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Meet the Somalis
November 12, 2013 2:31 AM   Subscribe

Meet the Somalis is a series of short comics depicting the various experiences of fourteen Somali immigrants in cities across northern Europe.
posted by Dim Siawns (21 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
These are great.
posted by mdonley at 2:42 AM on November 12, 2013


Yep, worth reading. I was in need of a bit of an empathy transfusion, so this was perfect.
posted by aesop at 4:31 AM on November 12, 2013


(Hint: the left/right arrow zoom in on one frame at a time. The text was too small for me to read easily before I figured that out.)
posted by hoyland at 4:34 AM on November 12, 2013


Beautiful. I clicked immediately on the London one. So good to hear the voice of people you live among but may not know.
posted by stuck on an island at 4:48 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


These are awesome - thanks for posting them.
posted by jquinby at 4:50 AM on November 12, 2013


So varied and so touching. The art is lovely, too. Thanks for sharing them.
posted by daisyk at 5:21 AM on November 12, 2013


Wow, that was incredible. I was just going to read one, but I had to read every single one. So moving.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 5:27 AM on November 12, 2013


These are great! Sometimes with this style the art doesn't add much, but the 'performances' here are charming and have so much humanity. Did the artist wish to remain anonymous? I can't find a credit anywhere.
posted by Erasmouse at 5:46 AM on November 12, 2013


These are fantastic.
posted by xthlc at 5:56 AM on November 12, 2013


Did the artist wish to remain anonymous? I can't find a credit anywhere.

Benjamin Dix (researcher and author) and Lindsay Pollock (artist)

from the PDF version
posted by SharkParty at 6:02 AM on November 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is really nice. I like the way the comics advance, as well.
posted by xingcat at 6:36 AM on November 12, 2013


(Hint: the left/right arrow zoom in on one frame at a time.)

Just clicking does the same thing.
posted by mediareport at 6:40 AM on November 12, 2013


Thanks for this! It reminds of me Persepolis.

I wonder why the artist chose to make everyone white?
posted by cacofonie at 7:12 AM on November 12, 2013


Fuck. I'm only three stories in and this is already my favorite post of the month. Baashi: Amsterdam is such a heart-wrenching story. And Liibaan & Abshir is a sharp snapshot of one immigrant family's inner life (though I was a bit confused after the umbrella panel, when the narration switches between the brothers). Abdi's story is fascinating, too:

On *this* I am judged complicit?

My father drives a taxi. We are very normal.


What a stunningly great link. Thanks, Dim Siawns; you just made my internet day. Everyone else, I recommend going through these slowly; the words and art deserve to be savored, and each story deserves a minute or two of thought before moving onto the next.
posted by mediareport at 7:21 AM on November 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I wonder why the artist chose to make everyone white?

Huh?
posted by Meatbomb at 7:43 AM on November 12, 2013


Some people just don't understand the comics medium, Meatbomb. I've learned to accept it.

[edit to apologize: that was unnecessarily short and mean.]
posted by mediareport at 7:48 AM on November 12, 2013


"We are all the same, but we are all different."
posted by Daddy-O at 8:02 AM on November 12, 2013


I wonder why the artist chose to make everyone white?

Do you mean "I wonder why the artist chose to make everyone's skin unshaded"? Maybe because it would print or appear more clearly onscreen. Maybe because the artist's style doesn't ever include shading because that's her aesthetic choice. Maybe because the artist isn't good at shading.

But skin color/race gets indicated in different ways in different comics, whether by white artists or artists of color. There are lots where there's no skin shading at all, and there are some like in certain anime where people's skin shading or eye or hair color is not meant to be a naturalistic depiction of "our world" race or skin tone, regardless of what racial background the characters have. (ie, a character may have purple hair and starry pink eyes, but she still reads as Japanese, even though in the world of the comic her hair is "naturally" purple and her eyes are "naturally" starry pink and in the real world no one's hair is naturally purple, etc.)

Actually, I was thinking that several of the people really looked like Somali folks I know from around - Zein and Sacdiya in particular could totally be people from my street.

Reading these made me so mad. People should not flee their war-torn home in order to rot in a transfer center or be racially profiled. There is no reason that life should be this hard for people - no reason except cruelty and greed. It also made me reflect that even though I know plenty of Somali people (there is a large Somali community here, both immigrant and US-born) I don't really know most people more than just to say hello. It makes me angry to think that probably a lot of them have to go through all this shit.

I liked the comics a lot, particularly as I was reading something the other day about how few positive (and diverse) portraits of Muslim men there in in popular media - sometimes there are positive portrayals of Muslim women, but often only in a "look at these poor oppressed women who need saving" way.
posted by Frowner at 11:30 AM on November 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Alison Bechdel, who I thought did shading, actually doesn't! My memory had tricked me - she actually just draws all her characters with outlines, but her style is so immersive that I had imagined it.
posted by Frowner at 11:32 AM on November 12, 2013


Thank you for sharing this link. These comics really offered a diversity of experiences, and they were all worth reading. Good empathy multivitamin for the brain.
posted by erlking at 3:33 PM on November 12, 2013


I can't see it on my Mac and, weirdly, the downloadable PDF won't open in either Preview or Photoshop.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:08 PM on November 13, 2013


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