Thursday, May 5, 2011

Analysing Somalia: Past and present-In a review of ‘Milk and Peace, Drought and War: Somali Culture, Society and Politics’, edited by Markus Hoehne and Virginia Luling, Nilani Ljunggren De Silva highlights an ‘important work for all who wish to understand Somalia and its beleaguered and courageous people’.

The editors, Markus Hoehne and Virginia Luling, through this book not only have skilfully highlighted the Somali culture, society and politics but also have mobilised reputed scholars to engage in developing I.M. Lewis’s renowned work on Somalia. The book is definitely a major contribution to the Somali collection of literature. In nine short and crisp chapters, different authors not only examine but also sharply scrutinise Lewis’s work to bring forth something innovative and interesting, with unique points of view.

Those who are familiar with Professor I.M. Lewis – his ethnographic monographs, along with his many articles and books (particularly his book ‘A Pastoral Democracy’ (1961), a study of pastoralism and politics among the Northern Somali in the Horn of Africa) – testify to how full and rich his accounts of Somali histories, culture, politics, society, language and poets are. In ‘Milk and Peace, Drought and War’, the authors examine different events in the past to discern patterns that Lewis had presented to describe the contemporary circumstances and dilemmas, tight spots and apparitions of Somali society – this is to say, the views that different authors analyse are multiple and augmented, revealing continuities and agreeing on some aspects while not agreeing on others.

The book consists of eight parts. The first three parts set out the analytical framework of the book and offer a wider discussion of the colonial legacy and the post-colonial Somali state, clan politics, the pastoral economy and evolving changes and political Islam in Somali history together with women, new family law, Islamists and the military regime in Somalia. The rest of the book presents chapters written about spirits and the human world in Northern Somalia, possession as expression of women’s autonomy, the nation’s literacy, the politics of poetry, language and ethnic nationalism and finally a reflection on the Somali state – what went wrong?

Several positions taken by some of the authors are noteworthy. In the part under the colonial period and today, the author evaluates the way in which colonial policies that have contributed to a different kind of political culture and state-building in Somalia. Likewise, in relation to speculations on the historical origins of the ‘total Somali genealogy’, the author explores earlier generations of Islamic reformers and how they strove to overcome the ‘tribal’ mentality of Somalis by offering a more inclusive genealogical vision (p. 63). In the chapter under the topic trade, lineages, inequalities, the author gives an interesting account of how trade has been organised along kinship lines.

The question of ethnicity in Somali studies seems quite an arduous task, but the author offers an interesting, partly theoretical approach – the primordialist vs constructivist debate with a rational balance – providing a work that could simply act as a useful reference to anyone intending to research on this aspect. The author writes: “Constructivists are correct to claim that ethnic identity in Somalia is indeed constructed, invented, and imagined, and clanism is far more fluid and flexible than most outsiders realize. But years of political manipulation, warfare, atrocities, ethnic cleansing and new political configurations have unquestionably mobilized and hardened clan identity to an extent that one cannot conduct a serious analysis of Somali politics at either the national or the local level without treating clanism as one of the main drivers of behavior.” (p. 92)

In the chapter under the political anthropology of ‘pastoral democracy’, the author summarises a more detailed analysis of the ecological variable in interpreting the political system of the nomadic herdsmen of northern Somalia. Some chapters trace the role of Islam in Somali politics and provide a historical context for the manifestations of politicised Islam within the current Somali crisis. On political Islam in Somali history, the author writes: ‘The Islamic movement in Somalia does not represent a marginal stratum of the elite. The active presence of intellectuals and professionals among them shows that frustrated lecturers in Arabic and Islamic studies were not the only ones leading the catalytic action.” (p. 128)

Another important and interesting reading was found under the chapter heading ‘women, Islamists and the military regime in Somalia’. The author makes two arguments on the implication of the family law under General Siad Barre. First, the family law placed women on the national agenda, but in reality giving a negative impact as it caused enormous hardship for women. Second, law also pushed the emergent Islamic movements towards fragmentation and extremism. In fact, this is an engaging section which provides detailed analysis.

The last few parts of this book give interesting insight into Somali poetry, language and spirit possession, which initially seemed somewhat distinct, but which turned out to be one of the most attention-grabbing sections, especially chapter 13, where the author presents a case study at a macro-level and micro-level dynamics in Somali poetry and folklore.

