On Saturday September 21, 2013, as we turned on our televisions, glanced at major news outlets and social media sites, we were greeted with shock and grief as Nairobi, Kenya was ravaged by terror, in a shooting at Westgate Mall.
We watched, with deep disappointment, as yet another terror attack shook the world, an attack which would quickly turn our disappointments into fear. Not knowing if the increasing number of casualties would include a family member or friend, we frantically reached out to loved ones though phone calls, emails and social media, to make sure they were safe and out of harms way.
Our fear then turned into anger, frustrated with trying to make sense of who was responsible for this heinous crime against humanity. As the news unfolded, our biggest fear turned out to be true; Al Shabab claimed responsibility for this deadly act. We were deeply saddened by the fact that a Somalia-based terror group would attack a country that is home to the largest Somali community in Africa, outside of Somalia. As Somalis, we condemn the acts of murderous psychopaths who seem to be incapable of feeling guilt, remorse or empathy for their despicable actions.
The irony in this occurrence, is that these acts were committed by individuals who proclaim to be advocates of God’s laws, yet commit atrocious acts against humanity.
The Westgate Mall shooting in Nairobi, Kenya hit too close to home, both figuratively and literally. At the height of the Somali Civil War in 1991, many Somalis fled to neighboring Kenya to seek refuge from the war. By the end of the war the small town of Dadaab, Kenya laid claim to the largest refugee camp in the world. The civil war also caused many Somalis to flee to other parts of the word in search for a better life, a life free of war and famine.
The United States became a beacon of hope, a place for new beginnings. A country where my sister and I, two young Somali twins, could dream of becoming successful fashion designers and succeed through hard work. In light of the recent terror attacks, we fear that those dreams have been put in jeopardy. A fear that that this new country that we’ve come to love, may come to fear us.