The Young Ones
Photos: J. Hazwan
An amazing night of poetry, rap, drama and music
Osamah Al-Tamimy is 21 years old and is originally from Iraq. He spent only a few months there due to the instability in his home country, particularly the hardships and deprivation of daily life resulting from the United Nations sanctions regime imposed by the US and Britain. His play, ‘Arab in the West’ was inspired by his own life and experiences. It aims to challenge prejudicial assumptions about Arabs and especially, about young Muslim men, in a climate of hostility and suspicion. ‘Arab in the West’ was performed to critical acclaim in five locations in 2008 including Sloane Square and Ladbroke Grove, London, as part of the Royal Court Theatre’s programme, ‘Unheard Voices’ and ‘Across the Street, Around the World’, organised by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Sahra Mohammed was born in 1987 in Somalia and came to the UK when she was five years old, fleeing the civil war with her family. She had no schooling in Somalia and feels most comfortable writing in English (the language of her education). She writes mainly about things that affect her socially and about Somalia. She says “I’m no great activist but I find myself drawn to causes and I have real empathy with anyone who may have experienced war first hand or anyone who’s families may have been involved in wars or struggles.” Sahra writes poetry which recently won her a place on a prestigious Arvon Foundation course. Sahra sees herself as fitting in with the longstanding Somali tradition of storytelling and is currently working on short stories.
Fatima Hagi was born in 1985 in Somalia. She left her home country due to the civil war that broke out in 1991, fleeing to Kenya. She came to London a year later. Prior to this she had no formal schooling but settled well into school, quickly learning English and falling “in love with books and words from an early age”. She has been since adolescence, both because she found it therapeutic and to express herself and the way she felt about the world and the people around me. She writes poetry, short stories and speeches and is currently taking a degree in English Literature. Her inspiration, she says, “comes from my mother and grandmother who started life out as poor nomads and struggled to make a life for themselves and their children, under the most extreme circumstances.”
Abdi Bahdon is a gifted 18-year-old poet, lyricist and actor who was born in Somalia. He has starred in a film entitled Mash Up, the ITV series The Bill and a theatre production entitled Ghetto Faces. Abdi faced appalling violence in Somalia and was left with a paralysed arm and broken ribs after being caught up in a car explosion. He lost his family and friends when he fled to the UK with a group of refugees, who later abandoned him. Abdi is currently studying A levels in Sociology, Physiology and English. Abdi’s writing is inspired by his horrific experiences and by the hardship and pain faced by people in his homeland. His poignant poems appear in Silent Voices.
Daniel Silverstein is in his twenties and has been writing and performing his own unique blend of rap/poetry since 2001. Daniel has been an community activist and youth worker since his teenage years and works in youth groups, schools and campuses on educational and cultural events, and especially in interfaith. Hel has performed in venues and at festivals all over the UK as well as in the USA, Paris, Budapest and the Czech Republic. In 2007 Daniel established Psychosemitic, a Muslim-Jewish-Middle Eastern events and education agency that runs programmes to bring people together for education and celebration. Daniel enjoys combining this work with poetry and rapping in creative workshops, both on his own and with Mohammed Yahya
Mohammed Yahya is in his twenties and was born in Mozambique, but was forced to leave the country during the civil war. He moved to Portugal, where he began to show an interest in music, partly due to his fathers influence as a singer. Being surrounded by poverty, Mohammed used music and poetry to channel his thoughts, energy and emotion in a positive manner. Later, having moved to London, Mohammed met Ironbraydz and formed Blind Alphabetz, a project which achieved collaborations and performances with top-level artists such as RZA from The Wu Tang Clan, M1 from Dead Prez
Mohammed, studied Buddhism, then converted to Islam following an eye-opening trip to Gambia where he was touched by the peace and unity of the beautiful people he met there.
Lines of Faith
Produced and performed by Daniel and Mohammed, is a fusion of Islamic and Jewish words and music with jazz, blues, reggae, funk and hip hop, carrying a strong Universalist message of peace and unity which appeals as much to those of other and no faiths as to devout (and non!) Muslims and Jews.
Hosted by Shereen Pandit and Aisha Dennis
born in many countries