Two Girls and a Podcast.

Fatuma Abdulahi (from the brilliant blog http://postcardfromafrica.blogspot.ca/) and I
decided to flirt with other forms of social media, and have a mini podcast series. The inspiration behind this stems from our conversations as two politically active Somali women who find most of the conversations around African issues too limiting, too stuffy, and not uncomfortable enough. The aim of this podcast is to deconstruct some of the discourse surrounding politricks, Why Europe ought to be nicer to coloured folks, identity politics, how to find the G-Spot, Niggas in Paris, Africa’s place in the new global order, gender identity, and other similar sexy topics in a radio format, well sorta. There are many blogs in the African blogosphere, but very little vlogs/podcasts, and we’re both fascinated by this medium. So here’s our first session, which is just an introduction to the purpose/aim of this project, and its implications. Give it a listen, and feel free to challenge/engage/troll us. Warning: annoying accents found here. You can contact us @idiauslander and @fatumaabdulahi.

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24 thoughts on “Two Girls and a Podcast.

  1. You guys are awesome! I can’t wait to get a regular dose of your thoughts. I hope you will welcome some useless ones of mine and hopefully find a way to make them useful. Keep @ it ladies, you have some fans…obviously the haters will make themselves known-in a Toronto Cab, on Nairobi streets or on the info super-highway.

    • Definitely! Our aim is to put ourselves out there, and hopefully some of our brothers and sisters can challenge us on air, and help us un-package some of the implications of contemporary discourse on Africa. Glad you loved it, and looking forward to more of your input.

  2. Ladies, I just had a listen (TWICE) and can’t stop smiling!!! This is exactly the sort of thing that is needed right now…You guys will revolutionize Somali women everywhere – meaning you WILL get them all on their laptops, speaking on issues close to their hearts.

    With no shame in our game – We, SOMALI WOMEN – will talk and the rest will just have to listen, taking on board our views on a few things….

    It’s about time the world hears what our opinions are on the madness that is Somalia, the people, the culture as well as the state of it all since 19’kala-yaal!!!

    You ladies are legands and am loving your work, keep it up!

    H x

    • thanks Hoda for stopping by! Yes and yes! The diaspora, the international community at large have yet to hear how those affected by the crumbling of our state feel about these issues. We’re watching this mess, and we’re tired of being silent. Time to start the conversation.

  3. We must have this conversation and air our dirty laundry in public! As women we must initiate and lead this conversation, in our Masajids, homes, community centers, etc. and raffle some feathers! ( Well behaved women rarely make history)

  4. An amazing podcast. I’m looking forward to hearing more and learning/discussing aspects of contemporary African issues that are overlooked or hidden. It is time for the Western world to listen to African ideas and for Africans to talk about “their dirty laundry.”

    • Hi Katie, thanks for stopping by.

      Fatuma and I only wanted to air conversations had in private kitchens, cafes, NGO offices throughout the region, and wanted to sort of challenge that code of silence when it comes to deconstructing some of the more uncomfortable discussions. So glad you’re tuned in, and look forward to interacting with you on this blog.

  5. me and idil’s face, it was a love at first sight. like geeljire haraadsan i sent her all sorts of video songs hoping to gain some attention. i knew not of her writings. and her worldviews. i can now see more things that will attract her to me (please let me know when the discussion is on ‘love at first sight’). about myself: i was once a notarius in xamar. all sorts of people, old and young, came to me at my stand at cafe novecento to have their missives jotted. i liked that profession of notariyadda better than driving sophisticated intellectuals in my taxi. a humble ayeeyo would ask me to write the land’s dg (dg’s were super humans in somalia then) about a piece of land.

    as an old notarius i can relate to these bloggers and fadhi ku dirir experts. let me say this in plain language. i agree 100% with idil, her beliefs and worldviews and the idea of an open microphone.

    bobthebuilder

  6. Fatuma made the mistake to ask me to comment on this. I call it a mistake because she knows that I will always find a fly in the ointment. In a way, I suppose I’m a born critic, nothing is ever good enough for me. 😉

    Anyway, I’ve decided to comment here and not on Fatuma’s FB because I feel that the commenting system is more convenient here and I comment directly with what I comment on. 🙂

    First off, a small correction on the translation of the German saying. It is actually significantly stronger than Fatuma’s translation. It says that once your reputation is destroyed, you can live life without ever watching yourself again. It doesn’t say that you’ll live a relatively calm life, it only says that you can stop watching yourself because you have nothing to lose any more.

