‘Call me American’ Portland resident who escaped war-torn Somalia shares story

Abdi Nor Iftin will discuss his new memoir, “Call Me American,” Tuesday, June 4, at 5:30 p.m. at the Southwest Harbor Public Library.

Iftin lives in Portland where he works as an interpreter for other Somalis in Maine. He was recently accepted to the University of Southern Maine, where he plans to study political science.

“Call Me American” is the true story of Iftin’s survival of in war-ravaged Mogadishu, Somalia, and his journey to America.

“Abdi first fell in love with America from afar,” a statement from the library said. “As a child, he learned English by listening to American pop and watching action films. When U.S. Marines landed in Mogadishu to take on the warlords, Abdi cheered the arrival of these Americans, who seemed as heroic as those of the movies.

“When the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab rose to power in 2006, it became dangerous to celebrate Western culture. Desperate to make a living, Abdi used his language skills to post secret dispatches, which found an audience of worldwide listeners. Eventually, though, Abdi was forced to flee to Kenya. Abdi won entrance to the U.S. in the annual visa lottery, though his route to America did not come easily.”

Books will be available for sale and signing. Library Journal selected his autobiography as one of the top 10 biographies of 2018. Iftin has been interviewed by the New York Times, the Portland Press Herald, the Boston Globe, PBS, NPR and BBC Radio.

Pre-registration is required for this talk.

Contact 244-7065.

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