The War on Terror and the Terror of War: Somalia and the Horn of Africa

Professor Abdi Samatar, University of Minnesota, USA

Date: Wednesday 10 September
Time: 10:00-12:00
Venue: CMI Post Meeting Room, 1st floor, Fantoftvegen 38

The central argument of this lecture is that the Cold War and more recently the War on Terror have induced wars that have destroyed countries, killed, maimed, and displaced vast numbers of innocent civilians in different parts of the world such as Somalia. For the victims, the terror of war is the cause of their misfortune while the perpetrators of the War on Terror consider them as unavoidable casualties. Contrary to the claims of the US Government, the War on Terror has provided political cover for dictatorial or illegitimate regime in Ethiopia and Somalia and thus contributes to the absence of peace, justice, and democracy in the region.

Using historical materials from Somalia, the lecture demonstrates how the tactics of the War on Terror are similar to those of the Cold War, and how the latter significantly contributed to the demise of Somali democracy by opportunistically supporting sectarian local political projects. The main consequence of the Cold War and the War on Terror has been terror visited on civilians and societies such as those in the Horn of Africa. In Somalia, it meant the destruction of the country's public institutions, a brutal civil war, and the reign of warlords. The only way out of this nightmare in the Horn in general and Somalia in particular is genuine commitment to justice and democracy.

Abdi Samatar, is professor of geography and global studies at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of several books and publications on Somali history, politics and culture, including The African State: Reconsideration (2002), The Ethiopian Election of 2005: A Bombshell & Turning Point (2006).

The lecture is arranged in co-operation with The Nordic Africa Institute