Parents in Somaliland are buying their sons taxis so they won’t risk their lives trying to reach Europe
In Somaliland, parents are trying to dissuade their children from dangerous and illegal migration to Europe by buying them second-hand cars that can be operated as taxis. These cabs, now ubiquitous in Hargeisa, the capital of the self-declared state in Somalia, have become known as hooyo ha tahriibin, which translates roughly as a mother pleading “my son, do not tahriib.”
Tahribi, the Arabic word for “smuggle” has come to mean illegal emigration in Somali, where the flood of young people attempting to leave for Europe is considered a national disaster. This is according to a recent blog post by Nino-ilhan Ali, a doctoral researcher studying Somaliland at the School of Oriental and African Studies.
Over the past few years, Somalis from Somaliland have been joining their counterparts fleeing civil war in Somalia for Europe by way of Ethiopia, Sudan, Libya, and the Mediterranean Sea—a dangerous sea crossing that claimed the lives of almost 4,000 refugees last year. So far this year, Somalis accounted for 8% of all sea arrivals into Italy, the third top source country of refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean.
According to Ali, one common assumption about refugee source countries like Somaliland is that families encourage emigration as a way to broaden their sources of income….
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