Ubax Gardheere at Seattle Weekly’s offices yesterdayWhen Seattle Weekly met Ubax Gardheere

Ubax Gardheere at Seattle Weekly’s offices yesterdayWhen Seattle Weekly met Ubax Gardheere a few months ago for a feature story on the Somali community, she was handing out worksheets and snacks at a tutoring program she ran at a SeaTac YMCA. College-educated and soft-spoken (as well as heavily pregnant), the 29-year-old Somali immigrant was working with a coalition trying to counter the image of her compatriots as terrorists. Yet on Monday Tuesday of last week, a little after 7:30 a.m., she boarded a Highline School District bus and scared the wits out of a bunch of middle schoolers with a rant that seemed like the threats of a militant. First telling the driver to call his dispatcher because a “national security incident was going on,” according to court documents, she then blamed the U.S. for the violent chaos in Somalia. “You need to calm yourself down ’cause I could have a bomb,” she told the kids as some started to run off the bus. Gardheere sent this picture of herself, beaten upKing County Sherriff’s deputies soon arrived and arrested her, at which point she said, “I am prepared to die.” They found no bomb. What they did find, judging by her state yesterday as she walked into Seattle Weekly’s office to tell her story, was a distraught and confused woman. Periodically crying and throwing out her hands, as if to say ‘I don’t understand this either,’ Gardheere said she was hospitalized for mental illness, including post-partum depression, after she gave birth to her oldest son three years ago. She said her mental condition worsened after she stopped in Dubai to see in-laws on her way to visit Somalia in 2008. Then, according to her account, she was nearly raped by someone at the house where she was staying–and beaten up by police when she tried to report the incident. She was clearly beaten up sometime in her past. She sent SW pictures. She claimed family members’ reaction to these attacks was to tell her not to talk about the incidents because public knowledge of them would drag their “honor” through the mud.All this fed into her mindset last week when a dispute among coalition members made something snap, Gardheere said.She said she wandered off from her home that Monday morning when she saw the bus. She boarded it and started rambling. “I’m thinking in my head, ‘what can I say or do that will get you taken to jail instead of a mental institute?’ ” If that’s the case, Gardheere got her wish, though she is now out on bail. The irony is that the charge she will be arraigned on next Tuesday–threats to bomb or injure property–will feed a public perception about Somalis that is exactly what she has been trying to fight.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

t
SeaTac girl faces additional hit-and-run charges

Same driver who reportedly killed Maple Valley jogger also injured man in Des Moines

Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance
Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance

Nonprofits, activists are expecting greater need as workers are laid off.

Geographic dispersion of Washington State Patrol commissioned personnel who lost their jobs Oct. 18. (Washington State Patrol)
Rather than get vaccine, nearly 1,900 state workers lose jobs

Exactly how many people will be out of work for ignoring Gov.… Continue reading

King County Courthouse adjacent to City Hall Park (courtesy of City of Seattle)
County council votes to take dangerous park out of Seattle’s hands

City Hall Park, next to the courthouse in downtown Seattle, has had multiple reports of crime.

stock image
Health care workers call on state’s hospitals to help mitigate staffing crisis

Health care workers unions claim hospitals have the resources to fix the issue.

File photo
Do you need to pay for your COVID hospital stay?

Washington state law requires hospitals to provide free care for certain income brackets.

Stock photo
State AG Ferguson leads effort supporting local journalism

Federal legislation offers tax credits to subscribers, businesses and news organizations

C-17 at Joint Base Lewis McChord airstrip (courtesy of United States Military)
King County councilmember proposes program to aid transition of Afghan interpreters who served the U.S. overseas

Program would provide job training and learning opportunities for Afghan interpreters and advisors.

Vaccinations taking place. File photo
Inslee: No ‘massive disruptions’ as worker vax rates hit 90%

A surge in vaccinations has eased concern about service slowdowns ahead of a Monday deadline.

Most Read