robertogreco + somalia   20

BBC Radio 4 - Pick a Sky and Name It
"How did Momtaza Mehri go from net savvy 6th former to successful millennial poet?

A house belonging to her grandmother is the closest poet Momtaza Mehri has ever come to having a permanent home. Aside from summer months in London, Momtaza's family picked its way across the Middle East.

"Then I just realise, I'm having this typical Somali experience where we're literally going to the places that would be considered the bad 'hoods."

Across a sea, another gulf, was the country her parents no longer called home.

Talking with her mother, Momtaza revisits the childhood experiences that shaped her outlook and her coming of age as a millennial poet.

Poetry extracts are taken from:
I believe in the transformative power of cocoa butter and breakfast cereal in the afternoon
Manifesto for those carrying dusk under their eyes
The Sag
Shan
Wink Wink
November 1997

"The internet just switched up the entire game," Momtaza says.

Producer: Tamsin Hughes
A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4."
momtazamehri  poets  poetry  poems  howwelearn  online  internet  web  blogging  autodidacts  somalidiaspora  tamsinhughes  2018  interviews  radio  profiles  somalia  middleeast  london  experience  childhood  dubai  mogadishu  civilwar  tumblr  publishing  howwewrite  freedom 
july 2018 by robertogreco
Earth Timelapse
[via: "Watch The Movements Of Every Refugee On Earth Since The Year 2000: The story we tell ourselves about the refugee crisis is very different from the reality."
https://www.fastcompany.com/40423720/watch-the-movements-of-every-refugee-on-earth-since-the-year-2000

"In 2016, more refugees arrived in Uganda–including nearly half a million people from South Sudan alone–than crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. While the numbers in Africa are increasing, the situation isn’t new: As the world continues to focus on the European refugee crisis, an equally large crisis has been unfolding in Africa.

A new visualization shows the flow of refugees around the world from 2000 to 2015, and makes the lesser-known story in Africa–and in places like Sri Lanka in 2006 or Colombia in 2007–as obvious as what has been happening more recently in Syria. Each yellow dot represents 17 refugees leaving a country, and each red dot represents refugees arriving somewhere else. (The full version of the map, too large to display here, represents every single refugee in the world with a dot.)

Here’s some of what you’re seeing: In 2001, tens of thousands of refugees fled conflict in Afghanistan, while others fled civil war in Sudan (including the “Lost Boys,” orphans who in some cases were resettled in the U.S.). By 2003, the genocide in Darfur pushed even more people from Sudan. In 2006, war drove Lebanese citizens to Syria; Sri Lankans fleeing civil war went to India. In 2007, as conflict worsened in Colombia, refugees fled to nearby countries such as Venezuela. After leading demonstrations in Burma against dictatorial rule, Buddhist monks and others fled to Thailand. In 2008, a surge of Tibetan refugees fled to India, while Afghan, Iraqi, and Somali refugees continued to leave their home countries in large numbers. By 2009, Germany was taking in large numbers of refugees from countries such as Iraq. In 2010, another surge of refugees left Burma, while others left Cuba. By 2012, the civil war in Syria pushed huge numbers of refugees into countries such as Jordan. Ukrainian refugees began to flee unrest in 2013, and in greater numbers by 2014.

By 2015, the greatest number of refugees were coming from Syria, though mass movement from African countries such as South Sudan also continued–and because most of those refugees went to neighboring countries rather than Europe, the migration received less media attention. In 2015, the U.S. resettled 69,933 refugees; Uganda, with a population roughly eight times smaller, took in more than 100,000 people. Developing countries host nearly 90% of the world’s refugees.

“Often the debates we have in society start with emotion and extreme thoughts, like, ‘Oh, refugees are invading the U.S.,'” says Illah Nourbakhsh, director of the Community Robotics, Education, and Technology Empowerment (CREATE) Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, the lab that developed the technology used create the new visualization. “You can’t get past that–you can’t build common ground for people to actually talk about real issues and how to solve them.”

Showing people data in an animated, interactive visualization, he says, is “an interesting shortcut into your brain, where the visual evidence is more rhetorically compelling than any graph or chart that I show you. That visual evidence often moves you from somebody who’s questioning the data to somebody who can see the data. And now they want to talk about what to do about it.”

The lab began working on its Explorables project, a platform designed to help make sense of big data, four years ago. To make big data–with billions of data points, dozens of different fields of information, changing over time–easier to explore, the platform layers animations over maps.

