Archive for the ‘Youth/Yobs’ Category

We’ve had some rather interesting customs in Somalia at one time, though most of these customs have gradually died out with the advance of Islam. I’ll start with some hairdos.


A young girl’s hair was shaved in such a way that a ring of hair was left to encircle the smooth scalp. Sometimes it was shaved so that in addition to the ring of hair that surrounds the head, a line of hair also goes through the centre of the head just as in the picture above.

Upon reaching maturity or reaching a certain age, she was then circumcised. Once circumcised, it was customary that the girl’s head is completely shaven off. This was a must. When the hair grew back it was left to grow and never to be cut back again. A band of beads was rested on her head and her hair, once it became long enough, was braided. This denoted that she was ready to engage in acts of courtship and choose a husband.

Once she found someone appealing to her and they were engaged, the girl would be required to cover her hair. If at anytime she covered her hair before she was engaged, she would be taunted with remarks such as;

“Ma jinni baa ku guursadey, iska siib gambada”
Were you wed by a Jinn, get rid of this gambo.

Gambo being a small embroidered cloth that women use to cover their hair.

Upon accepting the proposal of her partner, as well as a generous provision of camles, she was then expected to wear a Garbasaar – a three/four yard cloth draped around the shoulders – as a sign of her engagement, which if she didn’t people would remark;

Meher baad qabtaaye timahagaa qari
you have dowry now, cover your hair

or sometimes, being superstitious, they would say;

Cirku noo soo di’i maayee timahaaga naga qari
the sky would not pour down, cover your hair

Once the official wedding ceremony took place and the girl moved in with her new husband, it was expected that she must fully cover her hair and drape her Garbasaar around her as a sign of modest clothing.

As for young boys, the head was shaved so that no hair was left on the sides of his head until he reaches puberty. Something similar what most people do nowadays by shaving the sides of their head and leaving the top untouched. Upon reaching puberty the young man can scout for his bride and once married can let his hair even on all sides – an Afro. In the initial stage where his hair was shaven on the sides, he would have been known as a Taabog.

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With knife crime sweeping across the country , the politicians are quick to mete out their hollow words. We need to be tougher on crime, they say, and the media picks this up and plasters it across its front pages. An amnesty will soon be in place to curb the spiralling wave of crime, as communities are devastated, and soon all will be forgotten – that’s until another victim falls on the street splattered with blood.

Any bus journey home, in any corner of the UK, could be your last. The streets are teeming with “thugs” who are bent on crime and intimidation. This is not something new – it has been like this for ages. And for a very long time too, the government has been trying to do something about it but all with empty promises.

What I am extremely irritated by, though, is the opinions of those people – (some) White people – who assume that this country is being degraded by black people and their cultures. As soon as the talk of crime gets underway, they already seem to know their suspects. Young, Black, Male, with nothing better to do than infiltrate this country with their crime and filth. I remember very well reading the Evening Standard, last year, when An Wilson said that “the only contribution” Somalis make to this society is “street crime and violence”! I am almost certain that when Mr Wilson wrote those words he was either highly intoxicated or his head was too far up his arse to make any sense.

This is the sort of racist tinge to crime, that Jackie describes here, I despise;

…there is a racist tinge to the reaction of the majority. People think, but don’t say, well, it’s only black on black, or Asian on Asian for that matter. It is one gang of uncivilised young thugs against another (though Kodjo was neither a gang member nor a young thug). Keep out of their way, and these murders will continue but won’t touch us. When the people involved are young and white, another defence mechanism kicks in: “Well, it happened outside a pub/nightclub in the small hours. If you’re not young, male and drinking in the wrong place, this won’t touch you.”

Crime has no colour, neither does wickedness. These youths understand the leniency this government has towards crime and are taking advantage of it – they know they will be out soon, with their “street credibility” up a notch. Prison is no deterrent whatsoever. And the poor mother lies in her bed in grievance. Another son lost, another mother bereaved. Over the past two weeks alone 14 murder cases involving knives were reported and just over this weekened alone there were 50 cases involving knives.

Imagine if this country had a National Service scheme – where every child, upon finishing his/her GCSEs, must go through a compulsory one or two years service in the Army!

I am all for bringing back corporal punishment in schools as well as capital punishment in the country. Anyone agrees?

An eye for an eye, makes the whole world blind, but sometimes it’s the best solution!

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Though the government says it has spent quite a bit of money on its regeneration, the old reputation of Peckham still seems to exist – a dangerous area known for its gang-related shootings and violence.

Before Peckham, Brixton was considered the crime hotspot in London but that notion is now outdated and South East London seems to be in people’s minds when speaking of crime. Children as young as 14 are being charged with murder and the number of gun-crime is soaring.

Most people will remember the death of Damilola Taylor, seven years ago, upon hearing the name Peckham. And many will even recall the poignant image of the mother who was shot dead whilst clutching her baby in her hands. Then a string of gun related incidents, and then, a few days ago, there was the 15-year old shot dead while he slept soundly in his bed. Another man was stabbed a few blocks away. What is London coming to?

With the soaring number of gun crimes, usually Black-on-Black, am we justified in saying that the Met’s Operation Trident is utterly futile and hopeless?

