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Any (One) of us ...

By Hassan Abdirahman

According to the latest UN reports which were compiled in 2003, in Somalia there were 40,000 Adults with HIV/AIDS, nearly 60% of them were women. I am highlighting the later fact. Because the subject of my poem was a female member of my immediate family, she died of Aids back home, apparently when she was infected by non sterilized hospital instrument.

On another recent report from Somalia by Agence France-Presse , an elder from one of the largest cities was quoted as saying that “AIDS is a hazardous message from god to adulterers and other turncoats, who act sexually against nature” This was in response to an increased infection rate of the disease in his city, as a result of traditional surgeons using non-sterilized instruments when performing Female Genital Mutilation (FMG.)

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In writing this peace I am trying not to cross a fine line between my desire to share my thoughts and the need to protect the identify of my relative. Because of the stigma associated with this disease. As shown above, our community is extremely conservative and often holds a very negative views about HIV and Aids sufferers. My family been the average Somali family is no exception here. By talking about my lost relative in relation to this disease one risks severe anger and hostility.

My lost relative was the average member of my average family. A very down to earth young lady, unadventurous, the girl next door type. Therefore if it could happened to her in a country with one of the smallest number of HIV/Aids cases, under uncommon circumstances, it could happened to anyone else. She had eight sister, looking back on her life in comparison to her siblings’ has provided an inspirational basis of my poem. It is a simple account of a simple life that was needlessly lost due to inequalities in access to basic health and medication.

Young Somalis must challenge painful traditional practises, ignorance and prejudice. It is also our duty to let international authorities such as the UN know that we have plenty of weapons in our country but not enough resources for basic living. Therefore we don’t need them to be lifting any Arms Embargo. For the first time in decades we have some security and stability in our country. Instead of disrupting this they should take advantage of it and spend the money on our crippled medical and education system.


one was older
one was younger
neither were wiser than you

who gave it to you
who got it from you
who could tell by looking at you

one was lighter
one was darker
neither were prettier than you

who gave it to you
who got it from you
who could tell by looking at you

one had less
one had more
neither were kinder than you

who gave it to you
who got it from you
who could tell by looking at you

one seemed weaker
one seemed stronger
neither coped better than you

who gave it to you
who got it from you
was it the doctor who was treating you?

Aar 28/12/2006
Aar is a Somali musicain living in the UK
Hassan Abdirahman
[email protected]

The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "Hiiraan Online"

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