But it's not in the news. Or, rather, some mention of the protest rally showed up in distinctly back-page items. I discussed a possible reason for this high level of reticence shown by the press yesterday. (July 2, 2009)
It's possible that reporters and editors are waiting for the protest to be over, before mentioning it.
While looking for a reference to the Somali-American community's rally in traditional news media, I found a few more-or-less related items.
Mshale ("the African Community Newspaper") confronted the possible involvement of the Abubakar Islamic Center / Abubakar As-Saddique mosque in the disappearance of about 20 young Minnesota men.
"Despite fears of distractions from the missing Somali youth saga that has engulfed the Somali community in Minnesota, the Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center held its 9th Annual Convention at the Minneapolis Convention Center over the weekend where thirty speakers addressed 10,000 people over three days. Participants said it was encouraging to see the number of attendees, the breadth of topics, and the scope of talent.Fair enough. The apparent connection between the Abubakar Islamic center / mosque and disappearing Minnesotans may be a perfect storm of coincidences. We'll know more when details of indictments become public knowledge.
"Despite a tumultuous year, the mosque saw increased attendance at this year's convention and a spike in monetary support...." (Mshale)
Whatever I think of their editorial position, my hat's off to Mshale for confronting the issue, instead of presenting the old formula of tears, FBI harassment and misunderstood victim that Minnesota Public Radio seems to be maintaining. (July 1, 2009)
Somali-Americans: Not Your Standard-Issue MinoritiesI think two articles I found about a recent fire in Minneapolis illustrate why Somali-Americans in Minnesota may present a difficult problem for traditional American journalists.
KARE-11, a local television station, and the Minneapolis Saint Paul Business Journal covered a fire which destroyed three small businesses near Peavey Park, where that rally was scheduled. All three were owned by Somalis. Nobody was killed, but being burned out of your business is far from good news: and eight people had to move out of their homes in a hurry.
The fire is being investigated, of course. It appears to have started outside the buildings - but that doesn't necessarily mean arson. There seems to have been a party going on at the time, and people at parties have been known to do daft or careless things.
The point isn't whether the Somalis whose lives were disrupted represent what serious thinkers of the 19th century would have called a 'criminal class,' or what socially-conscious thinkers of the 20th century would have labeled 'victims of hate crimes.' What I see are people who are where my ancestors were a few generations back.
Except these particular Somalis are business owners instead of farmers and laborers.
I can't help but wonder if traditional American journalists - particularly senior editors, who grew up in the same world of relevance and peace symbols that I did - are sincerely puzzled about what angle to take in articles on this new minority.
I've gotten a bit off-topic in this post: but as a Minnesotan, I think that what affects my new neighbors affects me, too. And, I am not at all convinced that the latest wave of immigrants is getting any better treatment in the traditional press than the non-Anglo people who came before them.
Finally, quite a few Somali-Americans came to live in Minnesota because they found it easiest to get the sort of jobs my ancestors held. There aren't so many hod-carriers these days, but jobs in Minnesota's poultry industry serve the same function for newcomers whose command of English isn't quite up to speed.
- "Somali-Americans Rally Against Extremism Tomorrow: But Who Cares?"
(July 2, 2009)
- "Somalia, Minnesota, Traditional Journalism, and Unpleasant Realities
(July 1, 2009)
- "Kenya and Somalia: Getting Along with Crazy Neighbors"
(June 25, 2009)
- "North Korea, American Journalists, the Internet, and Power to the People"
(June 16, 2009)
- "Another Minnesotan Dies in Somalia: Not Your Stereotype African"
(June 7, 2009)
- "Tiananmen Square Commemoration in Hong Kong: No Tanks"
(June 5, 2009)
- "Tiananmen Square 20th Anniversary: A Losing Battle for Traditional Information Gatekeepers"
(June 3, 2009)
- "Sounds of Silence: 2009"
(March 31, 2009)
- "Somalia, Minnesota, and Common Sense"
(March 22, 2009)
- "Minnesotans Recruited for Terror?"
(March 10, 2009)
- "Castro, Cuba, Guevara, Traditional Gatekeepers, and the Information Age"
(January 30, 2009)
- "William Felkner vs. College Conformity: Traditional Information Gatekeepers Face Another Challenge"
(December 16, 2008)
- "Recruiting for Terror? Somali Minnesotans Missing, One Found Dead"
(December 4, 2008)
- "DC Gun Ban, Online Censorship, Individual Rights, and Power to the People"
(June 27, 2008)
- "Abubakar Islamic Center Receives Record Support at Convention despite Controversy"
Mshale ("the African Community Newspaper") (July 2, 2009)
- "Fire destroys businesses in Minneapolis"
KARE-11 (July 1, 2009)
- "Fire destroys small businesses in south Minneapolis"
Minneapolis Saint Paul Business Journal (June 30, 2009)