Ali, Mohammed Abdulkarim. “Angry Queer Somali Boy: A Complicated Memoir, University of Regina Press, 2019.
Addiction and Recovery
Mohammed Abdulkarim Ali was kidnapped by his father just as Somalia was experiencing societal implosion. He was taken first to the Netherlands by his stepmother, and then later on to Canada. Now away from his birth family and dealing with the forces of Somali tradition and Western culture, Mohamed had to find a way to face his queer coming of age. The story he gives us is not one that will make you smile; it is a very powerful look at “one young man’s nascent sexuality fused with the violence wrought by displacement.” Most of us never face anything quite like it but then on the other many of us have experienced that displacement and self-acceptance can cause.
“My road to lasciviousness took many years. I found out how far I could go by using my body for gratification.” To understand that thought, it is necessary to understand what Ali meant by lasciviousness which is actually much milder than the usual definition. It was his way of exploring his sexuality by hiding it from others. “I used a glass deodorant bottle to probe my asshole. I thought about whether I should lube up the staircase railing and slide back onto it. I wanted to know how much pain my dick could take. Further along Ali discusses the roles of dominance and submission and that he as a black man was expected to be dominant while, in truth, he enjoyed being submissive.
This is a striking and stunning read that certainly opened my eyes about so much and in less than 200 small pages (the book is physically very small, thought-wise, it is encyclopedic). Do not be misled by title of “Addiction and Recovery”. Finding who you are can be quite addictive.
“Both tragic and healing, Angry Queer Somali Boy offers resplendent writing that intimately grapples with placelessness, identity, and belonging, in all its forms. ” —Huda Hassan, writer and researcher