Ahmed Mohammed Omer was born in 1966 in Eritrea, and earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Asmara University. Since then he has worked as a journalist, author, news anchor and editor, and translator of works from English into Arabic and Tigrinya. In 2016 he traveled to a rally held by the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice in Geneva and applied for asylum in Europe. Today he lives in Hamburg.
Omer wrote »Von der Sahara in die U-Bahn« (tr. From the Sahara to the subway) as part of a workshop titled »Alphabet des Ankommens«, organized by the German Comic Association and the Federal Agency for Political Education to promote journalistic reportage and comics on displacement and starting anew in a foreign country. On eight pages illustrated by Alice Socal he tells of Merhawi Baire, an Eritrean refugee now resident in Germany. Everyday, he has to travel by subway for two hours in order to get to his German course. On the way there he tries to strike up a conversation with other travelers, but one woman just stares at her smartphone, a man is totally absorbed in his newspaper, a couple is deeply wrapped in an embrace. Everyone is so completely preoccupied with something else that no one bothers to sit next to Merhawi – or even to pay the slightest bit of attention to him. Merhawi’s thoughts are clearly written on his face and expressed in thought bubbles. He finds his fellow travelers’ behavior strange; he isn’t familiar with the social etiquette of this country.
Omer is one of twelve authors in this anthology with stories about Syria, Italy, Tunisia and Germany. This comic reportage project, which provides a new perspective on the topical issue of migration, is modeled on Italian and American precursors and has been published online at alphabetdesankommens.de.