“I take thee for who you are or not”

There is a Somali saying that goes something like this, please note those of you who are more versed in the writing of the language will certainly shake their heads at my very poor attempt in writing this saying, which is:

“Qofna biyo kurkiisa ka ma dhoroo”

Wheew, that was my best attempt without any assistance and I concede I need much work in the area of writing my mother tongue. But for the purposes of this post, what matters is not the writing, but the message, which I shall translate in the context of an example. First the literal translation, which never captures the meaning from one language to another, but nonetheless it states: “No-one denies himself/or herself water for their body.” In essence the meaning is if you have the capability to help yourself or others then you shall, because it is a “power within you”, but when you don’t this is telling of a problem/issue which has a great hold over you. This “power within you”, can be shaped/or may have been shaped by nature or nurture, or both.

This still may not make much sense if one is unfamiliar with this saying, therefore I will relate the example, which had made me think back to this saying. I read the story of Jamie Rohrs, who according to reports during the Aurora shootings left his children and girlfriend at the scene to save himself. Thankfully a young man, 19 year old Jarell Brooks guided the young mother and her children to safety.

What caught my attention was the overwhelming condemnation of Mr. Rohrs for not just abandoning his girlfriend, but his very children to save his own life. Coward was the major honor, which was bestowed upon him.

I can only judge what was on the reports. Nothing more. I am not a fan of passing judgment on someone’s character in which I have no intimate connection; therefore I am just going off the reports that he fled the scene to save himself. I remember a similar story of a couple, If I am not mistaken, I believe it was on 20/20 Abc, in which the husband left his wife in a burning plane to save himself. The wife survived, but suffered severe burns.
Or another example, fiction this time, the popular novel “Kite Runner”, which the main character watches his friend brutally attacked, yet didn’t do anything to help his fallen comrade. He wanted to, but he just couldn’t.

This lack of action to do the right thing or what is called often called cowardliness for not standing up in a moment of peril is offensive to many of us on the outside looking in, but as the saying goes none denies himself/or herself water. Thus if it was within Mr. Rohrs to save his family he would have, but a greater power within him made that outcome impossible whereas for someone else like Mr. Brooks could fulfill those duties, because it was within him. Sometimes people can fall victim to their own inherent faculties. I don’t necessarily think it is out of selfishness or worse lack of love. And thus, one can only say I take thee for who you are or walk away.


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