    Then there is another point that I’d like to raise (which I have raised in private with Fatuma already). That point is the length of the podcast. I know that I have a rather short attention span when it comes to audio but even without that I think 29 min is too long. The problem I have with something this long is that it is hardly possible to comment on it in detail. If you want interaction, define your topics very clearly and break them up into segments of 10-15 min. You can still post 3 segments at a time but it will help you stay on topic for the length of a segment and make it easier for people to comment in detail. Now, I don’t know if that will still be feasible once there is a guest but when it’s only the two of you, you should definitely try.

    But, to come to the actually contents, I think that you have set you have set the bar very high for yourselves, and – forgive me for saying that – I believe you have set it too high. I understand your motivation of making voices heard that are usually suppressed. That is a noble motive and the idea of unrestricted pluralism. However, your logics around this issue is all over the place and just don’t make any sense to me. You (particularly Idil) complain that many debates and discussions are controled by elitists who are too detached from reality. At the same time, you acknowledge that both of you are part of an elite as well which is obvious just based on your education and your means, anyway. So, even if you got “ordinary” people to speak in your podcasts, it will always be elitists controling the debate because it is you who pick these “ordinary people”.

    I am not bringing this up to tell you that you have to do better. I’m bringing this up because I believe there is no way of ever achieving what you have set out to achieve. It has always been the elites that were in charge of everything in one way or another and that will never change. Look at how socialism/communism in real-world application changed into the rule of elites again very quickly. As human beings when we have privileges, we exercise them. We just can’t help ourselves. We might occasionally chose not to but most of the time, we live out our privileges to the fullest. Nobody would stop reading to show solidarity with the illiterate and when we teach the illiterate how to write, we are already putting the elite back in control.

    I reckon you have to be careful about whose voices you make heard. In the end, it is yours and the voices of those you want to be heard. And there is nothing wrong with that. If more people were doing that, pluralism would work much better and could take care of enriching public discourse.

    On a related note, I’d like to pick up on the short comment on Ayaan Xirsi. I understand the short critical comment of her talking about you instead of talking to you. However, while she might never have done any different than that, I would also raise the question if she has a choice. After all, if she was speaking to you (as in all Somalis), those who would be willing to listen would only be those that pretty much agree. In other words, it would be preaching to the converted. Everybody else does not really leave a choice but to talk about them. To put it in other terms, I cannot imagine you having a podcast where you talk TO some reactionary shikh (because he will not talk to you) but you will certainly talk a lot about people like him. You don’t do that because you chose to but because you are left without a choice.

    To make it clear, I’m far from a big fan of Ayaan Xirsi’s. I admire her courage but I have issues with what she preaches as the gospel. But I would strongly defend her towards those who would like to see her killed (and I know plenty of people like that) because she has the right to speak not only to but even about the Somalis no matter if they like it or not. I don’t like people (often without a clue) talk about my nation but I know that on some level or another I probably act no better than them. Therefore, I pursue as forgiving and gracious an attitude as I can knowing that I will be measured back to with the measure I use.

    So, anyway, to end on a positive note, keep up the good work not forgetting that tomorrow the world will still be round and turning but you will have contributed a small piece to greater good. 🙂

    • Thank you for your feedback Caddaan, always great to receive constructive critiques that can help us move forward. But the thing with natural born critic is that they feel a need to be critical for the sake of being critical (I use to suffer from this disease), and that’s when what could’ve been constructive critiques fall dangerously in the territory of arguing for arguments sake. Also, pay particular attention to Fatuma’s assertion that anyone use to traditional forms of media may not find value in this platform, as we’re not traditional nor professionals (and we kinda like that). I’ll address your points as you made them, if that’s okay.

      1) thanks for your correction of Fatuma’s usage of that proverb, I believe you’re both essentially saying the same thing, and I suspect most listeners will read it as such (and they have), but it’s good to be precise, so thank you. But I also think it’s important not split hair over semantics, especially when it’s a casual conversation (the manner in which we will conduct this podcast).

