Somalia’s Very Good Things

Stumbled across a list of Somalia’s Greatest Hits on the war and peace site. Given this week’s killing and general renewed grounds for pessimism, it’s perhaps a good time to remember the cool things about Somalia – rather than give in to temptation and simply brick up the whole country and declare the last man standing to be president.

Daniel’s points on Women’s Lib and Islamic Leaders Look to the Sky are important messages to remember before we assume the worst about Somalis, extremism and al Qaeda. And here, for what it’s worth, are my favourite things and the things that give me a small amount of hope (in no particular order)

  • K’naan – this kind of stuff (and Jal from South Sudan) makes gangsta rap look absurd. K’naan grew up in Mogadishu and is using his story to inform his songwriting. He’s the real deal. His music is cool, and Wavin’ Flag (above) has apparently been selected as the official World Cup song
  • Seafood – favourite Mog story involves a bunch of hacks who order lobster at their hotel. After two hours they ask the waiter what’s taking so long. Oh I’m sorry, says the waiter, we have no lobster. Anyway, generally cheap and tasty as is all the seafood (well, what’s left by the foreign trawlers)
  • Fruit – Somalia is gifted with fantastic grapefruit, mango and various other fruits. Fantastically sweet even before you get the obligatory ladle of sugar. Several warlords have substantial fruit plantation interests
  • Architecture – OK, it’s the symbol of a former colonial power but who can fail to be impressed by the whitewashed Italianate villas, hotels and cathedral that line the Mogadishu shoreline. All bombed to pieces now
  • Coffee – macchiatos, espressos and cappucinos were easily available in Mogadishu at a time when they were alien objects on British high streets. Generally taste of mud, but the point is you sit outside in the sun discussing important issues of the day
  • Hospitality – and those coffees? Never paid for them once. Fixers, drivers, security guards always saw it as their duty to keep me fed, watered and in general comfort. Can be double edged…
  • Journalists – never has such a small number of dedicated and professional journalists worked so hard to keep news coming out of a conflict despite incredible pressures. I’m lucky enough to know a couple as friends. And once again this week, some paid the ultimate price for their job
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit – let’s leave the pirates out of it for now, but every Somali is a businessman at heart. Just look at the telecoms industry. And this is the thing that ultimately gives me hope. At the moment too many people make too much money from conflict for the war to stop. But one day this will change
  • Goat Liver – a breakfast fit for a king. Fried up with a little onion and green pepper, the juices mopped up with a hunk of bread. Nothing better
  • Public Spirit – many of those who died on Thursday were graduating as doctors. They were young, bright and from well-to-do families. Why didn’t they leave? Just like K’naan’s song and the journalists who have stayed, they knew that Somalia was their home. They wanted to do their bit and could see better times ahead

11 thoughts on “Somalia’s Very Good Things

  1. This is a great list. For me, one thing I always loved is how storefronts paint pictures on the outer wall of the products and services they offer. (At least, they do in Somaliland and Puntland–not sure about the south). It always made me smile, and is practical too–advertising plus art plus accessible to those who can’t read.

  2. al shabab destroyed somalia they kill people for no reason and they call themselves muslims.

    they are the fathers of christians

  3. I loved this list.

    Talk about a people that needs to be wiped out and you just showed why. For thousands of years they have contributed NOTHING to the world.

    Your list consists of a rapper, some food, some crap no human being would eat and then you claim they are hard working people that fight for their country? Dude, ever been to Sweden or Norway? We have more somalis than Moghadishu and they contribute NOTHING positive to our countries.

    Somalians are a burden to the world, 100% useless people. Half of them can’t read or write, their average IQ is 68 (70 is considered “light retardation”.

    Useless country, useless people, pure burden. Wipe them out and make the world a better place.

    1. BRO!!! talk about hate. You should look in the mirror before you start talking about other people like that. Do YOU THINK THAT THEY ARE USELESS because they want to be, or because YOOOU Norway and Swedish Don’t give them the chances, the opportunities and the education and jobs that they need. MAYBE IF YOU GAVE THEM A LADDER THEY WILL CLIMB THEIR WAY UP. learn something about how the world works not how the people work around it. IDIOT!!!

  4. @Illwill u r fucking useless ,asshole and should be wiped out.and by the way can u wipe out 20 million or more ppl>huuuh? u r useless u dirty animal use ur barain the talk and dont bother urself with ur useless coments IDIONT.

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