and she had lost 11 children as a young mother to treatable diseases. Eventually she was told by relatives: “Go to Kenya, maybe you might have children who stay alive.” And so she did and she set off with her brother. They were given a lift in a truck by a man who fell in love with her. Although they were both in the country illegally, he proposed and got married and they soon gave birth to me had me in a place called Thika. I was also a sickly child, and having lost 11 children already my mother was always worried, but I managed to survive. My second name is Deeqo, which means “sufficient”. My mother said if this child stays alive and she’s the only child I will have, she is sufficient. Thankfully she came to have two more. I have a younger brother and sister. How was life growing up as a an illegal immigrant in Kenya? Well, when I was just beginning to perfect my reading and writing at the age of 14, the Kenyan administration deported in 1989, along with many other first, second and third generation Kenyans, Somalis. Given your background, and such a tender age, did this lifestyle make you who you are today? Given the history of Somalia, you were taking on quite a daring challenge; why? Because I believe that saving Somalia is a civic duty, a moral obligation that is incumbent on all Somalis. It is immoral of any one of us to watch people dying and not do anything about it, because silence means you are part of the problem, you are an accomplice to the crimes that are being committed in this country.
I am therefore running for the Presidency because I actually bel ieve t hat I can make a d i fference.
The reason why I gave you all that of my background is for everyone out there to get an understanding of where I come from. I was born into poverty, into disadvantage, into violence and deprivation. You cannot imagine the kind of violent life I was exposed to as a child. But I am able to do what I am through a lot, and the security and stability you mention remains largely elusive. As a woman in a country which is very well-known for its patriarchy and the denigration of women, you are going in with your hands tied at the back – how do you react to that? I don’t react negatively and I don’t take offence because such views I believe reflect the current world order, not just Somalia, as to how
“I am constantly very much aware of the fact that every time I leave my house, that could be the last time I am leaving that compound and that I might not return there”
doing because of the opportunities that were given to me later in life such as education, good healthcare, security and stability.
I believe if every African child is given those same opportunities they can do wonders, even more than what I am doing. This is my passion and what I want to give to the young Somalians. But Fadumo, Somalia is a country that has gone women are treated. Just look at what has happened in America and to Hilary Clinton, where 40% of the white women, educated, emancipated white women decided to vote for a man who believes women should be grabbed by their pussies. This is really not just an African issue, it is a global problem.
As women, particularly women who are empowered, who want to make a difference in the world, we are facing a huge problem and it’s more evident now – if anyone is in doubt, just look at what has happened in America. Do you think this will discourage women from becoming as daring as you, Fadumo, and challenge the status quo because the message out there now is “women stand little or no chance”? No, I don’t look at it that way, what I see is that we in the women’s movement are focusing on the wrong group. We always tend to focus on seeing men as our enemies. We need instead to convince them, empower them, and make them
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