A letter from the brother of the Somali victim of Oulu, Finland

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

Migrant Tales was surprised Thursday evening to get a message from the brother of the Somali victim who died tragically in Oulu, Finland, this week after trying to flee from three people who barged into his home with a metal pipe. At the most, the three suspects will be charged with manslaughter (kuolemantuottamus). 

The incident touches a sensitive nerve of the immigrant and  Somali community, the fourth largest in Finland. Even if what happened was not a hate crime, according to the police, it brings out the despair, futility and muffled outrage of some Somalis who live in this country.

If the victim’s tragic death, whom his brother calls Abdirashid, can shed light on the plight of Somalis in Finland and the hardships they face, the better.

By writing about what happened in Oulu we are showing respect to the Somali community. Their sadness has a voice in Finland even if many would like to drown it with colorblind arguments.

It should be also mentioned that sensible Finns are just as saddened by what happened as some members of the Somali community.

Abdirashid’s big brother, Jirde, sent the following letter* to Migrant Tales and a picture of the victim:

Jirde’s two brothers. The baby is Abdirashid. 

My little brother was born in Ethiopia in a refugee camp to the second wife of my father in 1989.  During the civil war between the Siad Barre regime and northerners [of Somaliland], my brother was taken to Dijibouti to be treated for rubella by my father’s first wife [Jirde’s mother].  

I am the eldest brother [of a large family]. We contacted all the physicians in Dijibouti [to treat my brother]. We had to go to Europe. My brother had lost his sight due to cataracts.  We managed to get him to Germany. His big brother, who lived at the time in Paris [, France], and with the assistance of God and Germany, the operation on his eyes was successful. 

Four months [after the operation] and after the end of the war [against Siad Barre] my father requested the government of Germany to return his family to the country [Somalia]. My little brother [Abdirashid] returned… 

We request this great nation of civilized people to do justice for my little brother. 

Signed: Mr. Jirde, the big brother. 

*The letter has been edited.

  1. Depressed N Worried Immigrant

    My condolences jirde, justice will be served tsya hanging in there bro. I wonder where is Mr Allans condolences?? we’re waiting for one.

  2. Allan

    Naturally they have my condolences, losing a family member is always a tragedy.

    Is that the whole letter Enrique? Theres parts missing from this story – all that is mentioned is Somaliland, Somalia, France and Germany and Oulu is quite far from all of these.

  3. Mary Mekko

    Enrique, am I understanding that the dead man was blind from rubella, then recovered his sight in Germany? Something about this article makes no sense to me.

    So the German taxpayers paid to send him back to Somalia, but then he requested to move to Finland?

    Yes, Allan, you’re right. Big chunks of this man’s life story are missing, indeed. Why was he in Finland? What kind of work did he do, what was his Finnish life story?

    That his life in Somalia was tragic – that no doubt, it is a country with a long and sad history of poverty and desperation, long before Europe was even developed by the industrial revolution. However, who is the Finnish Jirde for whom we should mourn, not the long and sad childhood of the man?

    Will Finland miss his hard work and intelligent contributions to Finnish society?

  4. Klay_Immigrant

    Any loss of life is a tragedy to family, friends and colleagues. But why is an obituary written about him like he’s some kind of national hero especially when the circumstances and motive that lead to his death are still unclear. Is his life more valued than an average Jussi just because he was born into unfortunate conditions and was Somali? I’m a visible immigrant but that doesn’t grant me any special status by default on that fact alone.

    Also my impression is that his death is used by others opportunistically as an example to forward their arguments and views on race relations in Finland. Let his family mourn in peace and not use this tragedy as a tool for political gain.