Minireviews: Somalia, Clemet

Mary Harper – Getting Somalia Wrong? (2012)

Post-colonial Somalia was cursed twice, first with a Marxist dictatorship from 1969 to 1991, then with a state of anarchy and/or civil war fueled by a self-destructive clan system, which has lasted up to the present. The early 90s humanitarian mission failed because outsiders didn’t understand the society they were trying to help, and they often still don’t. There is no central authority in Somalia. Some regions, like the de facto independent Somaliland, do relatively well. South and central Somalia is controlled by the al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab, who are the worst of the worst, yet receive substantial support (both money and suicide volunteers) from the diaspora. In addition, the Somali ethnic group is larger than Somalia proper, creating among some a dream of a Greater Somalia. On the positive side, the lack of central authority has liberated parts of the economy, enabling Somalis to create one of Africa’s most extensive cell phone networks, and the trust network provided by the clan system enables an advanced, global money transfer system.

Recommended: Yes.

Marius Doksheim, Kristin Clemet – De nye seierherrene (2012)

Although immigration has introduced many challenges to Norway, every single one of those challenges has an upside to it. Every single one. Our only major immigration problem is that we don’t have enough of it.

Recommended: No. I like optimists, and instinctively I’m one of them, but I don’t trust them.

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