Somali refugees in the U.S struggle to adjust to their new lives in America. Some encounter unexpected challenges on their first night in America. Meet this Somali family who like many other immigrants, are willing to start a new life in America despite all the obstacles.
As a child who grew up in Dadaab refugee camp, I always thought about being a refugee and what it means to be identified as ‘ a refugee’. I also pondered about when being a refugee ends and how people in other parts of the world live their lives without been encamped in a refugee camp like I was. Now that I live in America trying to live a normal life, finding a true identity of who I am and who I want to become is tougher when my people are still in refugee camps around the world.
When your hear Somalia, things that come to your mind to find a meaning to the word “Somalia” or even a synonyms for it are; refugees, wars, famine, terrorism and piracy. Unfortunately, nothing positive is associated with Somalia at all. Historically, Somalis have many positive things to show off, but this history is living in the shadow of 22 years of undignified Somali-being in which we were and still are at the receiving end of the world.
Being a refugee is not a choice but rather a condition in which people are forced to live miserably in camps or places where they would not have been without the necessitating factor. As a child growing up in a refugee camp, I always longed for an identity other than that of being a refugee. I always thought exiting the camp would be the end of being a refugee and the beginning of a new journey to a new identity. Yes I live in the greatest nation on earth, of course a citizen of the United States and a college graduate, but what does this mean when you are from Dadaab refugee camp- the world’s largest refugee camp. My freedom as a person hinges on the freedom of refugees in Dadaab camp and elsewhere in the world. I cannot shrug off the identity of being a refugee as long as the Somali people are perishing in refugee camps around the world. Freedom is not when you can move around with a passport or drive a decent car or a degree from a prestigious college, but rather it is when your state of mind tells you “ I am part of a society or a nation that is at peace with itself and with its neighbors” – this is the true meaning of ‘freedom’. For me, I do not fit in this category of freedom. Remember, regardless of the material wealth one has, no one is ever dignified when his/her people live on a feeding tube every day. Your human dignity is at its best when you can care for yourself without relying on donations and gifts from someone else. I hope Somalia will stand on its feet once more and help the Somali refugees regain their identity. For my case, I am always a refugee as long as there are Somali refugees, how about you?
The profession of Journalism is based on principles and values that have long been the supporting pillar of informing the public on what they need to know. This will empower the society with the role of deciding their governing policies or the ability to hold accountable to those in elected offices. Journalism it self as a profession is in a conflict of interest, on one hand it is a business in which you are expected to generate good amount of money to ran the business, on the other hand, the primary duty of journalist is to inform the public first. The killing of Somali Journalists is an unacceptable form of violence and deserves the strongest condemnation and I hope the perpetrators will be brought to justice. But what is worth mentioning is how the need for speedy news is harming the accuracy of the information thus causing Somali journalists to be killed.
If I can achieve the objective of this article, it is to remind the Somali Journalists of the need to follow the set Code of Ethics of journalism that somehow may spare them few more lives down the line. I am not saying failure to follow them will kill ten more journalists in 2012, but respecting the code of ethics may begin a new culture of better journalism in Somalia.
According to the Society of Professional Journalists, the following Code of Ethics are advisable to all those who practice journalism. It is particularly important to war journalist whose lives are on the line: