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Letter: Somalia and politics

I am writing in response to a recent article by Chip Ainsworth titled “Keeping Score: Runner without a country” that appeared both in print and online. This article while largely talks about an interesting story of a Somali youth trying to make in America, can be misleading to the point of being a propagandist. Two points in particular irked me. The first is the cliched title itself. If the runner purports to be from Somaliland as reported then he has a country, it is called Somalia. It has been recognized by the United Nations and other countries and world bodies for 53 years and counting. So do not inadvertently become a mouthpiece for separatists in Somalia. The other point is that the article claims since the Somaliland region is unrecognized they receive no foreign aid. That is false. Ironically, because this region was perceived to be more peaceful than the rest of Somalia, which was largely true, they receive most of the developmental foreign aid to Somalia. If the author had done a simple Google search he would have found just few days earlier the European Union started a milk processing facility worth more than $5 million in Hargeisa. