Somalia: now and then
|Pic for The Orlando Blog|
Al Shabab women brigades
From Hargeisa to Kismayo, alien and strange sounding names such as Abu Zubayr, Zumaya and Bint Khuwayja have replaced the popular and fashionable Somali names like Robleh, Raageh and Rhoda. The huge surplus of mosques that are being built across the country at the expense of hospitals and schools can’t be questioned either. And if you dared ask such questions (a relative is nowadays the safest option when asking) the answer you’ll get is simple: ‘we have become better Muslims; we were ignorant about our religion’.The Somali society has taken a dramatic turn for the worse over the past couple of decades. For example, the female adults attending Madarasas in their middle ages or the sixth century Arab names that are popping up all around young Somali households. As Richard Dowden, the veteran Africa news correspondent summed up in the early 90s in one of his last articles for the Independent: ‘the Somali Taliban was born soon after the overthrow of the secular dictator’.
Is Mali fast becoming the next Somalia
Ansar Dine rebels near Timbuktu, northern Mali.
Photograph: Romaric Ollo Hien/AFP/Getty Images