Finally, I would like to recommend this book to anyone interested in reading about Somali society, culture, and politics – past and contemporary. It is an important work for all who wish to understand Somalia and its beleaguered and courageous people.

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Ex-Somali Police Commissioner General Mohamed Abshir

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner  General Mohamed Abshir

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater
Somalia army parade 1979

Sultan Kenadid

Sultan Kenadid
Sultanate of Obbia

President of the United Meeting with Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of the Somali Republic,

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire
Sultanate of Warsengeli

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre
Siad Barre ( A somali Hero )

MoS Moments of Silence

MoS Moments of Silence
honor the fallen

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre  and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie
Beautiful handshake

May Allah bless him and give Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan

May Allah bless him and give  Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan
Honorable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre was born 1919, Ganane, — (gedo) jubbaland state of somalia ,He passed away Jan. 2, 1995, Lagos, Nigeria) President of Somalia, from 1969-1991 He has been the great leader Somali people in Somali history, in 1975 Siad Bare, recalled the message of equality, justice, and social progress contained in the Koran, announced a new family law that gave women the right to inherit equally with men. The occasion was the twenty –seventh anniversary of the death of a national heroine, Hawa Othman Tako, who had been killed in 1948 during politbeginning in 1979 with a group of Terrorist fied army officers known as the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF).Mr Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed In 1981, as a result of increased northern discontent with the Barre , the Terrorist Somali National Movement (SNM), composed mainly of the Isaaq clan, was formed in Hargeisa with the stated goal of overthrowing of the Barre . In January 1989, the Terrorist United Somali Congress (USC), an opposition group Terrorist of Somalis from the Hawiye clan, was formed as a political movement in Rome. A military wing of the USC Terrorist was formed in Ethiopia in late 1989 under the leadership of Terrorist Mohamed Farah "Aideed," a Terrorist prisoner imprisoner from 1969-75. Aideed also formed alliances with other Terrorist groups, including the SNM (ONLF) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), an Terrorist Ogadeen sub-clan force under Terrorist Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess in the Bakool and Bay regions of Southern Somalia. , 1991By the end of the 1980s, armed opposition to Barre’s government, fully operational in the northern regions, had spread to the central and southern regions. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes, claiming refugee status in neighboring Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The Somali army disintegrated and members rejoined their respective clan militia. Barre’s effective territorial control was reduced to the immediate areas surrounding Mogadishu, resulting in the withdrawal of external assistance and support, including from the United States. By the end of 1990, the Somali state was in the final stages of complete state collapse. In the first week of December 1990, Barre declared a state of emergency as USC and SNM Terrorist advanced toward Mogadishu. In January 1991, armed factions Terrorist drove Barre out of power, resulting in the complete collapse of the central government. Barre later died in exile in Nigeria. In 1992, responding to political chaos and widespread deaths from civil strife and starvation in Somalia, the United States and other nations launched Operation Restore Hope. Led by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the operation was designed to create an environment in which assistance could be delivered to Somalis suffering from the effects of dual catastrophes—one manmade and one natural. UNITAF was followed by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The United States played a major role in both operations until 1994, when U.S. forces withdrew. Warlordism, terrorism. PIRATES ,(TRIBILISM) Replaces the Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre administration .While the terrorist threat in Somalia is real, Somalia’s rich history and cultural traditions have helped to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. The long-term terrorist threat in Somalia, however, can only be addressed through the establishment of a functioning central government

The Honourable Ronald Reagan,

When our world changed forever

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)
Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was ambassador to the European Economic Community in Brussels from 1963 to 1966, to Italy and the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] in Rome from 1969 to 1973, and to the French Govern­ment in Paris from 1974 to 1979.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac 'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac  'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.
Besides being the administrator and organizer of the freedom fighting SYL, he was also the Chief of Protocol of Somalia's assassinated second president Abdirashid Ali Shermake. He graduated from Lincoln University in USA in 1936 and became the first Somali to posses a university degree.

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

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The threat is from violent extremists who are a small minority of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, the threat is real. They distort Islam. They kill man, woman and child; Christian and Hindu, Jew and Muslim. They seek to create a repressive caliphate. To defeat this enemy, we must understand who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for.

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