The team has also used systems like Google Earth to explore big data, but even it can only display a few hundred markers, and it requires installation on computers. The researchers realized that they could use a graphics processor in someone’s computer directly, in the same way that a video game does. “What’s kind of cool is that the video game revolution has changed the computer’s architecture over the last decade,” he says. “So the computers have this amazing ability to very quickly render on the screen.” That technology is combined with an ability to display only the resolution needed for the data you’re zoomed in on, making it possible to share massive amounts of data."]
timelines  maps  mapping  refugees  migration  afghanistan  sudan  darfur  lebanon  syria  venezuela  colombia  burma  india  srilanka  southsudan  uganda  africa  europe  jordan  ukraine  cuba  tibet  somalia  thailand  germany  iraq 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Dying to Tell the Story - YouTube
"This documentary studies the motivations of journalists dedicated enough to risk their lives for a story. Follow narrator Amy Eldon on a personal journey to find meaning in the death of her older brother, 22-year-old Reuters photographer and the inspiration for our organization Dan Eldon."

[See also: http://journeysinfilm.org/films/dying-to-tell-the-story/

"Dying to Tell the Story is about a journalist, Dan Eldon, a 22-year-old photographer who was killed in Somalia in 1993. Born in London and raised largely in Kenya, he cared passionately about travel and visited 46 countries during his all-too-short lifetime. He was an activist who, even as a teenager, ran fundraisers for charities that were important to him, including raising money to pay for a needed heart operation for a friend. He joined his mother on her travels as a journalist and took photographs to accompany her stories from the age of twelve. He was deeply engaged in art as well, creating journal after journal filled with his photographs, drawings, and selected bits of text. Dan went to Somalia in 1992 and took powerful photographs of the famine and war in that country. Called by Somalis in 1993 to witness the deaths of 70 people as a result of a U.S. raid, Dan and four other journalists went to the site, where they were attacked by outraged Somalis; four of the journalists including Dan were killed and only one wounded reporter escaped.

Dan’s sister Amy, in trying to understand both his life and his death, traveled to Somalia and other places he had visited, and she interviewed journalists and photographers like Martin Bell and Christiane Amanpour who were taking the same kind of risks that he had. The film that resulted, Dying to Tell the Story, not only gives the viewer a portrait of this extraordinary young man, but also explains why journalists’ coverage of international conflicts is so crucial that reporters would risk their lives to do it.

To learn more about Dan Eldon, visit the website www.daneldon.org. You can learn about his biography, see pages from his journals, and find out about Dan’s legacy that inspires activists and artists today. You may also want to visit http://www.creativevisions.org, the website of the Creative Visions Foundation that carries on his work."]
daneldon  photojournalism  amyeldon  1998  creativevisions  martinbell  christianeamanpour  documentary  film  photography  journalism  conflict  somalia 
july 2016 by robertogreco
More phones, few banks and years of instability are transforming Somalia to a cashless society - Quartz
"In recent years, the lack of retail banking in Somalia and fears of continued unrest—Al-Shabaab continues to occasionally stage attacks throughout the country—have made the service vital to Somalia’s reconstruction. Hormuud holds the cash, acting in essence like a bank.

“The main reason why the service was adopted is because the banking systems in the country are very limited,” said Yusuf. “It’s also because it is much risk carrying cash here since the country is still politically unstable and recovering from more than two decades of chaos and civil war.”

Hormuud says it designed the software for EVC Plus with the help of Kenya’s Safaricom, a partner of British multinational telecoms company Vodafone. EVC Plus works like Safaricom’s mobile money transfer service M-PESA, which has brought banking services to millions since its introduction in 2007.

Unlike M-Pesa, which works in local currency, Hormuud’s money transfer system uses US dollars, the country’s preferred currency of trade, even though the Somali shilling is still in circulation. Users can transfer up to $3,000 a day throughout southern and central Somalia. The mobile platform Zaad, launched in 2009 by communications company Telesom in the self-declared independent northern region of Somaliland, has seen similar success.

EVC Plus allows users to purchase cellphone airtime for themselves or family members, pay water and electricity bills, and transfer money. It’s also designed so that users can set up automated payments, SMS reminders and financial reports without an internet connection.

Almost every merchant in Mogadishu, even hawkers on the street, accepts payment by cellphone using EVC Plus.

“It’s not safe to carry cash money here,” said Dhublawe Ibrahim Aden, 25, a hawker who sells shoes and clothes. “If someone has to buy my shoes and bungles [necklaces] then he has to pay me through my cellphone. I don’t accept cash money from clients.”

The service still has risks: al-Shabaab threatened companies supporting the technology in 2014, and Oxfam says that the platforms could benefit from greater regulation and training in order to allay concerns that they are being used to funnel money to terrorist groups.

But there’s no doubt that the service has been vital for the otherwise struggling economy, said Halima Aden, a member of the Somali Economic Forum, an independent organization that supports the country’s economic and financial development.

“People are doing business without any fear of losing cash to militants or conmen,” Aden said. “The country’s telecommunications sector has undergone a rapid rise, fueled by intense competition amongst the numerous telecommunication firms that dominate the country.”"
somalia  mobile  phones  cash  money  2016  economics  africa 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Submergence
"Submergence is a novel by the writer J.M. Ledgard. In this site we want to add a few thoughts and images which circled around the book as it was being written – and afterwards. We hope you enjoy."




