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Neglecting The Death of Shukri Abdi? We’re In A Lot More Trouble Than We Thought

This beautiful soul had the right, as a human, to live.

This beautiful, 12-year-old Black Somali Muslim girl, Shukri Abdi came to the UK for safety. She was born in a refugee camp in Kenya after her family had fled Somalia because of the conflict. She ran away for safety from death, only for death to meet her at the place she was running to for her safety. 

This beautiful girl had the human right to live. End of.

If you haven’t already, you can read the post we previously published about Black Lives Matter; the premise is the same in this sad situation; until racists see Black people as humans too, they don’t believe the laws stated in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights pertains to us.

This in itself is already a problem, but the fact that Shukri was Black AND a refugee immediately meant that her treatment from racists would be a thousand times worse.

We can assure you, with the utmost confidence, Shukri’s death would not have been ruled as a ‘tragic incident’ by the Greater Manchester Police without a proper investigation, if she wasn’t Black and a refugee. Speaking to the BBC, Attiq Malik, the family’s lawyer, said that ‘ “within hours” ‘ of young Shukri’s death, the police ‘had published in their press release that there were no suspicious circumstances.’ He then explained how by the Greater Manchester Police publishing this so swiftly after her death ‘had left insufficient time to check all evidence trails and discount other possibilities.’

We can assure you, with the utmost confidence, it would not have taken global protests, worldwide petitions, public outcry (only after the case re-surfacing because of the Black Lives Matter movement) and almost 6000 emails to the Greater Manchester Mayor, for the Greater Manchester Mayor to ask for a wider investigation of the events leading up to her death, if Shukri wasn’t Black and a refugee ⁠— if it was of that much importance, wouldn’t a wide and thorough investigation have taken place the first time when she was killed last year

We can assure you, with the utmost confidence, that Shukri’s school would have listened to Shukri’s mother, Zamzam Ture’s, complaints about her daughter being bullied at school before her death via drowning, if Shukri wasn’t Black and a refugee. Members of Shukri’s family spoke to The Guardian in August of last year, claiming, ‘she was badly bullied at the school, Broad Oak sports college in Bury, for more than a year but that the school failed to respond to her family’s concerns.’ Shukri’s aunt, Saynab Hareed, also told The Guardian that the bullying had intensified so much at one point that one of the teachers removed her from the school, which name has now been changed to Hazel Wood High School, ‘in a desperate attempt to protect her.’ 

Is that where we are now? Turning our backs on children because they don’t come from a certain place, speak a certain way, act a certain way or look a certain way? 

To make matters worse, in an article written by The Guardian in June 2020, it stated that there was an ‘inquest that opened in February but which was adjourned with no confirmed resumption date [that] largely focuses on events on the day of Shukri’s death. It is not examining allegations of bullying at school.’

And you know as well as we do exactly why that is. 

This whole situation is horrifying but the fact that Shukri was just a child makes it all the more heartbreaking. Children are the one of the purest forms of life on Mother Earth and are supposed to be loved, nurtured and guarded by their community. We are supposed to protect them at all costs, yes, those who don’t necessarily have jobs in which they swear to protect them e.g. social workers, teachers, police, and those that do.

Shukri’s life had barely begun before it was snatched away from her.

She had done nothing wrong; she was an innocent. She was an innocent Black, Muslim girl who had come to the UK for sanctuary, for a home with her family, and for her to live and grow, peacefully. That was it. But Shukri was failed by the school who were supposed to be educating and protecting her and she was failed by the police, because she was Black and a refugee.

We can assure you, with the utmost confidence, there is a special circle in the underworld reserved for those who look at children, or anyone for that matter, with xenophobic eyes and wash their hands of them, simply because they don’t tick their physical, religious or ethnic requirements. 

On Victoria Derbyshire’s programme that airs on the BBC, Ture had spoken on how when she’d reported Shukri missing on the day of her death that initially, the police had failed to act. Ture later on shared how when the police informed her that her daughter had died, they were ‘ ”not sympathetic”.’ They also tried to convince Ture that Shukri had been swimming, though her mother and the rest of the family had said this was unlikely as Shukri couldn’t swim and she was also wearing full Islamic dress so it wouldn’t have been physically possible for her to do so.

According to the Independent, the school agreed ‘to an internal report looking at these claims, with Shukri’s family saying none of the family members, nor other parents who had previously complained about bullying at the school, were interviewed. Instead, Shukri’s family were invited to discuss the internal report from the school at Bury police station, but because of the refusal to provide Shukri’s mother with an interpreter, they had no choice but to leave the station in protest, with Zamzam in tears.’

For some asinine reason, there are some humans that display xenophobic behaviour towards refugees. It’s the stench of: ‘I voted leave for Brexit’; ‘you’re not welcome here’; ‘go back to where you came from’; ‘you’re going to take all of our jobs’; and ‘you should be grateful that we allowed you here.’

They should be grateful? For coming into a land that you live on but built on the backs of slaves? But we digress.

What should they be grateful for? For us opening up the borders for them so they can have a place to call home because their home, through no fault of their own, is a hostile environment that isn’t safe for them to live in? 

Isn’t that simply just being kind?

And we all know that they weren’t calling for them to be grateful in a kind way.

You shouldn’t tell anyone to be grateful and especially not in such a demeaning and condescending manner; that’s overt signs of a superiority complex. 

If we (For A Fairer life, being Generation Y) and the generations before us cannot see a child’s heart because we can’t look past their ethnicity, their accent, their religious background or the country they were originally born in, then we are going to leave Mother Earth in an even worse shape than we found it. The people who bullied Shukri were children. They were not born bullies; they would have been moulded and shaped by the people in their community, meaning that whoever those people were failed them. We, as people who are supposed to guide and educate them to be better humans than we are, are failing.

If we can’t have compassion and love for the children in our own backyard who don’t look like us but are suffering, then how on earth are we supposed to show compassion and love for children in countries further away who don’t look like us and are suffering? And if you are able to have compassion and love for children further away and not in your own backyard, even though they’re both suffering, then there are some serious issues that need to be addressed.

We need to do better; for Shukri’s sake and for all of the other innocent children who are being targeted, harassed, bullied and tormented because they are Black and have come to the UK for refuge. We need to do better so when they step on the plane they are truly signing on for a fairer and better life, and not an early death sentence.

Sign the following petition so we can get justice for Shukri:

If you have social media, continue to shout out her name and raise awareness so she’s not forgotten.

She cannot be forgotten.