For many Muslim Americans, 9/11—and America’s complicity—has never ended
“NOLAASHO wa waax adag, laakiin wa in aan horay u soconaa.”
“Life is full of difficulty, but we must move forward,” my mother says to me in Somali on the phone just a few days after the election. I am numb from the political regression which has taken place overnight, one that had been growing alongside an anxious, sickening knot in my belly for the better part of a year now. The republic had given birth to my worst nightmare in the form of Donald Trump and in a moment of clarity, I sought my mother’s words on the matter. When she speaks, I am reminded instantly that her life and that of her siblings–my aunts and uncles–were already once upended by an autocrat, a military strongman and a socialist named Siad Barre. She knows many things about hardship. So does my father, who was a political prisoner in his youth. But she reminds me that my family started new lives in new places: Canada, America, England, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany. At a great cost, they were able to begin again as refugees. They started over, in exile, and for the most part were unable to return home. I think about how my parents speak Somali as it was spoken in the 1970s–their dialects frozen in time like their memories of home.