Currently viewing the tag: "Somalia"

The podcast series “African Voices, African Arguments” features African scholars, writers, policy makers and activists on issues of peace, justice and democracy, and is produced by World Peace Foundation and presented in partnership with African Arguments and

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The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed or intensified ‘remote’ forms of working.  Like for much of the world’s population, the mobility of aid workers has become restricted and so have the possibilities of distributing material or in-kind aid.  At the same time, humanitarian crises and the need for aid will increase; including not only include health […]

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Anthropological research has often been predicated on the fantasy that research has a beginning and an end, determined by the presence of the anthropologist in “the field” (horrible phrase). But when you are writing about where you are living, there is, of course no beginning and no end, and so defining the parameters of the research requires greater clarity about why those parameters are being imposed.

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Al Shabaab has a remarkable intelligence apparatus. The title of this book alludes to a phone call that Mary Harper, a BBC journalist and longtime reporter on Somalia, received following a visit to Baidoa in the southwest of the country. The caller was a member of Al Shabaab, who described precisely where she had gone, whom she had met and what she had done in that town, and also in Mogadishu, down to the tube of Pringles she was holding when coming out of a shop. After her itinerary was read back to her, Harper told the caller that everything he had told her was true. She writes, ‘it is ironic that Al Shabaab has been able to describe to me so accurately what I do and whom I see when I visit Somalia while I have found it almost impossible to establish a single certifiable truth about the group.’

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For the last 25 years, Somalis and international interlocutors concerned with state-building appear to have assumed that ‘clans’ are the core identity units in Somalia, bonded by primordial ties. However, the prevalent formula that redefines selected corporate lineage aggregations as political-territorial identity units is a historical contingency that needs to be explained.

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The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is the AU’s largest, most ambitious, most complex and most dangerous peace support operation. It has rivaled and often surpassed United Nations peace missions in size and challenges. Paul Williams has written a thorough, extremely detailed, comprehensive, balanced and thoughtful account of the mission. It is indispensible for any policymaker or scholar of Somalia, and a model for how academic analyses of peace operations should be written.

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