i’ve been angry for awhile. some days i try to write it down. things like ‘i’m bloated with salt water’ or ‘there is a sink in the middle of my chest and it’s flooding.’ 11 million people in the horn of africa are thirsty. and hungry. and dying. 11 million people. i chew on the insides of my cheeks until i draw blood. the spit in my own mouth humiliates me. there has not been a drought like this in 60 years.
when language becomes inappropriate, i can only use water to describe the lack of water. a reporter on the tv says ‘the famine in somalia is biting’. my mother holds her face in her hands. my stomach hurts.
someone leaves me an anonymous post with the word ‘drought’. all lower case. the word stares back at me. i don’t know what this person meant. a taunt, a reminder or a fragile shallow attempt at depth? my anger is tidal.
a few weeks ago a tipsy guy leaned into me after a reading and asked ‘so where are you from?’. when i tell him, he says ‘you know, of all the africans to be in the UK, that one is the worst’.
an eight year old boy at school calls my six year old sister a ‘smelly somali bastard’. she comes home crying. i taste copper in my mouth. press my face into her hair, she is a small beautiful thing with curls down to her waist.
i read a comment online under an article about the victims of the drought and famine ‘there’s so many of them anyway, it’s not like it’s going to wipe them all out’.
i am twenty two years old, my whole existence my country has been suffering. for twenty two years i have been an immigrant, a refugee, i have been elsewhere and homesick, i have been in mourning and defending everything that i am.
‘why don’t they get the money from their pirates’ and ‘they done this to themselves’.
i’m heart broken. i’m resentful and i’m angry and the only way to explain it is by using language about water. but there is no water, just tears pooling in the hollow of a collar bone. my friend calls me and says ‘where have you been, how are you?’ and i say ‘i’m just so angry leyla, i’m angry all the time’ and she says ‘good, you care, when you care, you must feel something’.
in somali when we see injustice we say ‘dhiiga kuma dhaqaqo?’ which translates into ‘does your blood not move?’.
dear (name of every person who does not care) when the rain fails you, i hope the world does not do the same.