Saturday, November 12, 2005

Goodbye Somaliland

So, we have left Hargeisa. We were only there a week, but it was a very intensive week which we enjoyed very much. Overwhelmed by the friendliness and hospitality of most of the people we met. We also enjoyed the feel and atmosphere of Hargeisa. We managed to get attuned very quickly to the political pulse of the nation, helped no doubt by the free press and democratic society which they have established there. The stupid fools at the United Nations do not want to recognise facts even when they finally send their special envoy. Apparently the most telling comment he made was to express surprise at the fact that they have houses there in Hargeisa! I must admit that we were surprised at the size of some of the houses we saw there, but that is somethng else. Anyway, he has said that the situation in Somalia, which recieves maximum support from the U.N. throughout 14 years of complete failure, needs to be sorted out before they look at the situation between Somalia nd Somaliland. Edna Adan as Foreign Minister says they have waited all this time and no progress has been made in Somalia and that Somalia forfeited any say over what happens in Somaliland when they waged war on the country in the late 1980's and early 1990's. It will probably take the world a long time to formally recognise Somaliland and when I have the time I will explain why it is so important that the de facto state of Somaliland IS recognised. Still, I will do my best in any way I can to help the process forward. The US and UK like leading the world in issues of freedom and democracy and here is their chance!

My main worry about the country is that the men there are increasingly addicted to qat and this drug totally undermines society and progress within that society.

Today, I had a quick two hours in the city trying to take as many pictures as possible as I found out that one of my CD's was empty, the photos not having been burnt on it. Frustrating. Edna saw us off at the airport and she also gave me detils of how we can help make a donation to the hospital... so if anyone reading this is interested please let me know.

Back in Addis we have changed our flight. We will avoid Uganda (toursts killed, student riots in Kampala, general feeling of unease) altogether and fly straight to Dar Es Salaam (saving us a long train journey across the country), in Tanzania. In a few days we will be enjoying palm fringed tropical beaches on the island of Zanzibar, the old Arabic infuence and the Swahili lifestyle! (Memories of Lamu, Kenya 1990). The plan then is a three day train journey to Zambia, Victoria Falls, Namibia and South Africa. Inshallah!

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