Confronting Ikran Tahlil’s disappearance, has evoked dark memories of the disappearance of my uncle Saeed Abdulkadir Farah. He was my mother’s favorite brother and they were incredibly close. He went missing in Mogadishu on July 1, 1969. He left his home and attended a July 1st celebration with close friends. His friends claimed they dropped him in front of his home after the celebrations. Unfortunately, abti Saeed is still missing to this day and our family has never found closure nor peace.
He was a loving brother, a adored & cherished uncle, and a loyal friend to many. He had just recently graduated from Cambridge University and was working in Mogadishu. He was incredibly smart, handsome, gracious, magnetic and oozed charisma. He was visionary and very much an idealist at heart. He was burning with passion for democracy, civil rights and human rights for all those living in the Horn of Africa – very much in the spirit of the 60s.
My family followed religiously, every lead and searched everywhere plausible – or impossible – to just find him. There were many fabricated stories, many sightings which turned out to be false, this only continued the family pain. Every lead they could find led to a dead end. The days turned into months, the months into years, and now decades have passed. Trust me, the family pain and heartache, is still raw and feels cruel. For decades we’ve questioned each other, Where could he be? What could have happened to him? The salient question of whether, he is alive or dead, has never been answered. His siblings have never, ever, come to terms with his absence, and the rest of his family have been just as devastated.
This is a pain I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. You have closure when you bury your loved one. Until then, you are left adrift, searching endlessly, painfully, in the wilderness, struggling to come to terms with all the unknowns – Why, How, Who, Where – your mind keeps spinning and the questions keep multiplying in your head.
I debated internally for months, whether I should share private family pain publicly. I felt compelled to do so! It took courage and it was excruciatingly challenging, in having to relive a lot of painful memories, which have never been allowed to heal.
We recognize at a deeply personal level, the Tahlil Family’s pain & turmoil. I encourage everyone, to see this issue, first & foremost, as a family in crisis. This issue has been incredibly politicized, to the extent we have minimized the human element story, and focused predominately on the politics. Some have even questioned, in a country which has faced so much injustice and violence, what makes Ikran’s story any different?
This line of thinking only victimizes the family more, and exposes our tolerance for violence and injustice in our Homeland. We must all demand justice for the family and put policies in place to avoid other families experiencing similar pain and heartache.
The family needs & must be given closure, anything less is to condemn her family to a lifetime of pain and torture. We lived this pain, we are still living this pain, and we recognize their pain as our own.
I have a question, do you know where your loved ones are today? If you do, you are supremely fortunate and should count your blessings.
Providing Peace and Justice is the only pathway to progress.
By Khadra Dualeh