A few weeks ago, I gave a presentation for D64 — Zentrum für digitalen Fortschritt about the issues and challenges that immigrant founders face (DM me and I can send you the presentation for your convenience), and during my research, it became clear to me that there are three types of migrants. The so-called fancy EXPAT Migrant, Brown Migrants with some advantage (normally by Visa, or first or second generation), and eventually Refugees (Where your past does not matter because even though it’s something that happens to you and not who you are, you are labelled as such) a title you hold, which allows people to immediately group you into a specific category.
So, where do I fit in? Well according to me all 3 (Muslim, Black, Refugee and willing to jump to whichever country that gave me a passport to chase my dreams). Many people who know me believe that I am a “privileged” migrant which I agree with as I have many friends I grew up with who would dream of the opportunities I got and I speak to them a lot to try and help them. From Kindergarten in South Africa until now in Germany, I have spent every waking day of my life trying everything I could to conceal the fact that I am from a refugee family. I avoided discussing the subject for so long that I decided to devote my time and energy to travelling and educating myself in order to one day play a part in changing the lives of many others.
There is no disputing that what is occurring in Ukraine is a tragedy, and I have avoided posting anything about it, but I have made an attempt to help, even offering my apartment to individuals who have been affected. This tragedy has shown something dark and twisted in this seemingly “Western Society.” The opportunities you get are determined by how you look, this has always been the case as I know from experience but never have I seen it being so OK to do it so bluntly, violently and without consequences and I have experienced Xenophobia in South Africa, where I call home. I don’t need your empathy since I’m in a position where I’m not doubting myself and am genuinely happy with what I’ve accomplished.
I owe so much to South Africa and Germany for opening their doors to me and giving me the atmosphere that allowed me to have the courage to pursue my ambitions, which for many people I know is a luxury. One day, I’ll petition for naturalization in Germany as well. In 2020, I went to the Somali Embassy in Berlin and requested Somali citizenship; they were astonished that some guy with no paperwork just walked in and ask for that, but in the end, I got it. I then went to the Ausländerbehorde and requested that my residence permit be added to my Somali passport. A decision I am proud of, as for decades this passport has been what you threw away on your way to Europe to apply for Assylum.
I’m not here to expose pure hypocrisy, which is pretty evident. Where would Europe be without stolen resources, Germany without migrants to rebuild it, France without Haiti, Ghana, Spain without Latin America, Science, technology, and religion without the Middle East, I mean, you can’t even get your potatoes without the global South, and much more. Has it ever dawned on some individuals that history has demonstrated that immigrants who don’t look like you are the reason you have a good economy, smartphones or even a laptop?
I am speaking out today because I was aware of the racism in Ukraine by Ukrainians for not allowing brown people to leave the country, and some even going so far as to ask them to fight for Ukraine; however, I never judged because it is difficult to put yourself in the shoes of people experiencing a crisis. However, it was this post that pushed me over the edge and motivated me to write.
For a year, I researched, and now Tobi & I are so keen to get 144 moving to create opportunities, and I am grateful for all the possibilities that have been provided to me. I am grateful to everyone who has supported me, understood my purpose, and assisted us.
I ranted on, but I think I have been hiding behind the scenes for too long. I thought I could do more by always pulling strings from the back but I guess that is no longer the case. Well, this is the first and last time, I will get personal and moving forward, I will start breaking things down Topic by Topic. Keep an eye on 144.
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