Wednesday, August 15, 2007

SOMALIS IN PARADISE

You're a little black muslim kid born into an impoverished Mogadishu family. Maybe your dad is dead. Maybe you have no home. Your weekly experience includes awareness of roadside bombs. Your country has had no central leadership since a dictator was deposed in 1991. Warlords feud and rule little fractured fiefdoms within the country of your birth.

And then you leave all of this so that your mom, your uncles and brothers can get jobs carving turkeys at the huge Jenny-O plant run by Hormel in Barron, Wisconsin. Barron is a very small town in the northwestern woods of Wisconsin, and its ruling Fathers have managed to attract a turkey processing plant as a means of creating jobs and generating tax revenue. And now they need workers.

A typical man born and raised in Barron could be said to be white. He may like long underwear and .3030 deer rifles. He would cheer for the Packers, unless he's a pervert. Then he'd cheer for the Vikings. He doesn't see much colored skin, and when he does, he naturally reacts to it with the somewhat subtle but xenophobic training that is in his bones. That is to say, he doesn't necessarily roll out that proverbial welcome mat.

The Wisconsin State Journal ran an article August 9 about the influx of 500 Somalis into Barron in the late '90's, with another 300 on the way. The incongruity of cultures is stunning; I can only imagine the idea was dreamed up by a government committee meeting somewhere in air conditioned rooms in Washington D.C. or Madison, WI.

The two cultures, from appearances, have not immediately begun to merge. There are not mulatto Somarican babies being strolled down main street by a Bubba and his Somali wife colorfully wrapped in a shawl and chewing khat. There IS a new Somalian restaurant, Safari Cuisine, the first concrete sign of free enterprise among the small, close-knit community. I want to bet they don't serve the All American Breakfast with eggs over easy and mass-brewed coffee in the morning.

After Mogadishu, a fist fight with some pasty white kid from Barron shouldn't be much of a big deal, one would think. And police do report problems between the natives and the Somalis--fist fights; women complaining of having their buttocks pinched by Somali men (Hey, how are THEY supposed to know??). Cultural situations such as this do bring out the Redneck in some people. People remember Black Hawk Down; the fact that these are Muslims will chafe at the local imagination. There have been drug busts as the Somalis try to import the illegal-in-America, traditional stimulant khat into the town.

But like so many non-white ethnic groups that have moved into small-town America, they are hard-working and intent upon making the most of this glorious opportunity to get ahead. Compared to where they've come from, this has to seem like paradise.
The WSJ article quotes Kasi Ahmed, 43, late of the Somalian capital: "I like America. It's the land of opportunity." "And the weather....!"

Yeah. I'll bet he loves that weather.

6 comments:

mm said...

What a load of bullshit. First of all, there is no "xenophobic" reaction to an influx of uncivilized Africans -- White Wisconsinites know exactly how to react to an influx of aliens, which is to be very critical. They have firsthand experience with the (Somalis') thieving tendencies, their religious fanaticism, as well as their cold, shameless stares. There is no fear of the unknown because the local Barron residents read newspapers and watch the news (much of which comes from the Twin Cities area).

Furthermore, there is no true xenophobia because there is no fear. Rather, there is a great distaste and genuine disappointment in a group of people who clearly could do no good in their own, so now they have to spread their filth in a once great community.

The impression this article gives is that Somalians came to Barron with good intentions, to work at a turkey factory and to build a community. This is quite a liberal interpretation of what is happening and the article manages to ignore a couple of factors, including the overly generous Wisconsin welfare system.

The problem runs deeper than a few fist fights and some of that 'innocent' sexual battery. Let's not forget that this is a population that's seen brutal violence and rape on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

mm, I couldn't agree with you more, but would like to ad the following
1. How did these people pass a driver's exam?
2. While sopping at Wal-Mart I saw 2 of these females stuff things under their clothing, and I notified a wal-mart employee and his reply was It is what it is !!!
What your afraid to confront these shoplifters?
3. I will never eat Turkey again as long I live, these people do not wipe their ass with paper, but use their hands, What the HELL is that, this is not a 3rd world country, take those nasty habits with your non english, theifing ways back where you came from.

Anonymous said...

I think the above two commentators must take some cultural tolerance classes at a local community college, or may be it's time that they should start attending that old neighborhood church's sermon every Sunday! Wiping your shit from a dry tissue is a sign of filth, and using your hand and clean water is actually sanitary, but who can argue with the ignorants. Also, let's not forget all the great American capitalist companies who vultured on the resources in Somalia, uses their sea water channels, without paying a dime to the local citizenry. What's the big deal if a few thousands of them were given a refugee in States, and that too in the state of Wisconsin? Not in California, not in Massachusetts, not in Marland or DC, but Wisconsin. Where is the spirit of our founding fathers, and the constitutional teachings? Why the Whites (who themselves are the invaders, immigrants) are always xenophobic about other immigrants with different colors, casts and religious values (is it their internal guilt?) And majority of crime in this country is being conducted by junky white trash, and mentally sick. George Bush drove the country into two unnecessary wars, killing thousands of poor American soldiers, yet he has all the constitutional ammensty but here we are arguing over punishing some petty shoplifters? People, come out of your cheeseheads, get over it and get a life, Geez !!!!

NorskeDiv said...

The comments here are a good example of why this sort of throwing foreign cultures together doesn't work. Everyone ends up distrusting each other and the people who are being helped are more likely to resent their hosts than feel thankful.

Anonymous said...

I believe these foreigners need to learn English. If we went to Somalia we would have to learn their language. I was told if I went to Somalia dressed like an American with blues jeans and a sweatshirt I would be killed. I said to them well you don't dress like us here and we would never think of killing you. They are not here for good reasons. Their people are told not to interact with Americans. Just like the white man took this land from the native Americans the Muslims will take it from the white man. Watch and see. I cannot say it enough. It falls on deaf ears. The great USA has let all these refugees in and it will be our undoing.

Anonymous said...

Just like the native Americans dealt with the theiving white man so will the USA have their land took by the Muslims.