By Adan Makina
Nowadays, a look at how some of the Somali youth living in the Western Hemisphere prepare for their future upon graduating from high school is cause for alarm. By developing distorted mental imaginations, these youth who hail from disadvantaged backgrounds and broken families, find it difficult to heed the advises given by their school counselors because of preconceived established ideas ingrained in their minds that are hard to alter. Ironically, with falling school performances reported among school-going Somali children in Europe and North America, choosing the wrong careers after the gates of the schools are kept under lock and key create unease for any watchful educator and parent who wishes to see all kids remain in school until they are capable of handling their affairs. Even with plenty of financial aid and other grants available and reserved for those willing to partake in the furtherance of their education, the prospects of remaining in school diminishes for reasons best known to them.
Because of their obsessions with immediate jobs and some cash to propel them in to the murky waters of the underworld, these kids end up taking up menial jobs and often find themselves shoved in to contemptible and unprofessional fields like cab driving, janitorial, doormen, cooks, and the manufacturing industry considered to be the lowest paying in terms of job classifications. However, because of overabundance of narcotics and other mind altering drugs readily available in the streets, tardiness and ill-fated temptations usher them in to the corridors of social rejection and disobedience that ultimately lead them to rub shoulders with the law.
Thus, the youth who was touted to be a shining star unto himself, his family, and his nation, becomes a subject of condemnation when an unpardonable and strange act leads him to the gallows of a dreaded prison. Though many strait-laced, fortunate convicts who serve their sentences cautiously emerge out of the gates of dungeons with rosaries in hand as signs of repentance, the hard core ones who remain behind could find themselves rewarded with extended jail terms due to other horrible felonies committed while behind bars. Such sarcastic miscalculations in life may be attributed to poor parental and societal upbringing, lack of role models and mentors, resettling with careless and unfamiliar faces and families, failure to grasp the exhortations of the elderly, and taking the wrong path in life.
Also, the effects of the horrendous civil wars that separated family and friends, child abuse and neglect, familial indiscipline, parental drug addiction and illiteracy, abject poverty, and hordes of imperfections content in the social fabric they live in become the driving levers for their self-immolation or self-destruction. In addition, the social depravity of the host environment and the guest youth’s competition for space and recognition coupled with the desire to assimilate opens a path for unintended social interactions and exposure to malignant, apathetic, and alien cultures that easily consume the diminutive empathy exported from country of origin.
Furthermore, the harboring of a sense of inferiority by the novel guest and the ardent desire to participate in the affairs of the newly exposed locale tremendously alters, defaces or may even erase whatever little was left of his brain chemistry. The once exotic youth finds themselves immersed in an unfathomable bottomless pit commandeered by criminals of the most awful category. Societal fragmentation in the Diaspora, lack of extra-curricular activities, exposure to pornography, cinematographic obscenities, and lack of parental involvement in Parent Teacher Associations, are the deriding factors behind the collapse of the once youthful Somali Empire.
The stubborn outgrowth of filaments of animosity and the division of society along clan lines has never been so profound in Somali society before. While it is true that poor governance, foreign interference in Somali affairs, and lack of reconciliation between warring factions added to Somali calamity, what we should note with dismay is how the Diaspora’s disregard for unity and coherence culminated in the breakup of many who cherished trust, love, and unanimity in matters exclusive to the Somali people and nation.
The handouts and welfare benefits provided by the host nations to Somali societies and individual families are the main arteries that finance malevolent designs and the major propulsion engine of hatred in the Diaspora and in beleaguered Somalia. Wired via electronic remittances to Somali antagonistic forces on a monthly basis, these monies could be used to rejuvenate the education of Somali youth in the Diaspora and also those in impoverished Somalia.
While the number of Somali youth lagging behind bars in the Western Hemisphere could run in to the thousands, still there are an equal number of law abiding, sagacious, and hard working youth struggling to go beyond permanent barriers, travelling the hard road to prosperity, and effecting change by transforming the impossible in to the possible.