The emerging reality of Somali violence

(Note: In a comment, Kidist explains her own background, her relationship with Western culture, and her perspective on the immigration problem.)

Last month the media reported a wave of gang attacks by Somali youth against whites in Lewiston, Maine, a city where Somali refugees had been insanely placed by our liberal, non-discriminatory society. I asked Canadian blogger Kidist Paulos Asrat, who comes originally from Ethiopia, about the race of the Somalis as compared with the Ethiopians. Never afraid to discuss racial issues frankly, she answered:

I think that Somalis have aggressive and violence-prone personalities that set them apart from Ethiopians. So far, I know of no Ethiopian (of Amhara origin) who has been implicated in violent, race-based crime against whites either in Canada or the United States. Whenever an Ethiopian name comes up, it is usually that of a Muslim Ethiopian, or a non-Amhara, usually from the southern Oromo tribe.

That exchange was posted December 23. Between January 1, when the attack on Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard was reported, and today, January 8, the following incidents involving Somalians have occurred, as posted at VFR:

In the middle of this string of stories, I wrote to Kidist:

Wow, were you on the cutting edge with your “violent aggressive Somalis” remarks to me the other week.

Kidist replied:

Yes, it was thanks to your question, which shows that VFR is on the cutting edge of many things!

By the way, these Somali Al-Shabab members have been making the news for a while now. They are from all over, the most famous being in Minnesota. The website Refugee Settlement Watch has been documenting their “disappearance” and later death or reappearance in Somalia.

- end of initial entry -

January 9

Robert B. writes from Minnesota:

You didn’t post this one, although this becoming routine around here: “Police look for 2 in slaying of 3 Somalis at store.”

Also, this thread provides a breakdown on this year’s (thus far) Somali murder rate.

And this one talks about the exceptionally high rate of Autism in Somalis.

Posted January 10

Hannon writes:

Regarding Kidist Paulos Asrat’s comments on the general temperament of the Somalis, I wonder if she can parse out some of the geographical aspects of peoples from different parts of the country. The description she gives seems rather over-simplified.

From what I can tell by news stories over the last 20 years, most of the horrors and barbaric behavior emanate from the southern half of the country. In the meantime, Somaliland has sought recognition as an independent state, at least in until a “federated” Somalia can be reconstructed. Its borders are coterminous with the former British Somaliland.

In contrast with the war-ravaged south, northern Somalia enjoys relative quiet and a normalized, functional government. I would expect that most of the refugees plaguing the West are from the unruly south and not from the northern parts of Somalia.

There is also Puntland, comprising the area around the horn of the Horn of Africa itself as well as an additional area in the north claiming autonomy. The autonomous development of parts of the north was said to have been “encouraged” by Ethiopia in the 1980s.

All of this I think reflects well the tribe-clan nature of the social organization of Somalis and also reflects the absurdity of European or United Nations concepts of drawing boundaries that affect such societies.

LA replies:

I don’t think Kidist holds herself out as an expert on these things; she has lived in the West since (I believe) her teens or college years.

Kidist replies:

Yes, you’re right. My knowledge of Somalia’s geographical and political situations is limited. My observations are based on what I’ve seen here in Toronto, and the acquaintances I’ve made. Plus, a little of the historical interactions between Ethiopia and Somalia—the Muslim conqueror of the 16th century was a Somali.

One thing, though. Here in Toronto, Somalis never differentiate between different “countries” or autonomous regions. They are all Somalis.

Hannon may be right that the majority of Somali immigrants are from the southern region. But, I think that is an unrealistic assessment, since all parts of Somalia were affected by the turmoil in the region. I suspect refugees and immigrants came from all over the country.

Since around the mid-’80s and during the height of the Communist regime, Ethiopians all over the world, particularly non-Amharas, have been constantly calling out their “ethnic” groups. This is, of course, to discredit the Amhara group—the feudalists, conquerors, oppressors, etc … I would say it is similar to the multicultural situation in Canada and the U.S., where everyone else’s culture is exalted, and whites are a non-entity.

I think Somalis always band together when abroad—whether they are from the north, south, or even part of southern Ethiopia. Many Ethiopians will readily tell you they are Tigray or Oromo or (fewer, and I am one of the few to do so, with much frowning) Amhara. Somalis are simply Somali.

Part of the Somalis’ banding together is their Muslim religion. The other part is that they really do not have great differences, apart from this regional difference which Hannon talks about, which I think is an extension of the clan differences that was splitting southern Somalia apart.

My experiences and observations have shown me that it is hard to say which Somali is which. And when there is a reasonably large community of Somali, there seems to be a prevalence of violence and aggression. And that Somalis band together when confronted by outsiders, irrespective of their clan and regional differences.

Hannon writes:

It is most interesting to reflect on what Kidist says about the people of Somalia being united as Somalis, above and beyond their social schisms. I know this is true in Yemen as well, also tribally fractious, where the people consider themselves Yemenis first and Arabs second. The same with the Thai in Thailand, Vietnamese in Vietnam, etc.

Yet the same is not true of “Ethiopians” or “Indians”, etc. Whether people live in ethnically unified or mixed societies it seems they must be brought together—for long periods—under some higher standard in order to live in harmony.

It is difficult to address in a few words what is obviously an expansive subject.

Kidist writes:

I think I may have told you this already, but I left Ethiopia (with my younger brothers and parents) when I was nine years old.

My father was stationed in Paris, in UNESCO, and we were sent about six months later to England to attend boarding school in southern Kent.

I left for University at 17 to the States, and later, my Dad was posted in New York’s UNESCO office. Once I completed that education, we all immigrated for good to Canada.

So, I have lived most of my life outside of Ethiopia. My Western experience is extensive and full—I was in my school choir throughout my time in England, and later in college; I studied piano until I was 21; I kept on playing and singing for much longer; I studied both ballet (until 13) and modern dance (into my 20s). I speak (pretty good) French. While in Paris, I must have been the only Ethiopian girl who was a fixture in the museums and galleries.

When I came to Canada, I decided to leave behind my science studies (biology/human nutrition) and pursue a “cultural” degree. I went to film/photography school for four years. Disillusioned with “art” I left that and started my training in textile design.

Since then, I have been as immersed in culture as I can be.

This is what makes me unique amongst immigrants:

- My isolated childhood from other Ethiopians while in France and England.

- My love for and immersion in the greatest of European culture when still a young girl—English choral music, and French art galleries and museums.

- By the time I had arrived in the States and Canada, I was too impressed with European culture to accept people’s denouncement of its inferiority, its oppressive nature, and other negatives.

- Without being presumptuous, it is my Amhara background, which has a history of leadership and civilization, that helped me to make analogies with what whites are going through in a multicultural society, which wishes to destroy whites in order to equalize everyone. This is what the communist regime in Ethiopia tried to do to Amharas.

- Also, my art education—music, dance, film and visual arts—also immersed me into the incredible beauty and complexity of Western culture, which have shaped my views.

- Living in a densely multicultural city like Toronto, largely of anti-Western non-whites, made me realized how strong and pernicious this anti-Western sentiment is, and I removed myself from it.

This might make my positions and opinions a little clearer. I know it throws many people off, seeing a Third World person like me so accepting and at ease with Western culture. But, maybe I’m just unusual with that. As I said before, 99.99 percent of all immigrants from the Third World do not wish to, nor are they able to, assimilate into Western culture.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 08, 2010 07:32 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):