Submergence was written in various countries in Africa. Sections were scribbled into small, clothbound notebooks while the author waited to interview politicians and civil servants for his job as a political and war correspondent. An early draft was completed during a writing fellowship in Hobart. The final draft was finished in Mogadishu.

The aim of Submergence was, in a small way, to alter the reader’s perspective of the planet we inhabit. The aim was planetary writing.

"“In a room with no windows on the eastern coast of Africa, an Englishman, James More, is held captive by jihadist fighters. Posing as a water engineer to spy on al-Qaeda activity in the area, he now faces extreme privation, mock executions and forced marches through arid Somali badlands. Thousands of miles away on the Greenland Sea, Danielle Flinders, a biomathematician, prepares for a dive to the ocean floor to determine the extent and forms of life in the deep. Both are drawn back, in their thoughts, to the Christmas of the previous year, and to a French hotel on the Atlantic coast, where a chance encounter on the beach led to an intense and enduring romance, now stretching across continents. For James, a descendant of Thomas More, his mind escapes to utopias, and fragments of his life and learning before his incarceration, now haunting him. Danny is drawn back to mythical and scientific origins and to the ocean: immense and otherworldly, a comfort and a threat. Submergence is a love story, a meditation on mortality, and a vivid portrayal of man’s place on Earth. With it J.M. Ledgard proves himself a writer of large horizons and vast ambition.”"
jmledgard  tumblrs  submergence  somalia  africa  planetarywriting  writing  howwewrite 
december 2015 by robertogreco
The Other Refugee Crisis - The New York Times
"Dadaab may be the world’s largest, but there are many other examples of these temporary-but-permanent cities. In Pakistan, along the border with Afghanistan, the camps founded in 1979 for Afghan refugees are now a string of 79 permanent slums run by the United Nations and home to nearly a million people. Hundreds of thousands of refugees from Darfur have been living in a collection of 12 camps across the border in Chad since 2004, with no end in sight. Similar numbers and situations exist in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Thailand, Lebanon, Yemen, Jordan, Turkey and elsewhere, where people are living, and reproducing, in limbo. The numbers are growing not only because of a world in turmoil, but also because whole generations are growing up in camps.

Gaza is perhaps the best example of this. The eight original refugee camps have morphed into towns that, together, are now one of the most densely populated areas in the world, home to 1.7 million people. Separate from the U.N.H.C.R. and with a different mandate, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East was founded in 1949 for around 750,000 Arab Palestinians forced to flee their homes in 1948. But with no peace deal or return in sight, the agency looks after their five million descendants at a cost to the international community of over $1 billion a year. The agency was supposed to be an exception, but Gaza now looks like the rule. In Dadaab, the United Nations resettles around 2,000 refugees annually to Europe, Australia, Canada and the United States. But the birthrate in the camp of 1,000 a month will always outstrip that effort.

As refugee populations spiral higher, host nations usually move toward ever stricter encampment policies. Kenya is one of the strictest; last year the police rounded up thousands of refugees found outside designated camps and incarcerated them in the national stadium. Pakistan has threatened several times not to renew refugee status for Afghan refugees, and periodically attempts to force people back to Afghanistan. In Jordan, refugees have the right to move and work in theory, but authorities have reportedly issued no new work permits since 2014 and have begun coercive administrative measures to keep them in the camps.

To leave Dadaab, residents require a “movement pass,” just like under apartheid. Acquiring one usually involves a bribe. Thus, members of the third generation that is now beginning life in Dadaab may well spend their whole life in the camp. If they win one of the fiercely contested slots at secondary school, they could gain diplomas and degrees online or through the mail, but when there’s no viable path to a free future elsewhere, education in the closed camp is a cruel trick: There are no jobs except volunteer positions with the aid agencies that run the hospitals, schools and social programs, and these pay a fraction of what Kenyan staff members receive for doing the same job.

One might expect that in such circumstances, talent would curdle into bitterness, but the most striking thing about Dadaab is that the miserable conditions do not seem to have engendered radicalization. People are frustrated, but until now, the isolation of the camp and the United Nations mantras on rights and gender balance have fostered a subdued but tolerant society in which women are more emancipated than their sisters back in Somalia.

This is the ultimate contradiction of camp life: how to locate hope for the future in a desperate situation that appears permanent. People are trying. Life in Dadaab and all the other camps is a daily exercise in manufacturing hope. But for many, the fiction of temporariness no longer holds. And we are seeing the results of that realization washing up on Europe’s beaches.

Separate enclaves are beginning to appear in the rich world, too: slums such as “the Jungle” in Calais, where refugees and migrants wait to try to enter Britain illegally, or the detention centers that are now common in Europe, Australia and the United States where people must wait sometimes for years while their status is determined. In a world centered on nation-states, the full range of human rights is increasingly unavailable to those without citizenship. A whole gray population of second-class citizens has emerged, and their numbers are growing.

