Monday 27 September 2010

That ol' Somali Spirit

“Taxes are annoying,” explained one olive oil exporter in Mogadishu about why he was buying missiles for insurgents.
From an excellent Gettleman piece on Somali piracy.

Another very nice tidbit that ought make us skeptical of potential western efforts to impose systems:
The Italians and the British colonized separate parts of the territory, but their efforts to impose Western laws never really worked. Disputes tended to be resolved by clan elders. “Kill me and you will suffer the wrath of my entire clan”—that, to many people, was law and order. The places where the local ways were disturbed the least, like British-ruled Somaliland, have fared much better in the long run than south-central Somalia, where an Italian-run colonial administration supplanted the role of traditional elders. South-central Somalia continues to fester as a source of bloodshed, Islamist radicalism, and piracy. Somaliland just held a peaceful election and—even rarer in Africa—a peaceful transfer of power.

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