Somaliland (the last time)
Somaliland is the de facto independent state found in the north west of the internationally recognized borders of Somalia. Compared to the situation in the south of the country Somaliland is relatively stable. The state which has developed since 1991 functions, economic activity buzzes and a democratic system has operated. Hargeisa, the capital, is a wonderfully dynamic place and I’m looking forward to getting back out there. I was last in Somaliland in 2007 but spent only a short time soaking up the atmosphere. I’ve been studying the language back in London for the last two years and I’m in need of some proper linguistic immersion. I’m heading back to Hargeisa for a few months to teach a bit of English at the university (in exchange for a roof over my head) and to develop a greater understanding of the place, people, politics and language.
It’s an interesting time to heading back out. The presidential election has again been postponed – it’s over a year late – and unrest is spilling onto the streets. As much as I hate the phrase ‘fledgling democracy’ (and I do – with a passion) it is clear that representative politics in this new republic has reached a crucial point. Given the chaos which still cripples southern Somalia, the stakes of this process in north are high.
I’ll save further reflections until I arrive. In the meantime, some pictures of this fascinating place.