The proper and legal response should be to allow refugees and asylum seekers freedom of movement within their host nations and all the rights accorded to other citizens, including the right to travel abroad and seek work legally. But the tide of public opinion in most countries is moving in the opposite direction.

Of course rich nations should take more. But even if Europe and the United States stepped up and admitted much larger numbers than the paltry offers that have been suggested in recent weeks, it would still make only a small dent in the global refugee population.

Until our current wars die down, the world needs to adjust to the new reality of permanent refugee cities in legal limbo. Even if host nations wish to deny citizenship to long-staying refugees, it would make sense to allow the United Nations and refugees themselves to invest in infrastructure to reduce disease, provide employment and make these ramshackle slums more habitable. They could perhaps become autonomous open cities or international zones where those with United Nations documents were permitted to move and trade within the normal international visa regime. If camps were economically viable they might at least offer some pull to remain there. As one man told me as I was nearing the end of my time in Dadaab: “I belong nowhere. My country is the Republic of Refugee.”"
dabaad  kenya  somalia  citizenship  refugees  limbo  2015  geopolitics  impermanence  permanence  hope  hopelessness  calais  afghanistan  benrawlence  pakistan  darfur  un  unitednations  africa  unhcr  migration  palestine  refugeecamps  future  futures 
october 2015 by robertogreco
The Economist: The siren song of ISIS – Why young Somalis try to join Islamic State | Somalia Online
"Somalis feel targeted both by the extremists, who lure away their children, and by non-Muslim Americans, who suspect them of terrorism, says Jaylani Hussein of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Minnesota. They are especially fearful of CVE [Countering Violent Extremism], which they think will amount to a giant spying operation camouflaged as social services. Mr Stanek agrees that “countering violent extremism” sounds confrontational—but he would happily take the promised federal funds and expand his community-engagement team from six members to twelve"
somalia  isis  somalis  us  minneapolis  poverty  economics  2015 
july 2015 by robertogreco
How to Write About Somalia | MAANDEEQ
"Always use the words ‘crisis,’ ‘instability,’ ‘conflict,’ ‘anarchy,’ or ‘terror’ in your title. Subtitles may include the words ‘refugee,’ ‘militant,’ ‘warlord,’ ‘failure,’ ‘collapse,’ ‘clan,’ ‘radical,’ ‘terrorist,’ ‘extremist,’ or ‘pirate.’ Also useful are words such as ’nomadic,’ ‘pastoral,’ and ‘tribal,’ as well as made-up verbs combined with these other words, like the ‘Somalization of the crisis.’

Use the image of an elder wearing a tall koofiyad cap, traditional macawis sarong, and holding a stick. Alternatively, you may use the image of an underweight young man holding an AK-47. He may be on a boat or in a vehicle, these details are not important. But make sure you describe how he has been chewing qaat and what effect the stimulant has on promoting irrational and violent behaviour. Describe their teeth in detail.

If you must use a woman, you have two options. Either a close up with enough space for a young child strapped to the woman to be visible in the frame, or a more distant shot that shows a faceless group of women as an undifferentiated mass of cloth. In your writing, describe their veils and traditional garb, referring to their bright colours and exclaiming your surprise that they are not dressed entirely in black. Remark on their faces and how, despite their intense blackness, appear quite delicate and un-African to your eye.

Emphasize that the clan is the key to understanding this relatively simple, unsophisticated people, and that everything – from civil war to music preference – can be explained through this. Include a proverb of uncertain origin to emphasize this point. Always be specific about the person’s clan, like “the Hawiye man,” as it is more relevant than any actual name. They are all named Abdi or Mohamed anyway. The only exception to this is in nicknames, which you must elaborate upon, as they offer much insight into their tribal character and violent tendencies. Note that there are no individuals in Somali society, only the collective. It is thus unimportant and indeed unproductive to seek out a wide range of opinions when writing. Abdi “AK” and Mohamed “Crusoe” think how they look: alike.

Though hopelessly primitive, express your admiration for the nomad. Describe how, despite the harsh landscape, the specter of tribal violence, and backward cultural tendencies, he is noble and resilient. The nomad is always male, and always proud. Quote Sir Richard Burton’s observation about Somalis as a “nation of bards,” and detail their rich tradition of poetry. Describe their camels, and let your reader know you have tried camel milk, and if you are particularly daring, camel meat. It is tough, if not slightly bitter, like the nomad. Sympathize with how his way of life, untouched for hundreds of years, is threatened by the outside world. There is no need to mention Somali women, urban or rural, unless you are discussing their veils or their mutilated genitals.

