Monday, December 10, 2012
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Walking through the market, a friend explained that when I Al-Shabaab controlled the city, they cleaned up the chaotic streets of the market and created a working system. They have ordered all the shop owners who used to ‘rent out’ the space outside their shops to petty traders to stop renting out an illegal space that is supposed to be a public street. They ordered the removal of all the shacks blocking the streets and now you can comfortably drive or walk thorough Bakara market.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
I am not writing this to incite hatred or violence against Khatumo State supporters or add to the already dangerous tension between Khatumo State and Somaliland. I am writing because this regional violence has finally claimed someone I know, liked, and respected. And I know he is not the first or the last victim. Claim your rights to political independence or separation but what rights can you claim if you are taking innocent lives in the name of a struggle for freedom? This applies not only to Khatumo State, but to Somaliland, Puntland and rest of Somalia.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Monday, May 21, 2012
Monday, April 30, 2012
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Soon as we drive out of the parking lot and towards the city, I am greeted by giraffes grazing on the side road! How amazing is this? Typical African experience, you will be driven to a point of madness and then calmed by amazing creatures that you instantly forget any problems you have had. How many places in the world do you drive out of the airport to see giraffes on the road side? Apparently, they are part of the Nairobi national park wildlife that come to graze near the airport where it gets green during the rainy season.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
In an answer to the common and passive Somali response to any tragic event in Somalia: " "Ilaahay ayaa Soomaaliya u maqan", which translates roughly into "Allah will find a solution for Somalia." Here is what Idilay had to say: "Allah got his plate full with Syria and the US elections…Somalia is not on this year's agenda. Try next year...There's an opening between Palestine and 'I don't give a fuck about Africa." LMAO
Dear reader, if you are a Muslim and offended by this, I understand and thank you for your tolerance to visit this blog and read the rant. However, no point in going ahead and quoting me a chapter from the Quran. Coz it won’t make a difference, so don’t waste your time. Just trying to make sense of this madness.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Half a day spent with the nice ppl at Nyayo House searching for my multiple visa application, which seemed to have gone walkabout...Go to room 15, no room 19, no room 27 on the lower floor, no room 32.
2 hours and 4 rooms later, I get a letter with “sorry your application has been rejected”! Because, wait for this one, our system doesn't show evidence of your exit! If only I was invisible for real. But wait, don't you have copies of my last 7 entry visas and exit stamps? Yes we do but there is no evidence on our computer system. And why is that when I am always made to go thru security and my passport is scanned? Well mam, sorry but there is just no evidence of your exit and there is nothing I can do. Your only option is to reapply on your next trip. Can you at least give me back my application which has like 20 documents. Sorry mam, we can't do that, you need to get all those documents again.
And then room 15 smiles and says: I tell you what, now that I have met you in person, I can fix that problem. Yeah, how? Resuscitate the dead computer with my scanned exits? No, just bring a completed new application form with the supporting documents and I will “fast track” the application for you so you will get the visa before your Sunday trip! Er, thanks a million, but this sounds just a bit off. Because you have met me in person you are no longer concerned I turn into an invisible alien when exiting the glorified kiosk that is Jomo Kenyatta International Airport? Well, thanks mam.
I am traveling on Sunday and can’t wait to sneak past the heavily guarded 4 immigration booths with cameras, digital finger-print machines, computers and immigration officers with life-or-death expressions permanently fixed on their faces.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
NOT THE LAZY EYE, THE FACIAL HAIR?
Monday, February 13, 2012
The sun is so bright here you won’t survive without a smile, sunglasses and a chilled glass of rose by the sea. We hear u guys have to wear miserable grey suits to work in inhuman conditions, we can’t imagine what a winter + grey suit does to your spirits, poor things. But not to worry, we will do all we can to help you free yourselves of this misery. We are organising a charity concert: "Do they know it is summer…In Africa" and we are sure we can raise enough sun and warmth to cure your depression, miserable grey suits and pale skin.
Lots of sunshine and warmth from Africa.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
If I were a Somali I would thank Allah for the pirates. For more than 20years the world has stood by while successive civil wars destroyed thecountry, killing hundreds of thousands of people by bullets, disease andstarvation and reducing what was once a prosperous land to a war zone.
