Somali Sideways - Bakar Ali

(Picture from Somali Sideways Facebook, Click to view)

Here we have Bakar Ali at #WashingtonSquarePark in #NewYork, #USA

"I was born and raised in Somalia, in the midst of a civil war. I grew up in a lawless Mogadishu, where violence was a daily reality. I lost many of my friends and family as a result of this violence; including my own mother, killed in an attack. I came to United States five years ago. When I arrived in the U.S, I was truly alone. I did not have any family or friends in the city where I settled. Upon arrival, I enrolled in a community college where I studied English for two years. Then I went to University where I double majored in Urban and Community Studies as well International and Global Studies and I also minored in Political Science. During my time in college, I did not have any 'fun' times that my peers enjoyed at university. It was difficult to not experience college life but I knew that my peers had family to support their education while I was all dependent on myself and paying my education. I had to work a lot of hours to not only support myself, but also to support my family back in Somalia. I took a larger than normal course load, and as a result, would sleep very few hours. In addition, I was involved with the University’s Student Government and the Muslim Students Association. When people asked me what was motivating me to work so hard, I would tell them it was because of how and where I grew up. When I was child, we did not have electricity, clean water, or a sense of safety. Sometimes we had to go school amidst a sea of bullets flying over our heads. These experiences made me stronger, because they taught me how to survive in spite of a difficult situation.

Now, having been in the U.S. for 5 years, I’ve been blessed to earn an Associate’s degree, two Bachelor’s degrees, and am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Administration at New York University. In the future, I hope to return to Somalia to help rebuild my country. Every Somali youth who has received the opportunity to get an education and professional training should think of sharing their skills to help develop our native country. I’ve seen many youth in America and Europe who claim they are no longer Somali, or ignore what is happening in Somalia. Let me give you a bit of advice. Just because you live in a developed country with its luxuries and opportunities, does not mean that your Somali identity is gone. We must embrace this part of our identity and aid our Somali brothers and sisters in need. We need to show the world that Somalia coined the “failed state” has the potential to rise again, and become one of the world’s most civilised nations". #SomaliSideways.

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