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The Somaliland narrative

Issue 320
Front Page
Index
Headlines

Rayale Imposes New Restrictions On Press Freedom

NEC Announces Tender For Supply Of Voter Registration Equipment And Material

Thirst In Wajaale

Sool Election Commission Sworn

Somali Islamist Fighters Seize 2nd Town

QARAN’s Letter To The Representatives Of The International Community

Pentagon Says Somalia Air Strike Targeted Terrorist Suspect

'Muslims are being massacred': Dobley mayor

Somali Capital Reportedly on Brink of Starvation

Brussels Wants US To Protect Hirsi Ali

Revealed: trap that lured the merchant of death

The perception of gender in education

US State Dept Daily Press Briefing

The Era of the Coward Warriors

Regional Affairs

Aman, A Magazine Published By Women For Women

Girls’ Education Will Shape Progress For Somalia Says UNICEF

Uganda short of money to boost Somalia force

Editorial
Special Report

International News

Latin American Crisis "Made In The USA

IOM’s Busatti: We’re fighting the ugly face of globalization

African war crimescourt would also consider trying alleged Russian arms dealer

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

Somaliland Residents Express High Hopes for Independence

Why AFRICOM Is Critical For Our Security Interests

How To Start Your Own Country In Four Easy Steps

Missing Ex-Supermodel Found In Brussels

Mental Health Fears Fed By Somali 'Khat' Culture

Rapid Increase In Radio And TV Channels In Africa, Says New Report

We are not that bad, are we?

Food for thought

Opinions

Educational Collaboration Between Somaliland & South Africa

Wearisome Time for the Emerging Nation of Somaliland

Silanyo’s whined to Dr. Frazier is an indicative of a larger slump

Obama Barrack, Arabs & Muslims on the middle name

KULMIYE Party Dilemma: Why it’s getting difficult for Kulmiye chairman to hold the party convention?

Double standard policies of funding agencies ( The case of Somaliland Red crescents Society)


EDITORIAL

A prevalent characteristic of modern or postmodern literature is its disdain for smooth narratives that have a clear beginning, middle and end, and its preference for discontinuous and shifting perspectives that frustrate the reader’s expectations. This is particularly true of avant-garde literature. But in the more mundane world of politics, narratives still reign supreme because they serve as an easily digestible and memorable way in which the life of a politician or a country can be presented. Think of such narrative lines as Kennedy’s Camelot, Clinton’s the Come Back Kid or the Somalis’ Pastoral Democracy.

As a matter of fact, narrative is so crucial that in order to win in the highly competitive world of open democratic systems or to get a sympathetic hearing in the international arena, a country or a cause has to have an attractive narrative. In other words, often, though not always, the one with the better narrative wins.

Why are we talking about this? Because although many observers have written about the growing success of the Somaliland project, the role of the Somaliland narrative in making this success possible has rarely been discussed.

There are two titles that, so far, have captured the Somaliland narrative, and have been extraordinarily effective in conveying Somaliland’s message to the world. These two titles are: (a) Somaliland: an oasis of stability; (b) Somaliland: Africa’s best kept secret.

Of course, these titles or narrative lines would not have worked if they were too far from reality. And this is the second point about political narratives: not only are good narratives a prerequisite for winning political battles, but the narratives must be buttressed by reality. In other words, you cannot just say anything and expect the world to automatically buy it, which is the mistake that many of Somaliland’s adversaries often make.

Identifying so closely with stability and democracy has definitely been to Somaliland’s advantage both domestically and internationally. But there is a potential downside, which is: given the fact that Somaliland is still unrecognized, tying Somaliland’s narrative so closely with democracy and stability means that any serious disturbances of that stability or violations of the tenets of democracy would have disproportionately high negative consequences for Somaliland, higher than if such disturbances occurred in an internationally recognized country. This is why the coming elections are of enormous importance not only to Somaliland’s political system but also to its narrative.

Source: Somaliland Times


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