Glimpses of Somali Diaspora: A Documentary Review

Three decades ago, most of the Somalis in America were students scattered around the country and there a small number in major cities like Washington and New York that worked. When I first came to the States in 1980, I briefly lived in New York which had small number of former Somali seamen and a dozen diplomats working for the U.N. After four months in New York City, I saw the small money I had dwindling and I decided to move to Ohio to start my college education. I knew no one in Ohio but when I arrived there I was amazed to meet three young women from Northern Somalia who were already attending the university. The three were siblings and they had come to the States at a tender age of 17 with scholarships from the United Arab Emirates that were secured for them by Omar Arteh Ghalib.After several years in Ohio, I moved to a city in Southern California, not far from Los Angeles, for graduate studies. Southern California was different because it had two dozen Somali families who were brought as Ethiopian refugees. The community, though small, was a closely-knit group and we visited each other in the Weekends, ate together, and helped the new arrivals. But in early 1990s and due to the gestation of the Somali Civil War, a new wave of refugees poured in our city that had witnessed the disintegration of Somalia on first-hand and had seen gruesome killings and displacement. The small Somali community that coexisted peacefully and in harmony for years all of sudden became infused with a new blood that saw the world, perhaps, in the prism of clan warfare.

Glimpses of Somali Diaspora: A Documentary Review

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