(image still Rodney Decker)
Hani Abdile is a poet who performs around Sydney and is the Sydney faciliatator of Writing Through Fences. Her book I Will Rise is available through our SHOP here.
Hani was detained in Christmas Island for 19 months and is now in community.
I used to think I am alone
and hold myself back.
Scared to express my feelings
and make my life a mess,
I sat silently
and agreed with my thoughts.
I forgot I had a chance.
They pushed me back
and broke my heart.
I stood for nothing
but a waste of number.
They held me down
but I got up.
I am ready to brush off the dust.
Here I am.
You will hear my voice,
that is my sound.
Now I am flying like a bird.
You can see me
diving up so high.
I fight for my rights
and go from zero to hero.
They locked me in
but I got out.
I am ready to brush off the dust.
Here I am a Somali girl.
I am not a waste of number.
I am not a victim.
I am a hero
and I am a leader.
– Hani Abdile 2015
Oooh old friends
My beloved friend
We chased each other
But that wasn’t my favourite
We rolled in the mud
So thick, double to our skin
Danced in the rain
As we thought we could bless the land.
We re-owned our lost childhood
Your smiles fully healed my wounds
So shiny and sharp.
I was addicted to your company
I felt disgrace to leave you behind
But my friend you have chosen the traditional way.
Seeing your photos my perfect friend —
Life always takes unexpected turns
You dive into abuse and rise like a sun
Blessed to be a mother of two
My ship has sailed on unknown shores
While yours still floats on the garden of your birth.
- Hani 2018
thanks to Carita for helping out.
Ramala’s tongue was tied to her throat. Her heart beat like a speeding train. Sweat ran like waterfalls within the creases of her body. She stared at the path in front of her that looked like a tunnel. Unfamiliar darkness choked her. This was the place her real parents called home. Parents. That word seemed so strange to her it caught in her mouth and evaporated like a drop of rain on a desert plain.
It was her summer break and Ramala had finally made her journey to her beloved home. All her life from her luxurious bed in Miami she dreamed of a quiet village that smells like grounded cardamom and dry earth, filled with the laugher of children. The image wrapped her with a sense of safety, but it was not real. She created it through Internet searchers and memories of others.
She called herself “take away” because 20 years ago Ramla was found by an NGO in an orphanage and adopted by an American couple at the age of three. She had learned about her country’s traumatic history in a high school classroom, which ripped her from her middle-class life and forced her into this significant and life-changing journey.
Now at 23 she stood in front of the burning heat stared at the left over of her family. Small hut crumbled into the earth. Rotted defeated and abandoned. “Home was mouth of a shark”. The whole village had run away.
- Hani Abdile 2017
I hear screaming within a silent night
The one that you hear, but can’t see
The one that you know is a human voice, but you can’t help
The one whose suffering you feel, but you can’t share their pain
You hear their steps, but you are waiting
for the time they can appear
to be heard and be helped.
They are still screaming
It sounds like a storm on a summer night.
Their world is dark and everyone around them
pretends to be blind or deaf, of the reality.
They talk carefully, when they tell their awful past.
This is their story.
It’s part of their history.
This is what is worthy to write.
- Hani Abdile 2015