Thoughtfully meditate on the ruins of colonial architecture in cities like Mogadishu, destroyed by the Somali when left to their own devices. Avoid depicting the darker aspects of colonial rule, and instead focus on more pleasant and romantic dimensions, like its Art Deco style villas and gelato. Describe the cosmopolitan nature of the colonial period and early independence years, and how women once wore bikinis on Liido beach before they adopted their large cloth tents. Bemoan modernity. How could the Somalians reject their timeless, tribal ways and attempt a modern nation-state? Disregard context and wonder whether the Somali adventure in politics was always destined to end in statelessness with these tribal nomads at the helm.

Remind your reader that despite this, there are some things in Somalia that work, that there is a Somalia you never see. They have cellphones, after all."

[Follow-up: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02w637z ]
safiaaidid  somalia  media  sterotypes  poverty  pirates  africa  journalism  2015  mainstreammedia 
july 2015 by robertogreco
allAfrica.com: Kenya: Somalia Objects to Border Wall
"A diplomatic tiff is brewing between Kenya and Somalia over the controversial proposed 440-mile perimeter border wall.

Somalia has termed the project an abuse of its territorial rights.

Kenya plans to build the wall as an effective measure to keep out terrorists along the border with Somalia.

Speaking to the state-owned Radio Muqdisho in the Somali capital on Wednesday, Interior minister Abdirizak Omar asked Kenya to withdraw the decision.

With claims of territorial violations by its neighbour, Omar said his government will not allow Kenya "to take an inch of Somalia land".

"In fact no country has the right to do so," he said.

A number of MPs made a similar call, urging Kenya to reconsider the plan.

Although Kenya downplays the imminent diplomatic fallout, Somalia says it "has a right to be heard".

Omar said his government does not believe the wall will be a solution to al Shabaab terror attacks.

"The wall will not stop al Shabaab attacks. It will rather open avenues for them to wreak havoc," he said.

Yesterday, an official at the Kenya Foreign Affairs ministry said Somalia has not lodged any formal complaints.

There are growing concerns among Somalis that the wall will further isolate the two countries.

Last month, during an interview with Voice of America, President Hassan Mohamud shared his position on the wall.

"We are fighting against an ideology, not fighters or soldiers that have bases. A separation wall cannot stop an ideology," he said.

On Monday, President Mohamud met Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi.

It is not clear whether the border was discussed.

On Monday, Somalia Parliamentary Commission for Foreign Affairs deputy chairman Mohamed Dalha said the wall violates the territorial integrity of his country."
borders  somalia  kenya  africa  2015  walls 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Refugees don’t need our tears. They need us to stop making them refugees | Anders Lustgarten | Comment is free | The Guardian
"Migration illustrates one of the signal features of modern life, which is malice by proxy. Like drones and derivatives, migration policy allows the powerful to inflict horrors on the powerless without getting their hands dirty. James Brokenshire, the minister who defended cutting Mare Nostrum on the nauseatingly hypocritical grounds that it encouraged migration, never has to let the deaths his decision helped to cause spoil his expensive lunch with lobbyists. It doesn’t affect him.

But it does affect us. Right now we are a diminished and reduced society, bristling with suspicion and distrust of others even as we perversely struggle with loneliness and alienation. We breathe the toxic smog of hatred towards immigrants pumped out by Nigel Farage and Katie Hopkins, and it makes us lesser people.

Forget the fact that this society wouldn’t work without migrants, that nobody else will pick your vegetables and make your latte and get up at 4am to clean your office. Forget the massive tax contribution made by migrants to the Treasury. This is not about economics. Far too often, even the positive takes on migration are driven by numbers and finance, by “What can they do for us?”. This is about two things: compassion and responsibility.

Lampedusa, my play currently running at the Soho Theatre, focuses on two people at the sharp end of austerity Europe. Stefano is a coastguard whose job is to fish dead migrants out of the sea. Denise is a collector for a payday loan company. They’re not liberals. They don’t like the people they deal with. They can’t afford to. As Stefano says: “You try to keep them at arm’s length. There’s too many of them. And it makes you think, about the randomness of I get to walk these streets, and he doesn’t. The ground becomes ocean under your feet.”

But eventually, the human impact of what they do breaks through. And in their consequent struggles, both Stefano and Denise are aided by a friendship, reluctant and questioning, with someone they formerly thought of as a burden. This is compassion not as a lofty feeling for someone beneath you, but as the raw reciprocal necessity of human beings who have nothing but each other. This is where we are in the utterly corrupted, co-opted politics of the early 21st century. The powerful don’t give a shit. All we have is us.

