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Urban Life - Darcus Howe On Desperate Somalis In Plumstead

ISSUE 202
Front Page
Index

Headlines

Political Parties Accept Guurti's Offer To ‎Mediate Dispute Over Last Tuesday's ‎Election Of Opposition MP As House Speaker

Julie Morgan MP, Sponsors Motion On ‎Somaliland In The House Of Commons‎

A New Era Dawns In Somaliland

Shame On The President, Shame On UDUB ‎Party, And Shame On The Police Commissioner

Heavy Rains In North, Poor Season In South‎

A Response To The “.... Open Letter To His Excellency.. The President Of ‎Somaliland.. Regarding PSA Between The Government Of Somaliland And ‎‎‘Unknown’ Company Called REC For Exclusive Right To Conduct Petroleum ‎Operations In Somaliland ..." By Rova Energy Corporation Limited {REC}‎

TOPCAT MARINE SECURITY INC. OWNER PETER CASINI HAS A HISTORY OF BANKRUPCY IN NEW JERSEY – USA‎‎

Lack Of Coherent And Coordinated Foreign ‎Policy In Promoting Somaliland

Local & Regional Affairs

MIDROC Ethiopia To Import Goods Via Berbera

U.S. Builds Democracy With Foreign Help, Election ‎Monitor Says‎

SSI Exclusive Interview With Somalia PM Ali ‎Mohammed Gedi - Somaliland Is A Somalia Entity

IGAD Calls For The Lifting Of Arms Embargo ‎On Somalia‎

Displaced Settlement Fires In Somalia ‎Highlight The Need For Improved Services‎

UN Special Representative To Attend IGAD ‎First Ministerial Meeting Inside Somalia‎‎‎

Development Agencies Launch Distance Learning in Somalia‎

Mercenaries To Police Somali Coast

Editorial
Images of Tuesday the 29th of November 2005

International News

UNFPA Asks Donors To Increase Assistance ‎For Women In Conflict

Armed Raid On Somali Cafe

Veil Of Secrecy Lifted On Somali Community

Somalis Urged To Avert HIV/AIDS Epidemic

Survey Supports Ban On Drug Khat

Urban Life - Darcus Howe On Desperate ‎Somalis In Plumstead

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

The Observer Book Aid Appeal

Unreported World. Episode 3: Somalia

The Isaq Somali Diaspora And‎ Poll-Tax Agitation In Kenya, 1936-41 ‎(part 4)

City Lands Somali Book Collection

Notice Board

A SOMALI PLAGIARIST WRITER‎

Opinions

UDUB Should Accept New Leadership & Move On

The Big Bang Incident‎

The Presidency Of Somaliland & 2007‎‎

Somaliland Non-Governmental Organizations’ Double ‎Sword Phenomenon And Lack Of Government Oversight ‎

Principles Of Public Life Of Somaliland Members Of ‎The Parliament‎

The Merchants of Hate Struck Again‎


London , UK , November 28, 2005 (The New Statesman) – Thousands of Somali youths are roaming our streets in desperation, writes Darcus Howe

I was sitting in the BBC’s Radio London studio on Marylebone High Street for a phone-in programme, when a caller complained about my portrayal of the Somali community in Plumstead, south London , in a documentary on Channel 4 last year. He and his friends from Somalia felt I was guilty of speaking ill about their community with no reasonable cause.

I replied that it is my responsibility to hold a mirror to the communities to which I belong so that we may see ourselves, good, bad and indifferent. At the same time we need to tell others about issues among us as we seek understanding and assistance in tackling our problems. He grumbled about negative reporting and said little else.

In fact, in that documentary I was looking at the issue of conflict between Somalis and West Indians, relatively powerless groups in this part of south London . I described Plumstead as a place stuck in time, into which thousands of Somali refugees have been thrown to compete with West Indians for scraps of council housing and other social benefits.

I filmed a young West Indian boy who had been beaten close to death by a group of Somali youths, and an old West Indian woman bombarded with every type of missile by another group of Somali youths. A social worker told us that among the Somalis were the most traumatized young people she had ever encountered, and that after listening to their life stories she wept and suffered nightmares.

I concluded by intimating that we were sitting on a time bomb. So I was not all that surprised when I read that a group of young Somalis from Plumstead had been detained as part of the police investigation into the robbery at the travel agency in Bradford in which a young policewoman was shot dead.

There are thousands of badly damaged Somali youths roaming our streets in desperation, and disposed to violence because it is the only life they have known. We need an immense effort from the Mayor of London and the local Greenwich Council to save them from disaster.


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