      2) Regarding the time limit of the podcast, we’re both avid listeners of podcasts, and most are 30 mins-1hr, and you did suggest you have a short attention span, and unfortunately a podcast doesn’t cater to that demograph lol. Unfortunately, podcasts require a certain amount of attention span on the part of listeners, and I don’t think there’s really value in a 10 minute podcast (10 minutes is an advertisement, and not really conducive to a discussion). I guess this is a matter of taste, but if more of our listeners prefer this method, then we’ll certainly look into it, but so far, you’re the only one with that concern, as of yet.

      2)you stated that we’ve set the bar too high, and I think that’s a very generous reading of our objectives. I think we stated the purpose was to have a honest conversation about issues we discuss, but from a perspective that is a little bit more uncomfortable. I don’t think we’ve ever set out to represent marginalized voices, but only representing ourselves, and hoping some allies can find commonalities and/or challenges to our views. Also any form of media is setting the bar too high, and I don’t think that’s problematic at all.

      As I’m reading your comment, I’m starting to understand that perhaps we failed to communicate the purpose of this project. We’re not traditional radio (there will be humor, satire, swearing, interrupting eachother, and passionate discourse), and what we find liberating about this project is we want it to be set up like a conversation between friends over coffee. It’s not a talk show, or a news segment, and I think you’re critiques speak to an expectation that it may be in this format.

      Yes I did voice my frustrations with elitism (referring to ivory tower circles that neither fatuma and I occupy) but also acknowledging that I occupy elitist spaces in comparison to others (it’s not a contradiction, its an awareness of privilege), and I don’t think I’ve suggested anywhere that I seek to speak for the ‘ordinary man’ (whatever that means). There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging one’s privileged, and I’ve never suggested we reject our education/upbringing, I failed to follow your critique there (and much of your discussion on privilege to be honest was confusing)

      Lastly on Ayan Hirsi Ali, we’ll discuss her at a later date, and can’t really engage in a discussion with you as it was a passing remark for now. Please save those critiques for when we tackle her.

      Anyway, thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback, and we’ll discuss if implementing some of your recommendations is conducive to our aims, but I also have a concern of my own for you, if that’s okay. I think this project can be much more exciting for the listener, if we’re more open to non-traditional methods of dialogue. My point is, it seems you were looking for things to nitpick at (which is great, as we need to be challenged at every turn), and I think in doing too much of that, you sort of missed the purpose of this(again not traditional radio,not professional, candid conversations). You sort of challenged what you believe it could be (Your outline is structured perfectly, and quite traditional), and not what we stated it is. Again, that’s my reading of your concerns, but I think this medium is so dynamic because we can share feedback, and sort of borrow from each other. Again, thank you for your comments!

      • Idilay, I should probably have made my objectives more clear as well. I did say that I was after finding a fly in the ointment which to me implies not praising the ointment. Fatuma would know that which is why I probably did not go into enough detail there.

        I absolutely commend you for your efforts. I do not challenge the usefulness of your project. You have got plenty of positive feedback and overall I agree with almost all of it. However, I believe that even if I’m nitpicking, I am saying the things most people would just gloss over robbing you of the opportunity for improvement in the process.

        I’m sorry if my argument regarding privilege was confusing. Mainly, my point was the privilege is part of society and always will be. There is no use in criticising it as such, as the most you can ever do is acknowledge it and use it responsibly. I do believe that that is what you have set out to do but the way you worded your objectives, I wasn’t too sure. This is why I tried to clarify.

        Anyway, keep on doing what you’re doing. You will get used to my approach and hopefully not consider it an attack any more someday. I’m straight with people and expect people to be straight with me. If that implies being a little bit negative at times, so be it. 🙂

        • Caddaan, I don’t think your aim was to render an attack, and definitely find value in your critiques and feedback, and genuinely thank you for engaging us and listening. But I’m naturally skeptical of any policing mechanisms used to sort of drown out alternative forms of expression. I’ve seen many Europeans do this, and employ these tactics to assert their dominance in conversations where their input/dominance really should take a backseat to local voices (not suggesting this is your aim), but we’re all guilty of this, and I ask that you just be mindful of that. I think to come to a conversation with African women (if you’re not an African woman), and to sort of police their conversations leaves one open to critiques, which is healthy. I think this exchange is part of a healthy discourse

          For example, I couldn’t imagine myself visiting a blog dedicated to discourse by Indian women, and not taking a more passive approach. I value listening, and need it be, only provide commentary that lends support to that platform and discussions, and not encourage it to morph into my expectations. I’m not suggesting one can’t have an input, but one should be mindful of how they assert that input, and what place that inputs stems from. I value alternative voices, and encourage those voices to find their own method of reaching us, and think policing that method is problematic and usually a tactic of white privilege. I think this is something that is required of all of us…I don’t think there’s anything negative about it. Again, we appreciate your comments, and look forward to more of your insight.

