»  Taki's Magazine

August 19th, 2011

  Somalis All Over


I quipped in a TakiMag column a few months ago that the Pacific island nation of Niue may be the first country in the world to be completely emptied out by emigration.

As you were. I have a new candidate for the title: Somalia. The current population of Somalia is listed as 9.9 million, but it seems to me that number must be declining fast by emigration. At any rate, in Britain, the U.S.A., and the other Anglosphere nations, there seem to be Somalis all over.

Here's one: Mr. Saeed Khaliif. I should actually have said "here's ten," as Mr. Khaliif has a wife and eight children. (Though eight is only our best estimate: no-one seems to know the exact number.)

The Khaliifs arrived in Britain three years ago as refugees from Somalia. In their three years of residence, neither has had paid employment, nor have they learned to speak English. What they have mainly spent their time doing has been studying how to game Britain's welfare system. Most recently they have moved into a seven-bedroom house in tony West Hampstead — Emma Thompson lives nearby. The house is worth $3.2m. Monthly rent — paid for by British taxpayers — is $13,000.

Here is another Somali, Mrs. Hailmo Bokh of Memphis, Tennessee. "Somalian Woman and 11 Kids Call Memphis Home," reads the headline.

To America's shame, Mrs. Bokh and her kids have not been given a seven-bedroom house in an upscale neighborhood, only a three-bedroom apartment in a middling neighborhood. Like the Khaliifs, though, the Bokhs will be fed, clothed, and educated courtesy of native taxpayers. "The Catholic Charities of West Tennessee … will help them get on their feet in Memphis," says the news story, but that's disingenuous since (a) CCWT gets at least half its revenues from government grants (see Part VIII here), and (b) as soon as they can — a few months at most — CCWT hands off refugees to the general welfare system.

We learn that Mrs. Bokh's husband is still in Africa. They hope to get him over here soon. Perhaps he could stop off in London on his way, to pick up some tips from Saeed Khaliif about gaming the welfare system. That would have the Bokhs in a nice Beverly Hills mansion in no time.

The Bokhs are at least not as bereft of work ethic as the Khaliifs. CCWT assures us that the eldest son, age 20, will get a job: "maybe menial in nature, but he will provide for the rest of the family." Jolly good luck to him with that. Unemployment in Shelby County (home to Memphis) is 11.1 percent.

It's the same all over the Anglosphere. Kathy Shaidle laid out the situation of Canadian Somalis here on TakiMag a few days ago. (Though Kathy only had space to cover homicide, terrorism, drug dealing, and female genital mutilation. Here's a rapist to round out the picture.)

Australia? Time magazine reports that "An estimated 16,000 Somalis have found refuge in Australia since the beginning of their country's civil war 17 years ago." Well, they should be pretty well settled in, then. How are they doing? "Unemployment remains a huge problem." Oh dear. Why is that?

Dr. Berhan Ahmed, chairman of the Melbourne-based African Think Tank, an organization dedicated to assisting African refugees, says outdated policies are responsible for migrants' struggling in Australian society. Unemployment remains a huge problem. Ahmed also cites the practice of putting refugees into troubled government-owned housing complexes or high-rise apartment blocks "where often the drug dealers are who want to recruit the kids."

See, the Australians need to adopt the British practice of giving the Somalis a nice house in a posh neighborhood. Then their kids would all be brain surgeons and software entrepreneurs in no time!

That Time story, by the way, is mainly concerned with a police sweep last week in Melbourne to round up terrorists. "The police claim they had foiled a suicide plot by Al-Shabaab supporters to storm a Sydney military base and kill as many soldiers as possible." (Al-Shabaab is a Somali Islamist group.)

Somalis and terrorism go together like Hindus and spelling bees. The chap who tried to blow up the city Christmas-tree-lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon last year is, yes, a Somali refugee, one of over 100,000 the U.S.A. has taken in since the early 1990s.

As TakiMag's resident New Zealand watcher, it would be remiss of me not to check in with the Kiwis on this. How are their Somalis doing? New Zealand has settled about 4,000 Somalis, and they have already made their mark — with, for example, New Zealand's first ever plane hijacking.

Now look: any population has a lot of variation, and I have no doubt there are many law-abiding and industrious Somalis. When you take in 4,000, or 16,000, or 100,000, though, the law of averages is going to kick in — as of course it kicks in unmistakeably in Somalia itself. Human-capital-wise, the Somali averages are simply terrible.

Things are rough in Somalia: chronic civil war, recurrent famine, disease, piracy. Private persons who are distressed by the plight of the Somalis should by no means be discouraged from doing anything they can think of to relieve the distress over there.

The reason nations have governments, though, is to protect and advance the interests of their own citizens. How the interests of Americans, Britons, Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders have been advanced by having thousands of Somalis settled among them, is not clear to me. Perhaps the State Department could send someone round to explain.