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Amal Elmi - A poem dedicated to the recent death of 500 refugees and migrants – mainly young Somali and East African men and women – in the Mediterranean that did not even make news headlines.
I can hear mothers crying,
Fathers that are deep down mourning,
But are forced to be brave.
When did this happen?
Who neglected our children.
They clung onto hope for a better life.
Day after day. Night after night, time slowly passed.
Frosty and frightening, yearning for the comfort of
Their families and their homes.
Patiently waiting for the glorious moment
They would reach their dream destination. (more…)
Refugees are a fact of everyday life today. They come from all over the globe and mainly live in developing countries. Their story is one of hardship, misery and courage in the face of adversity. One cannot help, but be humbled by the stories of courage and immense patience as refugees flee their homes and spaces they love to start anew elsewhere far from their heart, culture and those they love. Many would have us believe that these people are only after exploiting the developed nations’ benefit systems and hide under the banner of refugee while seeking economic advantages. This is a misguided and false accusation that is intolerable. Refugees deserve better treatment and welcome especially in those nations that claim to champion Human Rights. Continue reading…the Poem to come
A poem about forced migration
Just a young woman,
Proudly walking through her streets,
Calm and at rest.
Suddenly that freedom is stripped from her,
Now she’s running with her children away from bombs.
Only hearing the cries of her people,
She walks day by day night by night.
Trying to find a safe place for the night.
The horror her eyes see
A poem about accidental leadership.
First smile, first practice
Future King. (more…)
A poem based on research and conversations with former drug dealers.
My mum says I am a dealer
My boys say I am the man
Mum says I am a disgrace
Boys say I am the boss
My mum says study
But my teacher knows I am not going anywhere.
My mum shouts change
But what other choices are there? Continue reading
(BBC) Rageh Omaar explores what Britain can learn from Somalia, a country where poetry is the main means of cultural communication.
What could Britain learn from Somalia – a country where poetry is nothing less than the main means of cultural communication?
Portrayed abroad as a land beset by gunmen, pirates and famine, it is also known by those who live there as a Nation of Poets. Somalia had no written language until 1972 and poetry has always been the country’s core form of mass communication – whether the spoken word or, more recently, via cassettes and radios.
Verse has, in many areas, taken the place of history books, newspapers and television as the main means of spreading news and comment. Poets who have real skill – the true bards – have the power to shape current events and receive both social and political privileges.
Can we integrate any of these elements into British poetry? Instead of one Laureate, should we have hundreds of bards reflecting the diversity of our nation – people we can turn to for everything from the poetic equivalent of a Times leader to the latest gossip around the parish pump? Can poetry be integrated into our daily lives as successfully as in Somalia?
In discussion with presenter Rageh Omaar, poets from the Somali community in Britain and expert translators wonder if – through the medium of everything from the spoken word to text messaging – Somalia’s bards might provide the germ of a new form of information sharing in Britain.
To listen the programme, please visit the following link BBC iPlayer
More information about the programme, please also visit the following link The Bards of Somalia- BBC Radio 4 Programme