But equally important is responsibility. In all the rage about migration, one thing is never discussed: what we do to cause it. A report published this week by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists reveals that the World Bank displaced a staggering 3.4 million people in the last five years. By funding privatisations, land grabs and dams, by backing companies and governments accused of rape, murder and torture, and by putting $50bn into projects graded highest risk for “irreversible and unprecedented” social impacts, the World Bank has massively contributed to the flow of impoverished people across the globe. The single biggest thing we could do to stop migration is to abolish the development mafia: the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, European Investment Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

A very close second is to stop bombing the Middle East. The west destroyed the infrastructure of Libya without any clue as to what would replace it. What has is a vacuum state run by warlords that is now the centre of Mediterranean people-smuggling. We’re right behind the Sisi regime in Egypt that is eradicating the Arab spring, cracking down on Muslims and privatising infrastructure at a rate of knots, all of which pushes huge numbers of people on to the boats. Our past work in Somalia, Syria and Iraq means those nationalities are top of the migrant list.

Not all migration is caused by the west, of course. But let’s have a real conversation about the part that is. Let’s have a real conversation about our ageing demographic and the massive skills shortage here, what it means for overstretched public services if we let migrants in (we’d need to raise money to meet increased demand, and the clearest and fairest way is a rise in taxes on the rich), the ethics of taking the cream of the crop from poor countries. Migration is a complex subject. But let’s not be cowards and pretend the migrants will stop coming. Because they won’t. This will never stop."
migration  refugees  2015  malice  immigration  modernity  borders  compassion  responsibility  anderslustgarten  europe  eu  somalia  syria  africa  middleast  demographics  aging  ethics  morality  poverty  economics  iraq 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Standard Digital News : : The Counties - Building of Kenya-Somalia border wall begins
"Groundbreaking work for the proposed wall between Kenya and Somalia has begun in Kiunga, Lamu County, under heavy police and military guard amid alleged protests by the Somali government.

The National Youth Service (NYS) Wednesday started digging a trench that will provide a foundation for the wall at a section where Kenya's border with Somalia meets the Indian Ocean.

The section overlooks uninhabited islands suspected to be a hide-out for Al-Shabaab militants and also believed to provide a safe passage for smugglers.

Residents watched from a distance as NYS, using heavy equipment, began the arduous task supervised by top security and immigration officers.

The Government has on numerous occasions promised to build the wall amid protests from the troubled Horn of African nation, but the matter appears to have acquired a sense of urgency following the terror attack on Garissa University in which over 147 people were killed.

Kenyan authorities believe a physical barrier will stem the terror attacks. "We want to know who is entering our country and where they access the country from," said Director of Immigration Services Major General (rtd) Gordon Kihalangwa.

The wall will comprise a concrete barrier with listening posts, surveillance stations and CCTV cameras. The cost of the barrier has not been disclosed and it is not clear when it will be completed."
2015  kenya  somalia  fences  borders  africa 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Everything You Believe About East African Women Is Wrong
"East African womanhood is a minefield between the region’s war zones and too-simple Western understanding thereof. The experiences of women from Ethiopia and Somalia serve largely as a barometer of the nations’ violence. But our foremothers taught us resistance long before we had a name for it. Their stories alchemize the violence that forced them out of the arms of their families and toward countries that don’t recognize their strength. Spinning blood into honey and bone into gold, they transformed their pain into our power.

In the parts of East Africa our ancestors are from, warfare and political and religious tension prevent women from cultivating connections across borders. But in America, our experiences overlap in ways that illuminate our shared history. To be from East Africa is to bear the mark of our region’s hurt and pain. We’re called upon to explain famine and female genital mutilation, veils and victimhood. Our foremothers taught us that these scripts don’t define us, even when prepackaged stereotypes offer us convenient roles to slip into. Their stories complicate the Western feminism that paints them as objects of rescue rather than subjects with agency."



"We write overlapping stories today but grew up worlds apart from each other — one an Ethiopian girl under California sun, the other a Somali girl enduring Minneapolis winters that refused to cooperate with her. But our experiences as young East African women in America are imbued with the same sense of danger (violence at the hands of men) and uncertainty (economic and otherwise) that our foremothers understood on the other side of the world. After all, Shukri and Aida did not inherit prosperity when they came to America. They got a mixed bag of opportunity and dismay: With every hurdle leap toward the American dream, there was the kickback of dust and debt.

As black, immigrant women in a country that penalizes all three, we carry cumulative burdens and find ways to dance underneath the weight. The revelry has come slowly, through sharing stories with one another, first on Twitter and later in the spaces where we live and write.

Aida showed us that words can make magic. She makes phone calls as she cooks, cleans, categorizes, catches, contorts. Her voice is soothing, full of warmth. To receive a phone call from her is to know you are loved — wherever you may be — part of her patchwork, and she wants you to know your beauty completes the whole. Relatives everywhere from Canada to Ethiopia sense the honey in her “hello,” and in the Ethiopian proverbs that roll gently off her tongue, even when she’s scolding. The one she repeats most often is simple. Translated into English, it highlights the beauty of the collectivism she and the women around her model: “For one person, 50 lemons is a burden. But for 50 people, those same 50 lemons are simply decorations.”

