‘Meet the Somalis’ through Cartoons

Published: 21 November 2013

Region: Somalia, Europe

somalis4‘Meet the Somalis’ tells the stories of 14 different Somalis in seven European cities through vignettes. They portray tales that many people will never experience, like fleeing a warzone with your children or, worse, leaving your loved ones behind.

The stories express the real- life experiences of Somalis who are one of the largest minority groups and most diverse in Europe. They narrate their challenges, fears, hopes and positive and negative experiences.

Saafi’s testimony tells the story of her family and herself. Her parents left Somalia for London in searching for a better future before she was born. The drawings show the obstacles that Saafi’s family faced when they arrived in the UK. However, her biggest challenge would be to address the death of her dad who went back to Somalia and got killed.

The aim of the cartoons is “to introduce readers to real individuals from the under-represented (and frequently misrepresented) Somali community”, explains Benjamin Dix, author of the cartoon collection.

somalis2He also highlights that “the more people know each other and understand each other’s background, the less fear there is and the less discrimination. It’s important for our society to understand why the Somalis are here, and what kind of experiences they have lived through in Somalia and in the European cities to which they came”.

This is part of the ‘Somalis in European Cities’ research organised by Open Society Foundation. They are conducting a study to examine how inclusion and exclusion affect Somali communities in European cities.