Also on Crime:
I was listening to the news this morning when they mentioned that the Met Police were searching for a 5-year old girl who, along with two other girls, mugged a 95-year old woman!

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The pavement was spattered with blood. Carefully, I took a few steps further and more blood painted the pavement and fresh drops of blood leaked out a trail. I looked in the direction of the trail and there stood a young boy not older than 17, clutching his arm firmly. A jacket was wrapped around his arm and the white Tee-shirt he wore had become crimson red with blood. He wasn’t moaning, shouting or anything, but looked stood with a solemn face. I approached him, as he stood with two other friends, intending to find out what happened and offer any help I could. I was driving, and thought that they might at least need a lift to the hospital as sometimes Ambulances can be late too.

He looked Somali. “maxaa ku helay? (What happened?)” I said.
“Somali maha, Somali Maha” (I am not Somali, I am not Somali) he replied.
Then he spoke to his friend in another language and I gathered he was Eritrean.

He bled profusely, so I offered them a lift to the hospital before it gets worse. On the way he opened up a bit and told me what happened.

“This country is fucked up man,” he said, shaking his head. “Some idiot just stabbed me for no reason. I don’t even fucking know him”

“Don’t even know him? You mean he just lashed out at you and stabbed you” I said

“He’s a handicap man. A fucking handicap, what do you expect from a fucking Nigerian?” he replied

“How do you know he’s Nigerian?” I asked, upon which he said that he knew the guy and but not much. Just saw him around and had no “beef” with him at all, hence calling him a “handicap”.

My point is that carrying Knives has now become so common on the streets of London that the youth feel vulnerable without one. I say this because I witnessed the frustration and anger from the teenager. He felt disappointed that this had happened to him. For some reason a knife is seen as a symbol of respect on the streets, since most of them do not have the wherewithal to buy guns, which I believe they would have if they did. And the government can do nothing to stop this – Nothing. It is my firm belief, though, that these youths feel let down by the government itself and crime is for them simply a means of rebellion.

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The double-doors slid wide open as I approached them, welcoming me into the cool and pleasant atmosphere of the large store. I was in an excited mood, pushing my trolley and the list of things to buy had merely been fetched by my brain, when I notice that the security guards made themselves clearly visible, brandishing their dull grey uniform. I take notice of them, and advance towards the drinks isle. It’s a regular occurrence. Soon enough they follow me, as if they were my entourage. There are two of them. One follows me a few paces behind, on the pretence of re-arranging the stock, while the other quickly dashes to the other end of the aisle.

By their constant gazes and facial expressions, they simply emanated suspicion. I collected my drinks and proceeded down the large middle isle, towards the bakery section, and to my surprise a security guard was there too, wiping the glass on the display box. The irony of the whole incident is that both the security guards are Black and followed me throughout my journey inside the store.

I thought they’d picked on me without any reasonable doubt and made my shopping experience a disaster with their strict surveillance, but amidst the annoyance and provocation, I gathered that there was, obviously, a method in their madness, for they simply followed orders – Perhaps they were indoctrinated to believe that “every Black man is a suspect, and should rightly be ragarded so” But to what point were they following orders, for I was neither dressed as a common shoplifter nor as a thug. Doesn’t society yet understand that not every black person is the same?

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“Oi, he’s buff innit!” she exclaimed to her friend, upon which they all giggled. The three girls (probably skiving from school) were just on the threshold of a new era – the alluring era of adolescence! Two of them wore jeans and that I took no notice of, but the third provoked me entirely. As if she hasn’t oppressed us already with her loud mouth and obnoxiousness, what she probably thought an admirable fashion sense was far worse. Thankfully a dull brown Yankees jumper spared us from her gluttonous belly, but the tracksuit bottom she wore didn’t. It hung very low, provocatively displaying a coarse undergarment that merely stopped her ass from falling out. And there she walked, strutted around I should say, with an intention of flamboyance – pride more like! What a disgusting creature, born to disgust. People like that should be publicly flogged for their indecency..

Shouldn’t it be against the conventional standards of morality and decency to display half of one’s ass in public?  That depraved soul ruined my day!

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 Imagine seeing that sign (above) on the doors of shops and recruitment agencies today!

These days most young black youths are enticed by the life of luxury, women, and self-indulgence – a life marked by trivialities and an intellectual cul-de-sac where they try to imitate the lives of the gangster rappers who accentuate a life of folly and short-lived fun. Being black has become synonymous with crime, drugs, poverty, idiocy and anything that constitutes an illegal act. Why is it so?

Maybe it is because they don’t really value the sacrifices their forefather made in order for them to be here and be treated like humans. Maybe they need to be reminded of the days when their forefather were picked, like merchandise, from their countries and sold into slavery, the days when they were labelled “heathens” and it was considered a badge of elitism for anyone in the possession of a fine black slave – the darker the slave the better as it contrasts the whiteness of the owner! Or the days when upon escaping, they lived in abject poverty and were the finder’s keepers! In order to go forward and succeed in life, one must have the intelligence with which to look backwards from time to time and rediscover his roots, history and the price paid by his people for him to be where he is today. They are very rich in terms of opportunities, yet they waste it! What a Pity!

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