Aside from all the daily nuisance crimes and life struggles so as to adjust into a new life and culture, Somalis in Minnesota are now havocked by hopeless and senseless killings, gang violence – Somali on Somali. In last than a year, 6 young men have been killed, three in one week – all are between the ages of 17 to 30 years. Worst, neither the Somali community nor the authorities are doing enough to divert further senseless killings.
Sadly, in the US as well as many other countries in the west, the media glorifies violence as a child play. Violence is seen everywhere these days – on television, movies, computer games and even cartoons. According to the Center for Disease Control “In 2003, 5,570 young people ages 10 to 24 were murdered – in an average of 15 each day – In 2004, more than 750,000 young people ages 10 to 24 were treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained due to violence”. Yet with these staggering facts, U.S. continues to treat youth violence as it’s normal and not epidemic.
Of course, finding solution for youth violence particularly that of the recent immigrants like Somalis is far more complicated than just saying no or blaming one another. Recent immigrants’ past experiences and luck of understanding of the systems makes it even more difficult. However, it is vitally important that the new American communities, the neighborhoods, the law enforcement agencies, the city and state work together to address such social ills and save our children and future. Together, they must gain understanding and expose the problem.
Regardless of what part of the city one lives, no one is immune or protected from crimes, petty or not, what happens in one community or area of the city impacts everyone. Tenzin Gyatso, Buddha, once argued “If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another.” Its essential that we start to discuss more seriously approaches to prevent violence that includes increasing public awareness, strengthening government programs and bringing together community leaders, the law enforcement and the law makers to fight against youth violence. No -it’s not only Somalis problem!
Somalis are part of this greater community, actually extended Minnesota family. As any other communities, Somalis are concern about the youth violence. However, it’s important that we understand that it takes time for an infant to crawl. While Somalis learn and start to assimilate, other stakeholder must step up their efforts and find ways to reach out to the community and prevent further mayhem in our city and communities. We must stand together in solidarity and as one community steadfastly address this dilemma.
As citizens and tax payers, Somalis deserve similar attention afforded to the needs of other citizens. The Police must find a way to penetrate and gain the trust of this community. The city, the county and state must strength its programs to educate/engage the community in large and the youth in particular. They must enable the law enforcement agencies and communities to prevent/manage such crisis. We must not only catch these crocks who committed these horrible crimes against the community, the city, the state and humanity but persecute them to extent of the law. Ignorance shouldn’t be blessing or a defense to a crime. We must also prosecute family member who facilitate/support a crime or obstruct justice.
Finally, let us give the elevation this issue deserves. There are media campaigns against public health concerns such as obesity, but violence and drugs are ignored. Continuing not take notice of this epidemic will truly risk and not serve best interest our children. Only when we address violence and drugs as a public health concerns than will we see a change and peace with our youth. The law enforcement agencies must establish themselves in the community to not only prevent future incidents but solve these heinous crimes. Dorothy Thompson was quoted to have said “Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict.” Let us be creative and tenacious to bring these criminals to justice and off of our streets.
Our future and children are vanishing right in our eyes. For any community’s future depends on not only how well they integrate into the mainstream but also how well their children do in life, deceased they worth nothing. Somali community must own up to its responsibility. As revolutions don’t start in united front, let us not waste so much precious time to establish a united front to fight against this debilitating disease. Let us start to organize small and while doing so continue to do all we can to prevent further killing or hurt in our community. Start by saying ‘far too many, these mindless killings must end.’
We must find peace in our street and neighborhoods. We must work hard to see our children and their children’s children grow to become young and responsible adults. As Croesus argued “In peace the sons bury their fathers, but in war the fathers bury their sons”. Work to be buried by your son and not bury your son, got forbid.