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Reaching the Promised Land: Life on the other side

by Liban Obsiye
Saturday, August 17, 2013

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The green door looks inviting

It winks at me and calls me over

But the grey gate is firmly shut.

The doorbell asks to be rung

But no one is home for me

The lush front garden smiles widely

The dog inside growl’s from the sign.

I walk on hungry all day

I am pulled by the smell of food from a café

The sun soaked chairs outside invite me to sit

But the sign on it says “Reserved”

Welcome reads the shiny mat at the door

If you have money to eat.

Unwelcome I float on

Moving slowly between the two worlds

My belly rumbles with anger

My body paralysed by hopelessness

My eyes tearful with fear

Heart emptied of love.

I seek refuge under a tree

The grass strokes my hair

My eyes closed with weariness

I want to scream to God

But heaven is too far from here.

On my feet I drag myself on

One more step I lie to the soul

One more day I insist

One more chance I remind myself

Things will soon be better I am told

My corpse finally arrives to meet my saviour

“Welcome and Line up” smiles the sign

To the food bank*.

Following on from my article on Illegal migration from Somalia and the self-declared independent state of Somaliland, this poem seeks to highlight that even those that are fortunate enough to make it to Europe or the developed Western world face enormous challenges on arrival. The greatest betrayal of those who risked life and limb to seek security and safety is at the hands of the very governments they have sought refuge with. All over Europe, Canada, America and Australia there is tough talk on managing and deterring illegal immigrants. Wherever they are from. Boats containing humans tilting over in the middle of the rough seas is a tolerated tragedy so long as they do not add to the migration figures in these developed nations. In an age of high unemployment and global economic competition, the language towards economic migrants and asylum seekers is hardening. Australia’s Christmas Island detention centre and others across the developed world await those who successfully make it to shore after a painful life changing journey.

Despite, protests and campaigns by Human Rights Organisations in the developed world, most governments are remaining firm on immigration to appease popular opinion especially as election planning is now an all year and all Parliamentary term event. Human Rights are second to Political ambition and Power. This is a sad state of affairs but one which should be communicated to those wishing to risk their lives to become political pawns in a dangerous game of Western popular opinion.

To tackle illegal migration in Somalia we need transparent, fair and democratic local and national governance, education and skills for all as well as sound economic policies accompanied by a strong and flexible labour market. All this needs global effort and financial and political support. It also requires the Somali government (s) to educate their citizens about the reality of illegal migration. There are some efforts and noises been made about this issue especially by the Somaliland government at this point in time but there is still no action.

A food bank is a non-profit, charitable organization that distributes food to those who have difficulty purchasing enough food to avoid hunger. Many refugees and asylum seekers rely on these across the developed world while awaiting their legal decisions.

For Liban’s previous article on the issue please click the below link:


Liban Obsiye
[email protected]
@LibanObsiye (Twitter)


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