Sunday, April 08, 2007

Toronto Star: A peaceful oasis in bloody Somalia

Somaliland With the war-torn south in anarchy despite massive outside aid, a peaceful breakaway republic seeks international recognition as it goes its own way with a homegrown mix of democracy and traditional problem-solving.

Jeffrey Gettleman New York Times

When the sun rises over the craggy hills of Hargeysa, it sheds light on a different kind of Somalia.

Trucks selling genuine soft ice cream hit the streets. Moneychangers, unarmed and unguarded, push cash through the market in wheelbarrows.

Politicians from three distinct parties get ready for another day of debate, which recently included an animated discussion on registering nomadic voters.
It's all part of a Somali puzzle: how one area of the country, the northwest, also known as Somaliland, can seem so peaceful and functional while the rest continues to be such a violent, chaotic mess.

"We built this state because we saw the problems here as our problems," says Dahir Rayale Kahin, president of the unrecognized Republic of Somaliland, which has long declared itself independent from the rest of Somalia. "Our brothers in the south are still waiting ... for others."

But Somalilanders are waiting, too: waiting to be recognized as a sovereign state.

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