Journal of Somali studies (JoSS) Volume 8, Number 1, June 2021 Guest Editor: Ibrahim Farah
About This Edition
To buy or subscribe, please email: email@example.com
In this edition, we have a number of articles for you; from Somalia to Ethiopia to the region. The articles cover a wide range of issues; both historical and contemporary. For example, there is an interesting article covering perspectives on the climate change debate linking it to migration dynamics. In this article, “Perspectives on the Rights of Climate Migrants in the Horn of Africa: A Case Study of Somalia” by Dr. Shazia Chaudhry and her student James Ouda from the famous University of Nairobi’s Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies (IDIS) in Kenya. With Somalia as a case study, the article argues that climate change has affected millions of people and that, in particular, the Horn of Africa region has been experiencing unpredictable environmental conditions resulting from climate change disasters. This is linked to permanent or temporary human migration through land degradation, recurrent and prolonged drought periods, flash floods and desertification which also pose formidable challenges.
Interestingly enough, the article also poses the notion that although migration is a coping strategy -- to deal with issues of climate change -- events and shocks, nevertheless, it may also increase human vulnerability and socio-economic insecurity. The gist of the article is that there is a link between climate change and migration dynamics in the Horn of Africa; especially in Somalia.
Rowland Okoli and Kelechi Iwuamadi from Nnamdi Azikiwe University and the University if Nigeria’s Institute for Development Studies (IDS) respectively, share an interesting article titled “State Failure and Clash of Civilisations in Somalia: Explaining the Interests and Interventions of External Actors.” The article examines how the interests and interventions of external actors led to a clash of civilisations in Somalia; the reformation of an externally-backed central government vs. the fight against al-Shabaab. The article tries to locate post-9/11, US-led interventions in Somalia and its capitalist interests in the Gulf while regional governments pursue their interests as they align themselves with the United States. The article is a bit historic but a major contribution into the workings of Somalia’s turbulent state-building processes; especially in the recent past.
Muhumed Muhumed from the University of Hargeisa looks at Somalia’s socialist past. In an article titled “Scientific Socialism in the Horn of Africa: Revisiting the Somali Socialist Economy,” the author helps us revisit Somalia’s scientific socialist-based economy in the 1970s; discussing its achievements, failures and consequences. The article argues that socialism failed to accomplish its goals in Africa and did not lead to what was expected -- for example development, prosperity, economic emancipation as well as poverty eradication -- and that it was no different in Somalia.
Mohamed Ibrahim from the University of British Columbia’s School of Social Work in Canada argues that racism, discrimination and violence are deeply rooted in structural and institutional systems. In his article titled “The Mad Mullah: The Psychiatrization of Somalia’s Freedom Fighter,” the author highlights the concept of epistemic violence and how it is embedded in the institutions of psychiatry. Using the Dervish struggle as a case study, the article examines psychiatry’s problematic colonial past as a colonial tool in the context of Africa and in particular its violent use against those opposing the colonial status quo. The article focuses on the use of psychiatric knowledge, authority and rhetoric in the context of colonization; indeed an interesting read, especially in the context of the political history of today’s Somalia.
Finally, and this time from Ethiopia, Yihenew Tsehay and Yayew Chekol, from Bahir Dar University’s Department of Governance and Development Studies and the Department of Political Science and International Studies respectively, critically examine the legitimacy and motivations of the 2020 TPLF’s regional election held in the Ethiopia’s Tigray region. In their article titled “The 2020 Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) Regional Election in Ethiopia: Legitimacy and Motivations,” the authors argue that the 2020 election held in Tigray was illegitimate and unconstitutional since it was contrary to the decisions of the federal government mainly the two houses; the House of Federations (HoF) and the House of People’s Representatives (HPR). It further argues that the TPLF violated the constitutional mandates of NEBE to execute any types of electoral activities, for example voters’ registration and the preparation and distribution of electoral documents, and that the election was not honest as it was held without officially-assigned local and/or foreign election observers.
The article finally argues that there was a desire, on the part of the TPFL, to destabilize the Ethiopian state, to demand to maintain political power, and to establish a de facto state. This article is an interesting read especially at a time, as recent as this week, Eritrea’s foreign minister, Osman Saleh, blames U.S. administrations that supported the TPLF for the last 20 years for the current war in northern Ethiopia's Tigray region, saying that blaming Eritrea for the fighting was unfounded. The minister, in a letter to the U.N. Security Council, accused President Joe Biden’s administration of “stoking further conflict and destabilization" through interference and intimidation in the region and with the apparent objective of these acts being to resuscitate the remnants of the TPLF regime.”