Indebted to ancestry that forms the mosaic of our identities, we are composites of the women who came before us. We are the products of their survival, resilience, creativity, and collective brilliance. Rejecting submission while caring deeply for one another, they forged a kind of feminism that found its power in the collective. They carried each other, sometimes literally, across borders and milestones. With the maps our foremothers have passed down to us, we’re creating a promised land for ourselves and for the women whose names have been forgotten."
eastafrica  africa  somalia  ethiopia  yemen  islam  resistance  gender  women  agency  2015  hannahgiorgis  safy-hallanfarah  survival  resilience 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Africa tops the best food in the world league – By Richard Dowden | African Arguments
"If you said the words “Africa” and “food” and asked most people in the western world what the connection was, I would bet my Sunday lunch that many people would say: “None. They don’t have any. They’re all starving.”

So the news in The Lancet this week that Africans have the best diets in the world is wonderful and spectacularly ironic. According to the researchers, out of the top ten best national diets in the world only one is not African, Israel. And not a single African country is in the bottom ten. However, there are four European countries at the bottom of the table. Is there any other development in the world where Africans sweep the board? A few years ago Africans were reported to be the most contented and optimistic people in the world. I hope that is still true.

Top of the healthy eating league table was Chad, a country often associated with drought, followed by Sierra Leone, Mali, Gambia, Uganda, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Somalia. I can remember seeing starving people, children with Kwashiokor and distended bellies in four of them but in each case the cause was war. Drought can impoverish and force people to move but very rarely does it directly kill.

The research has been carried out for The Lancet Global Health journal by researchers using national data from almost 90 per cent of the world’s population. They analysed people’s diets between 1990 and 2010 by taking 17 food groups, including healthy ones: fruit and veg and fish as well as junk food (saturated fats and processed meat). Then they questioned people about which of these they ate and how much.

Chad, a country often associated with drought, comes top, followed by Sierra Leone, Mali, Gambia, Uganda, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Somalia. They are a mix of countries with large dryland areas and others with heavy rainfall and fruit-rich rainforests.

In arid Somalia for example the people traditionally drink lots of camel’s milk which is very low in fat and good for you. But they also breakfast on flash-fried, almost-raw liver. Yes I’ve tried it. Yuk!

I once watched a camel being slaughtered for lunch. A man simply lopped its head off with an axe and then chopped it up with a machete. It was then cooked and we sat around the carcass eating lumps of meat with our fingers although it was so tough as to be almost inedible. Strangely the staple diet of many Somalis these days is spaghetti. And they eat it in the way I always wanted to but was never allowed to as a child – with fingers from a communal bowl, head back, open mouth and sucking and slurping the tails.

The cuisine I know best is Ugandan where, in the south, the word Matooke – banana – means food. They say if a Muganda has not eaten Matooke, he or she has not eaten. Twice a day they tuck into mashed banana steamed in banana leaves. It is usually eaten with groundnut sauce. Delicious.

There is also an array of Ugandan green vegetables and fruits that just fall out of uncultivated trees. No wonder some inhabitants have a reputation for being laid back, even lazy?

But Ugandans too have peculiar dietary habits. I was teaching a class in school one hot, sleepy afternoon when one of the pupils suddenly shouted and pointed out of the window. Millions of flying grasshoppers, Ensennene, had arrived and swarmed around the school. The class emptied despite my shouts of “Sit down! Stay here!” But I noticed that most of the students were carrying plastic bags. They knew this was the time of year when grasshoppers would hatch and swarm. They were on their hands and knees in no time chasing the clumsy hoppers and flyers and, tearing off their legs and wings to pop them into the plastic bags to be deep fried for dinner.

The Baganda also eat flying ants and some of the students persuaded me that these were best eaten live straight from the anthill. They took me to a nearby termite mound and hacked into it, picking out the grubs and carefully proffering them to me. I had seen deep fried ant grubs in the market but to this day I am not sure whether the raw ones really are a delicacy or just another opportunity to make a fool of a gullible white man. Once you got over the wriggling sensation on your tongue they didn’t taste too bad.

I noticed that Nigeria is not there in the top ten. No surprise there! Anyone who can drink Nigerian Egusi pepper soup must have a mouth made of cast iron. Ben Okri once took me to dinner at his favourite restaurant and insisted that I drink the soup – “the best Egusi in London,” he said. I agreed but a minute after I took the first sip I was in the toilet mopping the tears streaming from my eyes. My mouth took days to recover. Did you bribe the cook to leave the top off the pepper pot Ben?

Let’s look forward to hearing someone say not that they have dined like a king but they have dined like an African. I look forward to seeing the courses in African cuisine and more African cookbooks lining the bookshop shelves.

