1. Photoset: Old postcards from Somalia. (x)

    via nomadamsterdam

    (via diasporicroots)

  2. Portraits of Elderly Men from Somalia and Eritrea (1936)

    (Source: sufiness, via gravalot)

  3. Italian Colonial Map of Somalia (1924)

    (Source: mogadishuimages.wordpress.com)

  4. #Somali women’s basketball team, 1970s

    (Source: zamaaanawal)

  5. Somali women protesting in solidarity with Angela Davis [1972]

    (stolen from twitter)

    (Source: kawrage, via ludotomboi)

  6.                           Precolonial East African City States

    From the approximately 1000 to 1500 AD, a number of city-states on the eastern coast of Africa participated in an international trade network and became cosmopolitan Islamic cultural centers. The major autonomous, but symbiotic, city-states stretched over 1,500 miles from Mogadishu (in modern day Somalia) in the north to Sofala (in modern Mozambique) in the south and included Mombasa, Gedi, Pate, Lamu, Malindi, Zanzibar, and Kilwa.  

    Each of these cities evolved from agricultural villages that produced goods on a small scale.  Over time, these villages intensified their small-scale agricultural economies to create surpluses for trading.  This shift also changed the structure of the society of these villages as more wealth created an elite merchant class. The new prosperity elevated some agricultural villages into towns and cities, while others were founded to capitalize on the opportunities sparked by the growing Indian Ocean trade.

    These city-states also exported natural resources.  Local merchants gathered ivory from the south, gold from the western interior and frankincense and myrrh from northern Africa. Kilwa, Pate, and Mogadishu also developed a local textile industry while Kilwa and Mogadishu extracted copper from nearby mines. All of the states produced pottery.  Ironworking had evolved in East Africa before the rise of the city states.  They improved the process and produced iron objects for trade as well as local use.

    Archaeology studies provide evidence that the city states carried on a flourishing long distance trade with Persia, India, and China.  Coins from these states have been found in each of the African city states.  Also found were examples of pottery from Persia and Arabia, Chinese qing bai, and Cizhou wares as well as kohl sticks, glass beads, bronze mirrors, and objects of rock crystal reflect the China trade. Other wares from Indonesia, dating back to the 13th century, indicate that Southeast Asia was also part of the East African city state commercial world.

    By 1350 all of the city-states had converted to Islam partly because of commercial advantages but also because of the large scale Shirazi (Persian) immigration to the area.  Although the name suggests that most immigrants came from Shiraz in southern Persia, in fact they migrated from a number of locals stretching from the Arabian Peninsula to what is now Pakistan.  Many of these families had long established trading relationships and often brought substantial wealth which placed them at the head of the local merchant class.  The new ruling elite gradually homogenized the immigrant and indigenous African communities and in the process created the distinctive Swahili culture and language that extended from Mogadishu to Sofala.

    By the end of the14th century, architecture of the city-states followed similar styles and construction techniques, especially in the domestic structures and tombs.  Coral stone and concrete mosques also developed in the city-states.  The architecture also reflected a luxurious lifestyle for the merchant class and a complex economy with varying levels of craftsmanship and expertise.

    Portuguese and Dutch dominance of the Indian Ocean trade after 1500 led to the decline of the city states.  Many of them such as Sofala and Kilwa became outposts of European colonial authority.  The lack of an integrated political system ultimately rendered the city-states unprepared for the militarily well-equipped Portuguese and Dutch.  Also the growth of powerful interior states such as Buganda reduced the trading influence of these city-states in the interior.  

    Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch, The history of African Cities South of the Sahara: from the Origins to Colonization (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005);  Philip D. Curtin, African History: from Earliest Times to Independence (London: Longman, 1995); Chapurukha M. Kusimba, The Rise and Fall of Swahili States (London and New Delhi: AltaMira, 1999).

    (via diasporicroots)

  7. Map of the Northern Somali coast and the Gulf of Aden in 1860.

    From West to East

    1. Ottoman ruled Somali territories
    2. Warsengeli Sultanate
    3. Majeerteen Sultanate

    (Source: somalia)

  8. Mogadishu, the Somali Parliament in the 1980s.

    (Source: somalia)

  9. Map of Somalia Coast (circa 1750)


  10. Back in 2006 just as Somali farmers brought their grain harvest to market, the WFP began the distribution of its entire year’s grain aid for Somalia. With thousands of tons of free grain available Somali farmers found it almost impossible to sell their harvest and faced disaster. 

    Thousands of angry Somali farmers gathered at WFP distribution centers across Somalia to protest, sometimes violently. In an attempt to calm matters the WFP promised an investigation which in due course announced that, yes, the WFP had done the Somali farmers wrong and promised they wouldn’t do it again.

    Then in 2007 just as the Somali grain harvest began to arrive in local markets the WFP once again distributed its entire year’s grain aid, only this time with the Ethiopian army there to protect it. With a four year long on and off again drought since afflicting most of Somalia you could say the WFP helped put the nail in the coffin of Somali agriculture.

    Small wonder, then, why the Somali resistance, “The Youth”, Al Shabab, has since kicked the WFP out of most of southern Somalia that they control. It was only a couple of months ago that the WFP had cut by 70 per cent the minimum survival food rations for the one million or more Somali refugees it had been feeding due to a “funding shortfall,” yet today they would have us believe that they are desperately concerned for the survival of the Somali people suffering from the drought.

    via blackagendareport.com

  11. Georges Revoil - Souvenirs de voyage aux pays çomalis, 1880-1881

    (Source: gallica.bnf.fr)

  12. The Black Panther - Siad Barre Interview (1974)


  13. Iftin (“Sunshine”) was a big hit in Somalia in the 70’s and 80’s. Initially, they made theaters & schools “unsafe” with their brand of (slow) dance music and later discotheques & marriage ceremonies were conquered. It’s one of the bands initiated by the Ministry of Education and Culture and they were based in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, where most of the band members originally came from. The lead singer with the “Woweeee!” hair is a Somali of Yemenite origins (does his Yemeni ancestry shed a little light on your remark?). He’s called Shimaali and some of his solo efforts are on YouTube.

    via nolashayda

    (via naimaelsomali-deactivated201109)



  15. "

    The lesson of [the 1992 U.S. intervention in] Somalia is the urgent need to build an anti-imperialist movement opposed to all U.S. military action—one that is unswerving in opposition to all interventions, regardless of whether they cloaked as “humanitarian.” As Somalia shows us, there is no “humanity” in humanitarian interventions.



    Making Somalia’s nightmare worse - Lee Wengraf