      • I’m not sure I really got you there. Where was there ever any policing in mhy approach. I believe I argued the opposite in favour of full freedom of expression. All I suggested is to keep in mind that we can never channel forms of expression that are foreign to us because we don’t understand them. The best we can do is allow them.

        And on the point of letting the one speak who it concerns. Yes, the ones concerned should speak and I will listen. However, I have told others before that the most valuable insights I have ever had about myself and my background I got from those on the outside. We are often blind to things that happen in our own little worlds while they are obvious to the outsider immediately. It takes humbleness to accept that but I believe there is a lot of benefit in achieving it. So, teach me anything about the Germans any day, I will listen to you more than to any born and bred German who can show me evidence oif hundreds of years of German ancestry. 🙂

  7. Very interesting exchange between you 2. Idilay, you will get to know Christian, the Somali-speaking German on the lookout for a loophole, lol. He will give you a great feedback and make sure you get exhausted in the process, hehe. He loves a debate and speaks his mind, an assert for our project.

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction you two ladies had. I am looking forward to hearing more in the near future. I will reserve my thought for now but I am highly impressed with what you are trying to achieve here. These array of topics will not only raise awareness but also educate those who want to expand their horizon. There are so many topics to general topics to choose from but you decided to tackle the issues people often ignore for religious, cultural or traditional reasons. It is imperative for folks to emancipate their minds in order to be objective rather than subjective & judgmental. As someone eluded to earlier the bar has been set high so as to speak but what’s wrong with setting the bars high? if anything, you are stimulating human minds, people need to pause for a moment rather than jump to a rash conclusion. You will receive a lash back from those who see all this as a blasphemous and controversial discussions. You have to be resilient, you are going against the grain here, do not derail or lose focus when facing condemnation. I wish you ladies the best of luck and I look forward to opining. God bless.

  9. Microbian, kindest words and we ferry ferry much appeciate your support. It means particularly more to us to get the support of Somali brothers. True, we will get some not so supportive comments but it won’t deter us, we are set to talk.

  10. Great dialogue ladies. You guys already  had me at ‘two girls and a podcast’.. It’s about freaking time an honest discourse of this nature is put on the banner..The array of topics you guys are about to tackle has been way overdue. I personally believe the only way we can truly get to the root cause of our burden is by scratching the surface and placing all the skeletons to light.  

    So ladies I’m licking my chops on what’s to come. Can’t wait for the meat on the bone so that I can have a bite at it..  In the course of weeks to come I know we will agree to disagree on some issues and have passionate debates on others.. But that’s the whole beauty of it.. To debate with no spin.. 

    You two brilliant minds have laid the foundation of a civilized intellectual forum for everybody to learn from. Hopefully it transcends to the kitchen tables across every household, alleyway, barbershop schoolyard etc..  And who knows, it could be the remedy needed that brings about a psychological change of those dilated minds.. 

    Ladies I can’t thank you guys enough for thinking outside the box and investing your time on this brilliant idea. As we all know the youth and the ppl that matter (in this case the head of household- women) are not represented on the decision tables of governments but we can’t sit idly by and let these larvae beaded fools and ugly souls continue to lay their failed and twisted agendas on the fed up majority. 

    Idilay and Fatuma you may not realize this but I think your voices may just be the ignition needed for a revamped revolution. Let’s kill the old guard and the anti progressives with our voices. Continue to stir the pot and don’t bail out on us.. Blast the airwaves with your silky voices and the rest of us will unwax as many ears as we possibly can.. Salute and let the revolution begin. Good luck ladies!

  11. Wow, Hamza, we are touched by your comments! We are doing this coz the silence on important issues facing us is deafening. But if our podcast goes beyond a debate between us and more ppl get talking, we would have achieved more than we aimed for. Bail out we won’t, we are back with another one next week, tune in. Lol@unwaxing ears, amen to that.

  12. am glad you finally did it.!!grt conversation. thanks for creating a paltform for honest and transparent discussion. hopefully listeners can in the future contribute and take an active part in the conversaion

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