Richard Dowden is Director of the Royal African Society."
richarddowden  food  africa  nutrition  uganda  somalia  chad  ivorycoast  senegal  gambia  mali  sierraleone  diet  misconceptions  health  lifestyle  well-being  drought  war 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Road Warriors - 40min documentary - YouTube
"Watch the full film on Journeyman: http://jman.tv/film/453/Road+Warriors

Or for downloads and more information: http://journeyman.tv/12557/short-film...
September 1995

This week we bring back 'Road Warriors', a documentary that paints a picture of the anarchy that followed the failed US intervention in Somalia. The last time the Americans went in on their own to 'sort out' a failed Islamic state, it left the nation even more de-stabilised than before. In the end only the establishment of an Islamic court and implementation of Sharia Law saved a desperate populace from rape, thievery and murder. Somalia's bloodthirsty militia, some as young as eleven, became the guardians of Islamic justice. We join them on their combat vehicles -- Mad Max style 'technicals' and take a rare look at how Islamic law has sought to bring order to a chaotic nation."
1995  somalia  film  towatch  africa  via:alexismadrigal 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Strategist Kilcullen: Warfare Is Changing In 3 Ways : NPR
"KILCULLEN: ...still tragic, but this is where I think the lessons are important because we did it by killing the city. We shut the city down. We brought in more than 100 kilometers of concrete T-wall. We put troops on every street corner. We got alongside people and try to make them feel safe. It was very, you know, sort of human intense and equipment intense. That option will not be open for us in the mega city. You won't be able to do that in Karachi or just obviously, hypothetical examples, Lagos or Dakar or any of the big cities. There are 20 million people...

INSKEEP: We're talking about 10 or 20 or 30 million people.

KILCULLEN: Yeah. You could lose the entire U.S. military that went to Iraq in one of the cities, and most people that lived there wouldn't even know. Counterinsurgency as practiced in Afghanistan and Iraq just won't be feasible in a large city on a coast line in the next 20 or 30 years.

As I look at all these future threats, I don't see a military solution to the vast majority of these challenges. There's very few environments where you would look at the problems and say, oh, yeah, obviously the solution is to send a lot of American troops in there. So I think we need to be looking fundamentally for nonmilitary solutions.

As I've looked at all the cities that are growing, one of the inescapable conclusions is you get conflict not where you have just basic income inequality. You get conflict where people are locked out of progress and they look at all these people having a good time and realize I'm never going to be part of that party and they decide to burn the house down. So a lot of it is about getting communities into collaborative approach to solving their own problems. And that's fundamentally the realm of, you know, social work and international assistance and diplomacy. It's not really a military function.

INSKEEP: Listening to you makes me think that you might believe the United States collectively, that we think about wars and conflicts the wrong way. We're a global power; we think about global threats. Used to think about communism, now we think about global Islam. We think about whole region, the Arab world.

KILCULLEN: Mm-hmm.

INSKEEP: Is war actually more about local power, money, control?

KILCULLEN: Very much so. I had the opportunity to go to Mogadishu in the middle of 2012, looking at what had been going on after 20 years of civil war in Somalia. There is one and one only industrial facility that has survived for 20 years through all of that time, and that's the Coca-Cola factory just outside Mogadishu. And the reason for this is everyone chews this stimulant called khat...

INSKEEP: Mm-hmm.

KILCULLEN: ...or this kind of sort of leafy green thing that you chew, and it's very bitter.

INSKEEP: Kind of a drug.

KILCULLEN: It's a mild stimulant. It hops you up pretty dramatically when you chew it. But it's very bitter and so people want something sweet and fizzy to go with that. So all of the groups that are fighting each other about everything else, they can all agree on, hey, want to keep the Coke factory open.

(LAUGHTER)

KILCULLEN: And to me that's a great example. Right now we have what I would call a lot of conflict entrepreneurs. They're prolonging conflicts not because they want to win some political goal or because they want to change the form of government of a particular area, but just because they make a lot of money, they get a lot of power from conflict and they want to preserve that conflict to keep going. So I think part of it is about shifting people away from being conflict entrepreneurs to being stakeholders in a peaceful environment.

Right? How do we take that Coca-Cola factory example and broaden that out so that we create a set of common interests in a society...

INSKEEP: Oh, so that people who may have disparate views in the city realize that more and more of the city - not just the Coca-Cola factory - are worth saving, worth preserving.

KILCULLEN: Right. I mean if you like Coke you're going to love having water and you're going to love having education for your kid. You know, to say, you know, there's actually a broader way of thinking about a common set of interests. But again, like we're way outside the realms of what would be classically defined as military here. And then military, I think, has a role in providing enough stability and peace that people feel safe enough to engage in these kinds of discussions. But beyond that it's really civilians have to take the next step."
davidkillcullen  war  economics  cities  citystates  steveinskeep  2013  military  warfare  coca-cola  khat  us  policy  afghanistan  iraq  progress  inequality  disparity  urban  urbanism  mogadishu  somalia  goverment  money  capitalism  greed  business  socialwork  diplomacy 
december 2013 by robertogreco

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