Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

HOME by Somali poet Warsan Shire

An old friend from high school posted this on FaceBook today, and I found it so moving and so true that I had to repost it here:

HOME
Warsan Shire

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbours running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
pitied

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

the
go home blacks
refugees
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
savage
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
drown
save
be hunger
beg
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying-
leave,
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here.

“HOME,” by Somali poet Warsan Shire

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November 21, 2015 Posted by | Africa, Circle of Life and Death, Civility, Community, Counter-terrorism, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Quality of Life Issues | , , | 3 Comments

Play Station, Romeo and Juliet, ISIS, and Syrian Refugee Discussions

I belong to a group that I can only describe as “thoughtful” Christians; it’s a church-related study group, and as everywhere else in the US of A, people are discussing recent events in Paris, and the related issue of resettling Syrian (and not only Syrian) refugees in the United States.

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The same discussions are taking place on FaceBook. I’m inclined to think that those who are thinking lime me are measured, and thoughtful, and that those who disagree with me are overly emotional, even rabid, and that their attitudes might be Un-Christian as well as Un-American.

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I am not so blind as to not see that they may see the exact same thing, in reverse. It’s the times, and the issues.

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One very smart woman communicated something I haven’t heard anywhere else, that investigators believe these Paris murderers might have been communicating by creating a Play Station group, so you can message your group members, and your message disappears seconds later.

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One neuron sparks, synapses connect and the outline of a picture emerges. Of course. This plot was not that complex. My major focus would be on how they got the weapons, but other friends tell me that now weaponry can be had very inexpensively on the dark market in Europe.

But what has puzzled me, until now, was the kind of thinking that would put this scenario together, and I have concluded that we did. By our entertainment technology, we have taught them to strategize. We have trained them to think through scenarios, and to have branching options. We have taught them to join forces. We have taught them to work in teams. Some may have had some training to operate the weapons so accurately, but this was the equivalent of a canned hunt, shooting fish in a barrel. They had rapid fire weapons, and rooms full of people expecting no more than a pleasant night out. Before they knew what was happening, the event had come and gone.

They are young. The so called “master-mind” (I really don’t like that label; I don’t think this took masterful planning, and they did not accomplish their major goal, which was terrorizing the soccer game) escaped, but not for long. They calculatedly and callously used expendables to accomplish their mission. There was no escape planned for most; give them suicide belts. Give them death. Did they know that the one pulling the strings had no intention of dying with them? So why on earth didn’t they question this plan?

When you are playing games on a Play Station, and you lose, you get another life. Hey, just like jihad! They are young, death means little, and they are easily manipulated. A glorious death, if you don’t look too closely. As I was in water aerobics this morning, we danced along to an old ditty called “Just Like Romeo and Juliet” and I thought how appropriate it was to these times and circumstances – a tradition of hatred between two groups, two young people who cross the lines, and then, their death rather than the hard work of trying to make changes in the real world.

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Death isn’t romantic, and the God we share, the God of Father Abraham, hates the shedding of innocent blood, no matter by what name you call him. He tells us that only he knows the intentions of the human heart. When he chooses someone to do his work, it tends to be leaving this country and walking to another, leading a people out of slavery, bearing a child, or memorizing the words of an angel, not bombing, or shooting, or forcing others to worship in the way you believe everyone must worship.

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The one true God also tells us, all of us, that we are to love our neighbor, and that our neighbor is that naked, helpless, beaten man lying by the side of the road that the fastidious religious men crossed the street to avoid helping. We are to take him in, pay for his care at the inn, tend to his wounds, not for any hope of gain, but because it is the right thing to do, the decent thing to do, for our fellow human being, our neighbor.

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One final note, when we use the Statue of Liberty coming to the rescue of France, showing the colors of France, noting her origins in France to honor our own “Liberte” we most not fail to take note of the words at her base: Give me your tired, your poor; The huddled masses yearning to breathe free; The wretched refuse of your teeming shores; send these – the homeless, tempest tossed to me! I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

November 19, 2015 Posted by | Circle of Life and Death, Counter-terrorism, Crime, Cultural, ExPat Life, Faith, Law and Order, Leadership, Values | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Expendables; Pray for Paris

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I have to take a break from my trip stories to express an opinion.

We are The People of the Book. Suicide is not an option. The most precious gift we are given, of the many gifts, is the gift of life. One of the most heinous crimes against God / Allah is to shed innocent blood.

