Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Somali Stories

On September 24, 2013 the New York Times published an article by James Ferguson, author of an important book about Somalia. The first sentence told us the sorrowful tale about a young Somali-American who grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This young man had gone to Somalia to join al Shabab and there he blew himself up. The Times article is: The West Need Not Fear  Its Young Muslims @

The article led New York Times readers including me to submit 100s of comments, most of them about Somalis and/or muslims. In my comment I name some of my Somali friends. I think the world should know about some of these friends and I cannot wait any longer to begin trying to tell their stories. (They are either not ready to tell them or they do not have time.) I do not have so much time either since I always have manuscripts to review and translations to begin (for Swedish medical researchers) but I can begin by introducing you to one Somali friend in America. There will be more.

I begin very simply. We are in Winooski, Vermont in June 2013. If you happen to be there some time stop in at Banadir Market-Halal Meat and tell Abdi that Larry sent you.

I only see Abdi once a year when I am in Burlington, Vermont and we do not have much time to talk but little by little I am learning his story. The only part I am telling you here and now - 7:54 AM in Linköping, Sweden - is that he shows what an individual who is determined to "make it" and is willing and able to work extremely hard can accomplish.

He created his own store Banadir Market where the people who live here can buy various kinds of food that are, let's say, a part of their identity. If one part of that identity is that they are muslim, then they can visit Abdi to purchase meat that is "halal", the equivalent of Jewish "kosher". I mention this comparison because I lived for forty years in Brighton, New York where kosher foods were readily available.

Now I have to start working. A little later I will add the URL to the New York Times story and to my comment.

I hope you will comment here or send me an Email.


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