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Overcoming Challenges

I think elders who believe that somehow things are going to go back to the way they once were stand as barriers to creating change. As refugees from a war torn country, there is very little chance that everyone will soon return to their homeland and simply continue their lives as they did before. Somali immigrants are very new to the countries to which they have migrated. Majority of the immigrants are first generation and have been brought to the host countries usually no more than 20 years ago.

The fact that most Somali people have been brought very recently means that they have not assimilated to their host countries. For most, involving themselves in the culture and traditions of the host country is not very necessary because a very large majority strictly believes that once the war subsides and they are able to safely return, they will for sure return. However, there are some flaws with that plan. First, no one knows how long it will take for the war to subside or to create a government in Somalia. Second, while the elders want to dream about the day they return home, their children are lost between two very different cultures with no one to help guide them. The parents try to raise their children as if they still lived in their homeland where cultural beliefs were different. Thus, the children begin to rebel when they are teenagers and find other ways to immerse themselves into the culture around them. Hence, there is a very wide generational gap and very little is being done to find solutions.

Present solutions include teaching the parents in foreign countries about the culture of the country in which they now live and will probably live for a long time to come. This effort, however, is not very widespread through the Somali immigrant communities in the US or around the world. LimeWire and other online communities like it give us the opportunity to discuss these issues with people from all over the world. They allows us to exchange and share ideas so that if someone else has dealt or is dealing with these same issues then maybe we could discuss some solutions. These online communities can also connect me to other Somali people around the world who may have found ways of dealing with some of the same issues.

Comments

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on such an important issue! I know how much feeling tied to places far away can hamper our ability to grow and prosper in new places with new lives - at the same time that those ties should be nurtured in productive, heartfelt ways! I think you point out some lovely contradictions and possibilities, and I wish you the best of luck in taking some steps to better the situation you see around you!

Rebecca Roberts's picture

Looking forward

This is a perspective I hadn't considered ... that some refugees might still have hopes of returning to the lives they had to flee. Thank you for sharing this, and for being positive about the changes that lie ahead and how to help each other move forward. What are some of the ways sharing your issues online has helped you ... or how have you helped other Somali emigres with your positive attitude shared online? What vision do you see for an online Somali "virtual" community?

Mila's picture

Feedback on Assignment 3

Hi Hanna,

Thank you for your well written and thought out assignment. You have such an interesting topic and challenge. Reading your story made me think a lot about the Palestinians and their hope to return to homes in Israel--a comparable problem to that in which you are working with the Somali immigrants. It must be quite challenging to have the immigrants think for the long-term without making them panic about where they may or not be living in the future. You did a great job of describing your challenge. It is great that you are using the online communities such as LiveWire to connect with other Somali and immigrant populations.

Keep up the great work!
Best,
Mila

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