A callous theocracy sends “inspired” martyrs, testosterone-hopped-up jihadists to kill themselves, and to take as many victims as they can with them.

By what stretch can they claim to do God’s will? Where is the submission to the word of God? Where is the peaceful Islam of the Prophet Mohammed?

November 14, 2015 Posted by | Character, Charity, Circle of Life and Death, Civility, Counter-terrorism, Crime, Cultural, ExPat Life, Faith, Law and Order, Leadership, Paris | , , , | 1 Comment

You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide . . .

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Police Hunt Second Boston Marathon Suspect, First Suspect Dead

A search is underway in Watertown for the second Boston Marathon suspect, following the fatal shooting of a MIT campus police officer and a chaotic night starting in Cambridge.

 

Officials confirmed early Friday morning that they are searching for the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect in Watertown following a chaotic night that left the first suspect dead.

 

The Associated Press is reporting the surviving Boston bomb suspect is identified as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge.

 

“We believe this man to be a terrorist,” Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said at a post-4 a.m. press conference about the at large suspect. “We believe this to be a man who’s come here to kill people. We need to get him in custody.

 

All MBTA service has been suspended on Friday morning and law enforcement officials are asking residents of Watertown, Newton, Waltham, Belmont, Cambridge and the Allston-Brighton neighborhoods of Boston to stay indoors and for businesses to not open today. Also, no vehicle traffic will be allowed in or out of Watertown until further notice.

 

The suspect is considered armed and dangerous.

 

A robbery at a Cambridge 7-11 Thursday night was followed by the fatal shooting of a MIT campus police officer, then a carjacking by the suspects, which turned into a shootout in Watertown on early Friday morning, with one suspect pronounced dead at a hospital after the shootout and the other at large.

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April 19, 2013 Posted by | Crime, ExPat Life, Law and Order | , | Leave a comment

Benghazi Terrorist Suspect Extradited from Turkey to Tunisia

Turkey originally arrested two suspects early in October; you can read the article here. It is also from the HuffPost. Huff Post

By BOUAZZA BEN BOUAZZA 10/24/12 05:37 PM ET EDT

TUNIS, Tunisia — A Tunisian man who was arrested in Turkey this month with reported links to the attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya is facing terrorism charges, his lawyer said Wednesday, as an Egyptian official said a militant suspected of involvement was killed in clashes in Cairo.

Ali Harzi was repatriated to Tunisia on Oct. 11 by authorities in Turkey, and a judge issued his arrest warrant, lawyer Ouled Ali Anwar told The Associated Press. He said his client was told by a judge Tuesday that he has been charged with “membership of a terrorist organization in a time of peace in another country.”

A person who saw Harzi’s court dossier told The Associated Press that the file links him to the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead.

He said Harzi is one of two Tunisians reportedly arrested Oct. 3 in Turkey when they tried to enter the country with false passports. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. Harzi’s alleged role in the attack is not clear.

Anwar denied there was any evidence that Ali was implicated in the attacks. He added his client was not using a fake passport, saying he was a “scapegoat to satisfy the Americans.”

The charge against Harzi is punishable by six to 12 years in prison, according to the provisions of the anti-terrorist law in force in Tunisia since 2003.

Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the U.S. has been looking into the arrests of two Tunisian men being detained in Turkey reportedly in connection with the attacks. The State Department in Washington had no further comment on Wednesday.

A U.S. intelligence official was cautious about the Tunisian arrest, saying that the Tunisians have so far not allowed American officials to interview the suspect, so the U.S. is not yet certain how directly he is connected to the attack.

The suspect has ties to both Ansar al-Shariah and Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, as do most like-minded militants in the region, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

Tunisian Interior Ministry spokesman Tarrouch Khaled confirmed that Harzi was in custody in Tunis. Khaled said “his case is in the hands of justice,” but he would not elaborate further.

In Egypt, a security official said a local militant suspected of involvement in the attack was killed in clashes in Cairo when he attacked approaching Egyptian forces.

The official said the man, known only by his first name, Hazem, recently returned from Libya and kept weapons in his hideout. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters, said an investigation into the man’s possible involvement in the consulate attack is under way.

This is the first time an Egyptian has been declared a suspect in the attack.

_____

Kimberly Dozier in Washington and Sarah El Deeb in Cairo contributed to this report.

October 24, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Crime, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Tunisia | , | Leave a comment