‘Akhdams’ are not Somalis [Archives:2004/751/Letters to the Editor]

July 1 2004

Kareena A.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Al-Sharay has assumed for Somalis. It's even more unfortunate that you have assumed that he was correct without making the necessary research in order to give out such critical information. I wonder what made your reader assume that Akhdams were Somalis.
I have lived in Yemen before and I am completely aware of how uneducated some Yemenis are when it comes to dealing with people of color. I remember many incidents in which when a black person was seen walking in the roads, they will be called “ya abd”-meaning hey slave (hopefully my translation is correct to the word Abd) or ya Habashi-referring to people from 'Habasha' or Ethiopia. Ethiopia is known as bilad ilhabasha for my knowledge.
As a Somali person reading the “Hell in Aser” article, I did not think anyone owes us an apology simply because Somalis are not Yemenis of African origin. Secondly, no one has the right to give as the title of Akhdams because Somalis consider themselves Somalis and not Yemenis of African origin.
Dear editor please educate yourself as well as your readers with the history of Akhdams and their origin before you can make any statements or do any labeling for anyone.