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Old 05-25-2009, 07:08 AM  
Ultra Peanut Ultra Peanut is offline
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Stateless in Somalia, and Loving It

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The first sentence is indeed true: when the president was driven out by opposing clans in 1991, the government disintegrated. The second sentence, however, depicts Somalia as a lawless country in disorder. As for disorder, Van Notten quotes authorities to the effect that Somalia's telecommunications are the best in Africa, its herding economy is stronger than that of either of its neighbors, Kenya or Ethiopia, and that since the demise of the central government, the Somali shilling has become far more stable in world currency markets, while exports have quintupled.

As for Somalia being lawless, Van Notten, a Dutch lawyer who married into the Samaron Clan and lived the last dozen years of his life with them, specifically challenges that portrayal. He explains that Somalia is a country based on customary law. The traditional Somali system of law and politics, he contends, is capable of maintaining a peaceful society and guiding the Somalis to prosperity. Moreover, efforts to re-establish a central government or impose democracy on the people are incompatible with the customary law.
. . .
Questions arise as to rampageous warlords when discussing a country without a central government. Van Notten explains that warlords exist because of the efforts to form a central government, not because of its absence:

"A democratic government has every power to exert dominion over people. To fend off the possibility of being dominated, each clan tries to capture the power of that government before it can become a threat. Those clans that didn't share in the spoils of political power would realize their chances of becoming part of the ruling alliance were nil. Therefore, they would rebel and try to secede. That would prompt the ruling clans to use every means to suppress these centrifugal forces… in the end all clans would fight with one another." (van Notten, 136; 2005)

He thus asserts that efforts by the United Nations are not only futile, but also harmful to the Somalis.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:41 AM   #2
Saul Good Saul Good is offline
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:06 AM   #3
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