A former prime minister of Somalia, Abdiweli Ali, tells a story that demonstrates the pervasive influence of al-Shabab, even in areas ostensibly controlled by the Somali Federal Government (SFG) and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Al-Shabab collects taxes – reportedly as much as the government, and certainly more efficiently. This includes a payroll […]Continue Reading →
Somalia allegedly is at war since 1991, though armed violence started more than 10 years before. To a large extent, because of this duration, Somalia has been used as a case test for many paradigms of the post 1989 wars (“state collapse”, “resource war”, “greed and grievance” and “old/new wars”). Yet, it would be easy […]Continue Reading →
By Mario Patino and Jennifer Keene
Celebrating the World Peace Foundation’s co-sponsorship of the book series African Arguments, the Foundation hosted a book signing and lecture Tuesday for Mary Harper’s Getting Somalia Wrong? Faith, War and Hope in a Shattered State.
Harper gave a thirty-minute presentation on her experience working in and reporting on […]Continue Reading →
It was both a luxury and a challenge for me to write the book. I am a BBC news journalist responsible for covering all fifty-four countries in Africa, although I have a special interest in Somalia, and have reported from and about the country for the past twenty years. I work in seconds, not numbers of words or pages; most of the pieces I write for broadcast are thirty seconds long. If I am lucky, I will get to go on for about a minute. So writing a book of 60,000 words was for me a new and at times intimidating adventure.Continue Reading →
Why have two signature international approaches to Somalia—installing a central government and military intervention—failed repeatedly? What explains the persistence of the international community in efforts that have so little hope of success?
Perhaps the root of the problem is a simple intellectual failure.Continue Reading →
Instead of emphasizing misery, crisis, and violent chaos, she stresses local governance, resilience, and adaptation, including accounts of Somalia’s vibrant private sector that at times are so enthusiastic she could almost pass for a libertarian celebrating the virtues of life without a state. That is not her intent, of course – instead, she is pressing home the point that Somali communities are not passive victims in the face of state collapse and war, but are instead actively forging coping mechanisms and systems of trade and security despite the deep challenges of living beyond a functional state.Continue Reading →
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