it before? My mind started wandering as the familiar scent grew stronger and stronger, hysterically titillating the tips of my nostrils, passing the scent from one nostril and now to the other in a playful manner. My eyes frantically searched for the direction this piquant yet delightful aroma was coming from; searching to and fro, hither and thither, unconscious neither of the eccentric behaviour I am displaying inadvertently nor of the weird looks I’m receiving from the perplexed onlookers.

Why am I soaking wet? My subconscious mind subtly asks, as the conscious mind is reluctantly yet effectively overpowered by invincible and transparent invaders, not even aware that I am now standing in open air – dripping wet as the rain pours down on me. The conscious mind, drifted away by the registration of a sudden gush of cold into the system, was now once again repossessed as a gentle breeze wafted the familiar scent down the bridges and alleys then into the open air. My nostrils were now accosted by the familiar scent, excitedly caressing them. But this time coming from an Easterly direction, the scent was a lot concentrated and intense. Voluntarily, my nostrils followed the direction the scent seemed to permeate from, was it cologne? No – it was something a lot stronger; it was something unfathomable, something overpowering – it’s sweet smell, rarity and supreme qualities quite akin to the Frankincense I used gather back home. I walked over to the second shelter, still intrigued by the scent like a dog sniffing out a trail.  Buses came and went, people boarded and dismounted, even the shelters which were once jam-packed are now vacant.

Minutes just rolled by, yet that scent seemed to hypnotize me, enthralling me in a way too wonderful for words, in a way no other scent has. I inhaled and exhaled, making sure my lungs are filled with the fragrant smell. Subconsciously I wondered what time it was and where I ought to be, but that feeling was trivialized when the conscious mind was subdued by the intruding scent and, out the corner of my eye, I spot a young woman walking down the road. Her manoeuvres were of regal grace; she ambled gracefully, carrying along with her the scent that seemed to send my mind packing. She didn’t seem to notice that it was even raining; in fact she wasn’t bothered by it for she didn’t have any jacket either! The closer she got, the more her scent dismantled my senses. She walked round oblivious of anyone or anything that moves and contentedly sat at the corner of the long red seat at the bus shelter; now she started fiddling about with her hair, removing the protruding strands of hair from her damp forehead. Was anyone else not aware of this? Am I the only one stirred by this angel?  Have I lost my judgement? I was lost in contemplation, unaware of the old lady behind me repeating “Are you alright sir?” when she didn’t get response a couple of time she decided to talk louder “Sir, Are you alright there?” which immediately commanded my attention. I look around; a huge throng had gathered behind me as I stood there facing the shelter’s large plastic shield, standing on the large red seat. What was I actually doing and how did I end up here?

I spent nearly 15 minutes trying to gather my wits, trying to think why I have lost my judgement. What was it that commandeered my consciousness? Have I lost my sanity? No I haven’t – I was merely hallucinating. It was but a figment of my imagination – my mind’s eye having been enticed by a distinctive scent that knotted my consciousness in a complex network of fanciful images and the rather attractive young woman that smiled beguilingly at me. Finally with a shake of the head I laughed at myself, the onlookers started laughing too unable to believe the events that have were just unfolding right in front of their eyes. The rain had now stopped, and all thoughts seemed to have evaporated into thin air as I boarded the bus an hour and nine minutes after I initially came to the bus shelter – it was now twenty nine minutes past the hour of six. What a consuming element the scent is – you have to keep all your wits about you!

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Soomaalidu waxay ku maahmaahdaa, Haddaad tagto meel laga il laayahay, ishaa layska ridaa and the equivalent translation of this proverb would the equally similar English proverb When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do –that’s precisely the philosophy many Somalis are adopting while they are adapting to changes in culture and environment.

Somalis are people of very unique a nature. Very Distinct people indeed. We somehow find it very easy to assimilate into any culture that we come across – we are easily absorbed by their customs – be they good or bad. Case in point, Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have any special meaning for me, neither celebrated it nor do I intend to, but was brought to my attention by a female friend of mine, Farxiya (Pseudonym), who was asking me for gift ideas, after becoming tired of the regular perfumes and cards I guess! I was taken aback by her audacity. If I had asked her what Valentine’s Day was, she probably wouldn’t be able to tell.

Despite the murky history of the origin of Valentine’s Day, yet it is celebrated by millions, if not billions of people across the globe. What surprises me the most though, is the celebrations held across the Muslim lands, Specially UAE and its neighbouring countries. Has anyone seen the amount of red roses and gift packs that fill up the entire shopping malls?

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News story of the day:

An Iranian Newspaper has launched a competition to find the best cartoon about the Holocaust in retaliation for the publication of caricatures of Prophet Muhammad.

The iranian daily Hamshahri said its contest was designed to test the boundaries of Free Speech – the reason many European Newspapers have given for publishing the cartoons of the prophet. Each of the 12 winners will have their cartoons published and receive two Gold coins (worth about £80 each) as a prize.

The move was denounced by the conference o f European Rabbis. Joseph Sitruk, the Chief Rabbi of France, said:

The Iranian regime has plummeted to new depths if it regards the death of 6million Jews as a matter for humour

Source: Metro

Now its fully understood that Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right, but its only fair to ask, do they then regard the caricatures of the holy Prophet as a matter of humour?

In other News:

Thousands of copies of a student newspaper had to be recalled after it reprinted one of the caricatures of the Holy Prophet. The editor of Gair Rhydd – which means Free Word in Welsh – was suspended from the Students’ Union at cardiff University and three other student Journalists are being investigated. All copies of the newspaper were withdrwan from distribution points.

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But where do i belong?
Where do I call home?

Where can I walk with pride?
With my head really up high
With no guards by my either side
Rest under a tree and look to the sky

Where can I live permanently?
Where can I leave a mark?
Without having to transfer frequently
And comfortably inhabit and work

Where can I sleep soundly in my hut?
Knowing that am safe and secure
Without having to be vigilant and alert
And awake with my heart guiltless and pure

Where can I watch my kids grow?
Watch ’em as they play on the streets
Without fear of attack and brawl
And congregate loved ones for perfect feats

Where can I cruise around freely?
Without being asked my tribe
And intentionally robbed greedily
Or imprisoned and enslaved for bribe

Where can I live individually?
Without having to carry a gun
Live the rest of my life peacefully
And ultimately quieten down and have fun

Where do i belong?
Where I craved for so long
Where I must really call home
Where?

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Police keep watch as thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims take to the streets in Dhaka.

Palestinians show their anger at the cartoons by walking over a Danish flag in front of a mosque.

A Jordanian Muslim holds up the Koran in the capital Amman.

Palestinian protesters burn a French flag during a demonstration.

Pakistanis burn Danish, Norwegian and French flags during a rally in Lahore.

Muslims in Indonesia tear up the Danish flag.

Supporters of Pakistan’s Islamic alliance Mutahidda Majlis-e-Amal chant slogans during a rally in Karachi.

Source

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