Qaali puts the struggle for women in Somalia before a job in Sweden
Qaali looks well and is enjoying life.
– I 've no problems now, she says.
No problems? Qaali hasn't chosen the easy way. A month ago she was staying at a hotel in Mogadishu. Several other politicians, civil servants and government representatives were there.
”In Sweden you can live a free life. Women in Somalia do not have the same rights and opportunities as women in other countries”Qaali Ali Shire
– I went out to have some lunch. A few minutes later a bomb exploded inside the hotel. At least ten people were killed, including the chief of police, she says.
– Thank goodness I was outside. It was a dreadful sight.
Qaali can choose to go on living with her family in Sweden.
– In Sweden you can live a free life. Women in Somalia do not have the same rights and opportunities as women in other countries, I feel that I must put up a fight for the women, show that a woman can do just as much as a man. And be an example for other young women. I must take the chance and make the sacrifice.
– I want my children to be proud of me.
”A lot of people in Somalia remember me as a journalist”Qaali Ali Shire
How did you get the courage to go into politics?
– I asked my friends, journalists and other people, what they thought of the idea. They said I was cut out for the job, I would be able to help to make a difference. A lot of people in Somalia remember me as a journalist.
Today Qaali Ali Shire speaks excellent Swedish. She was on the staff when Kb Mosaik started five years ago. She commuted every day from Rosengård in Malmö, studied Sfi in the evenings. Her children – three at that time – lived in Uganda with their father and Qaali's mother.
Qaali had to flee from Somalia after a terror attack. She worked as a journalist in Mogadishu on current affairs programme on TV with three million viewers.
Death threats were an everyday occurrence. Four masked men put the threat into practice, attacked her with knives and threw her into a container in the belief that she was dead. She spent six months in hospital, guarded by three bodyguards.
The family moved to Uganda. But the terrorists managed to find her there too. Her flight continued to Sweden. She left three children behind, the youngest only six months old.
Her first year in Malmö was dreadful. Qaali sat at home in her flat behind closed curtains. Nobody thought she would be able to work as a journalist in Sweden. In the end someone at the job centre managed to persuade her to try working in a clothes shop.
Some time later she found out that Kb Mosaik was looking for a Somali journalist, preferably a woman. On her first visit to the editorial office she stared in amazement at the web screens on the wall, with news from Kristianstadsbladet.
– Can I take a photo? she asked.
Is it five years since you came to Sweden?
– No, no,no, Inga-Lill, it's eight years.We met in 2016, she laughs.
What does your time at Kb Mosaik mean to you?
– I learned lots of things, for example we had a Swedish teacher, it was good journalism. I'm so proud and happy to have been involved in the project for three and a half years.
”I can't live without bodyguards in Somalia”Qaali Ali Shire
Qaali has won the election in her home town of Galkacyo. In a few months it is time for the next round in the election.
– I think I have a 70 per cent chance of making it. As a politician I'm entitled to three or four bodyguards here. I can't live without bodyguards in Somalia.
– If I don' t get into parliament , I want to live in Sweden.
Qaali Ali Shire
Family: Four children aged 13, 11, 8 and 3.
Lives: in Malmö.
Grew up: in Mogadishu. Her parents come from the town of Galkacyo, a 14-hour drive from Mogadishu. Galkacyo is the town Qaali represents.
Currently: standing as a candidate in the parliamentary elections in Somalia. There are about 300 members in parliament (senate and parliament) 27 per cent are women.