Wednesday 30 November 2011

Comment on my book

I have just received this wonderful comment on my forthcoming book from the well-known documentary maker, Adam Curtis:

‘Mary Harper has written a brilliant book that will completely change the way you look at not just modern Somalia but also much contemporary journalism. So much reporting today divides the world beyond Britain into Goodies and Baddies – Mary Harper's book cuts through that simplistic naivety in a fantastic way. She vividly shows how the cartoon nightmare vision of Somalia as a failed state is wrong. It's like being lifted up in a helicopter and looking at something you thought you knew in a completely new way.’

Thursday 17 November 2011

Here is a review of my forthcoming book, coming out in February next year. The reviewer read a manuscript that was written before the Kenyan invasion of Somalia; I have since updated it to include references to Kenya's action.

Sunday 6 November 2011

"Mogadishu goes to the beach"

I have just received this press release from the African Union peacekeepers (AMISOM) in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. The photos came with the press release.

*Mogadishans Take to Beaches as City Reawakens*

"Hundreds of Mogadishu residents last week took to the beaches for the first time in three years in a dramatic display of a new found sense of security following the forcing out from the city of Al Qaeda-linked terrorists.
The revellers, who included former president Ali Mahdi Mohamed, converged on the scenic Lido beach on Friday where they enjoyed a game of football and took a dip in the waters.
Ever since the Somali National Army, with the support of the African Union Mission in Somalia, forced the extremists' retreat in August, the capital has been experiencing something of a resurgence. Roads are being repaired, homes rebuilt and markets reopened. Real estate prices along Via Moscow have doubled and there are people out in the streets late into the night, despite the ongoing threat of terrorist attack.
However, as the city reawakens, it is also experiencing problems common to other capitals around the world. Traffic jams along the busy streets are a perennial headache and crime rates are up, according to Mayor Mohammed Nur 'Tarzan'.
Last week, the city's business community presented a gift of thirty animals to AMISOM in appreciation of the Mission's effort in helping secure the capital."

The man 'playing football' is former president Ali Mahdi Mohamed.

Al Shabaab said its withdrawal from the main parts of Mogadishu was a 'tactical retreat', not a 'forced retreat' as described in the press release. It has continued to carry out devastating suicide and other attacks in the city.

Friday 4 November 2011

Major Chirchir's tweets

As I sit here in Nairobi speaking to Somali friends about how uncomfortable things have become for them following the Kenyan incursion into/ intervention in/ invasion of Somalia, I cannot help but be amazed by the increasingly surreal stream of tweets coming from the Kenyan army spokesman, Major Emmanuel Chirchir.

Here is a compilation of his tweets on how donkeys should now be considered the enemy:

"Information reaching us confirms that Al Shabaab has resorted to using donkeys to transport their weapons. The locals use donkeys to fetch water for domestic use however, due to the heavy rains water fetching is not feasible. Thus, any large concentration and movement of loaded donkeys will be considered as Al Shabaab activity. In addition we are also reliably informed that the cost of donkeys has risen from $150 to $200 for a donkey. Kenyans dealing in donkey trade along the Kenya-Somali border are advised not to sell their animals to Al Shabaab. Selling donkeys to Al Shabaab will undermine our efforts in Somalia."

You can read more of his tweets on Twitter: