English: autobiographical reading
Born in 1978 in Mogadishu, Somalia, K’naan from the early age started dropping verses from Nas and Rakim, destined to enlarge the generation of hip-hoppers. He luckily escaped serious injuries in the civil war, and being only thirteen left his motherland with his mother and two siblings and settled down first in Harlem and later in Ontario, Canada. He was the one who had seen death in the eye. This theme could not but was reflected in his works. Freedom, hope, love, perseverance and fear – are the things he had experienced and the things he wanted to convey to people living around the world. Actually, the last one – fear – became a sort of a push, that made him the one he is now. ‘I was a teenager in Toronto when it first hit me. The intolerable fear of insanity’ (K’naan). Being completely physically fit, he suffered from depression, insomnia and floods of anxiety. However, these ‘side effects’ turned into great songs, which conveyed the essences, close and familiar to everyone. ‘One song, called Voices in my head, I remember writing during a particular torturous anxiety attack. I had gotten the news of a Somali boy leaping to the death from the twentieth floor’ (K’naan). He has always been close to death and this is something connects him to Jenn Lamothe.
Jenn Lamothe is the freelance writer, who has been suffering epilepsy for all her life. She fights against it, against doctors, who say, she is to suffer from seizures for the rest of her life, against her parents, who don’t believe in her recovery. ‘I decided to rage, rage against the dying of the light. I fought my doctors, family, anyone who said there was nothing to be done’ (Lamothe). The motive of fight is found through all her stories. Her fight led to nothing, because she had never won a battle. Depression came and the sense of life was lost. Like in the case with K‘naan, one day she experienced a blow of consciousness, which turned her philosophy upside-down. ‘It was a stormy winter day when it hit me’ (Lamothe). The fear of death caused the instinct to fight, but suppressed the instinct to live. The moment the author understood this, the war was over. ‘Giving up the fight’ means letting go, and first of all fear, the fear of an illness. Her story is ‘breathing’ with sense of relief, with sense of realizing oneself as human being, as a woman. She became to treasure every minute of her newly regained life. It’s the main thing that matters.
K ‘naan. Between the Heights and the Lows Life Happens, 2010.
Jenn Lamothe. Giving up the Fight, 2007.