I am a Somali Refugee. I’ll Die in Kenya or Die Trying To Be Kenyan

May 30, 2016

malStandard Media – I might be a refugee, yes, but do I deserve to be treated as if I was the reason for my status? I think it’s NO. That is the question one Abdu Mohammed asked as he narrated his story upon hearing the news of refugees being repatriated to Somalia.
At the age of 14, I earned the name refugee in 1992 as I worked across the Kenyan boarder dobley from Somalia, where once a peaceful country was now being turned into a deadly war zone. I remember my own family up there and how they met their death, brutally attacked by militia in the name of clannism, so the only option for me was to flee.
I was received by UNHCR and taken through a thorough documentation, as I filled my papers with the help of the then humanitarian workers, I was only cursing why would things all of a sudden turn on me and my people. Behind me, thousands of fellow guys from Somalia were lining up to be received too.
Later I was given a place to live and called it my new home, from the roofed house I was living in Somalia to a white UNHCR labeled tent, to lining up for free food, from helping the people around me to now in need of dire assistance, whoever said life is unfair, was never wrong.
I’ts almost 22 years now, I have found my life back, now I run my own business, married to a Kenyan lady, and with three kids, trying to make ends meet. One fine morning the news came, the sudden news of #DadaabShutdown is causing fears amongst the refugees in town, just when I thought life was smooth.
The sudden decision raises confusion to most of people here from Somalia, I and others came here at a very tender age, toughened through the hard life away from home and once we stood tall, everything now comes tumbling down on us. The Kenyan government is raising issues of insecurity brought about by the refugees like myself.
Why would Kenya treat refugees us as the problem, why would Kenya harass innocent asylum seekers in the name of securing its interests? It is unfair to unleash its anger on us who are seeking better lives away from our own motherland.
My wife is Kenyan, my kids are Kenyans, almost more than half of my life I have known Kenya, now why would I return to the land I was chased, to a land where I witnessed my own family and relatives butchered because of misunderstandings of the powerful ones.
I only know of Kenyan laws, Kenyan education system, I have learned to be a foreigner who abides by the law more than the citizens itself, why would people vulnerable like us be chased like dogs, I and others like me deserve better, I am more Kenyan than Somali and I am ready to die for my piece of peace.
My kids always sing to me. EEH MUNGU NGUVU YETU, ILETE BARAKA KWETU and realizing it’s the Kenyan National anthem, I stand chest out and say, (papers or no papers) the decision I have made is to die in Kenya or die trying to be Kenyan because I am in a dilemma.
Hope Kenya will review its decision and at least make it a voluntary process.

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