Butthe seizure of more than 200 ships by kids with guns in small craft haschanged all that.Britain, for whom shipping and trade around the Red Sea and the Gulf arevital national interests, has decided to take action. Pirates, thegovernment has realised, cannot be stopped as long as their land bases arenot ruled by a government. But on land the government is under attack fromIslamic fundamentalists who are recruiting and training terrorists. So a political solution must now be found for Somalia. So declared WilliamHague, the Foreign Secretary, clad in flack jacket and helmet, in Mogadishulast Thursday.
The search will begin at a conference in London on February23rd. At last.And what a conference it will be. Some 40 heads of government have been invited to Lancaster House. This was where traditionally former Britishterritories negotiated their independence, but in a curious irony ofhistory, this conference will instead discuss the take-over of Somalia. At least that is what the Italians, the former rulers of southern Somalia,want.
Somalia has been at war since the late 1980s when rebel movements foughtthe government of Siad Barre. He fled, but then they fell out with eachother and the country broke up. The North West, the old British-ruledSomaliland, re-established that state and declared independence. The rest of the north, Puntland, is also relatively peaceful and rules itself butawaits the re-establishment of a Somali state. So does some of the centre. But in the south and the capital, Mogadishu, there have been only twoperiods of peace. One followed the American invasion in 1992 after thefirst famine. But after losing 18 members of special forces - the BlackhawkDown incident - President Bill Clinton pulled out the US force and stopped supporting UN peacekeeping there. Somalia was left to stew.
The second peace period was a few months in 2006 when a united massuprising threw out the warlords and their rapacious armies. Governance wastaken over by local Islamic courts which gradually formed themselves intothe Islamic Courts Union. For a few months people were able to walk thestreets safely. Peace reigned and trade and investment began to flow. But with US support, the Ethiopians, who have no interest in a strong united Somalia, invaded, broke up the courts and installed a warlord as president.The wars resumed.
The cost of neglect has been immense. According to a recent report from theCenter for American Progress, a Washington think tank, the death toll fromthe wars is between 450,000 and 1.5 million and some 2 million displaced.The accumulative cost of Somalia's collapse has been more than $55 billion,including $22 billion from piracy. $13 billion has been spent onhumanitarian aid which is almost matched by the estimated amount Somalisoutside the country send back in remittances.
After the Ethiopians were forced to withdraw, the world handed Somalia overto Africa. Never has the phrase "African solutions to African problems"been used so cynically. Ugandan and Burundian troops under an African Unionflag, died protecting a few square kilometres of Mogadishu in the pretencethere was a government there to protect. There wasn't.
The so-called government lives in luxury hotels and apartments in Nairobi. According to a recent audit of the Somali government in 2009 - 10, 96% - yes Ninety Sixper cent! - of direct bilateral assistance disappeared, presumably stolen by corrupt politicians and officials. An official report by the UN Monitoring Group said: "The endemic corruptionof the leadership of the Transitional Federal institutions... is the greatest impediment to the emergence of a cohesive transitional authority and effective state institutions."
But it is these people who will becoming to Lancaster House on February 23rd. At the same time we know thatin much of Somalia there are very strong civil society organisations led byhighly respected men and women. They however will not be invited.
So perhaps the first thing this great conference should do is apologise tothe people of Somalia for ignoring their plight for so long. The second isto usher Somalia's professional politicians into the garden or off to smarthotels and bring in some Somalis who really represent the interests of thecountry and its long-suffering people.Richard Dowden is Director of the Royal African Society.
While driving back to Junction in the mad Nairobi rush hour traffic, I got a call from a colleague
with the message that a lady found my bag and has taken the trouble to call 3 people before finding my colleague using her Tanzanian number! Imagine that? This city famous for both violent mugging and petty theft and my bag lying in a public toilet for nearly an hour before someone took the trouble to track me down. I met her, an English lady working for Save the Children in Dar with her Tanzanian partner and their 2 kids. Gave her a big hug and offered to buy them drinks but they were in a hurry. I will meet them in Dar or Nairobi one day and we will have a drink, the least I could do to thank them for their kindness.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Are you a Somali woman bored in Hargeisa? Take your white male friend on a 'local tour' and watch the magic unfold!
Thursday, January 26, 2012
We went out to shop for my bday but now going to celebrate 2 birthdays and welcome Nadia's baby boy!