The Somalis in My Backyard
As many of you know, I’m in the very shallow end of the wealth pool. That’s not a call for sympathy. Many Americans are going through hard times. I’ve had more money before and I will again. I only mention it because some of my friends from Twitter know I lived in an apartment building that might properly be defined as “Skid Row.”
Or, if you like, “Little Mogadishu.”
When I moved in, there were a couple African families in the building. They all received public assistance. Forever. Typically, it was a “single” woman and one or more children. I learned they were refugees escaping the harsh conditions in their native country.
A couple of the women were very nice. They spoke English. They were going to school. It looked like they were on the path to self-sustenance. Over time, they moved out, to be replaced by … more Somalis.
The style of dress among the women (who were all Muslim) went from the traditional Somali garb (I guess) of bright cloth, flowing skirts and modest head coverings to single color … burqas, for lack of a better word. Most of them didn’t veil their faces.
These women, who received the same free ride from the US government as the others, were a new breed. They didn’t mingle with other tenants. They didn’t attempt to learn English. Some of them spoke English passably, but pretended they didn’t.
While they claimed to be single, they were often visited by men. Men who drove $50K cars – Acuras and Lexuses – brought them bag after bag of groceries, and who doted on their children.
Our landlords, reacting to the growing Somali population, hired a Somali staff member. One of the reasons for this was the language barrier. The Somali women claimed not to be able to speak a word of English (requiring the landlord to provide translators on a regular basis), and they couldn’t read at all. Not even their own language.
This meant we couldn’t put up signs.
For example, we had a laundry room policy. There were four washers and four dryers for 41 units. There was a house rule that a tenant could only use two washers at a time. The Somali women would routinely use all four washers, and they’d do their laundry every day, meaning the rest of us had to do ours at 3:00 AM.
They would pour about 10 times more detergent than necessary into the machines, resulting in frequent repair calls, leaving the laundry room completely unusable for the rest of us.
Because our laundry machines were incredibly cheap, they would bring in the laundry of their male “friends” to do on site.
At first, I thought maybe there were just communication problems. Maybe these were just cultural issues and I should be more tolerant.
When a young Somali woman asked to borrow my cellphone to make an emergency call (she spoke great English when she wanted something!), I obliged. She spoke on the phone for over 25 minutes before I literally had to rip it out of her hand to get it back. She’d called Minnesota. When I retrieved my phone and ended the call, she pulled a cellphone out of her pocket, dialed a number and resumed the conversation.
When my clothes were done washing, and a Somali woman still had 15 minutes to go on her load, she stood in front of the only available dryer and smiled at me, daring me to shove her out of the way so I could finish my wash.
The Somali children were allowed free run of the apartment complex. They banged on people’s windows – as late as 11:30 at night. They refused to let non-Somali children play with toys that had been donated to the play area by previous tenants, or even the landlord.
My first year there, we weren’t allowed to use the words “Merry Christmas” when decorating our windows, for fear it might offend the non-English speaking, illiterate Somali women. For Ramadan, the landlord purchased bags of rice and beans for all the Somali families.
The Somali staff worker showed amazing deference to her Somali tenants, often illegally trampling on the rights of US citizens. The Somalis could do whatever they wanted, but one woman was threatened with Child Protective Services when the Somali staffer saw her give her son a candy bar.
We weren’t allowed to display signs of Christianity in any way, shape or form. Christmas became “Winter Holiday.” Easter became “Spring Holiday.” People were discouraged from using the community room for holiday parties, unless they provided Halal compliant food. Meanwhile, the Muslims could celebrate whatever they wanted, however they wanted.
On the anniversary of 9/11, one tenant put up a US flag in his window. The landlord told me she was going to make him take it down. I exploded.
Also, I reminded her of a little something called the Bill of Rights.
The flag stayed.
Over time, it became evident that more and more Somalis would be moving in. Also, that they were increasingly insistent on maintaining a culture completely separate from the country in which they lived, that supported them financially, and in which they had sought refuge.
Clearly, one or two Somalis found the arrangement pleasing, because soon their sisters had moved in. And their cousins. Soon, the ratio of Somali to US citizen was staggeringly disproportionate. The Somalis took over all community areas. They were pampered by the Somali staff worker. It became clear to me that a takeover was in progress.
When I read about the recent would-be Portland Christmas Tree bomber, I was not at all surprised to find out he was a Somali. I don’t think the women who lived in my apartment building were secretly al Qaeda or terrorists. No, they were the moderate Muslims we’re all supposed to consider harmless.
Instead, they just spit on our customs, took advantage of our system (and you have to wonder who taught them how to do that), expected us to repress our religious and social mores in favor of their beliefs. And we did it! We did it!
From an outsider’s perspective, what does it say about a nation when its citizens practically fall over in a rush to cede cultural sovereignty to foreigners? It says weakness. It says apathy. It says stupidity.
These women have no respect for the US. Let me tell you, if I came from a nation where there was a strong possibility I might be beheaded, raped and tortured, I would get down on my knees and kiss the ground of the land that gave me sanctuary.
Not the Somalis.
And what are they teaching their children? That the US is a nation of spineless infidels, pushovers, heartless people with no pride and no strength of conviction. That we’re a nation who, on one hand, rails against the spread of Islam but, on the other, does nothing about it. Indeed, allows it to progress unchecked.
How could a young person grow up with anything other than contempt for us, given such circumstances? Of course, not all Somalis will want violent jihad. Not all of them will conspire to blow up crowds of peace and freedom loving Americans.
But I won’t sit idly by and consider the “not all of them are terrorists” argument to convince me there isn’t a larger problem here. Yes. Violence is the largest problem. But we’re not seeing Somali refugees coming here to blend in and become part of the melting pot that is America. We’re seeing the vast majority of them coming here to piss in our soup.
I’m sorry for the woes of Somalia, and other countries like it. But, it’s not my problem. Even if I were to consider it as such, setting up the same set of circumstances in the US that has lead Somalia to become the pit of hopelessness and despair it has become will hardly prove helpful in the long run.
Immigrants come here for all sorts of reasons. Some to embrace the American dream, and some to subvert it. Those who think America is simply a collection of minerals, arable soil and big corporations entirely miss the point. America is great because of its people. Because of our freedoms. Because of our spirit!
If the American spirit is crushed under the weight of any oppressive regime, religion or tyrannical social system, it doesn’t become a free and prosperous United States of Islam; it ceases to be.
And, while I will continue to welcome people from all nations who want to participate in the American Dream (including Somalis who love the US), I’ll be damned before I lay down and let someone else turn it into a nightmare.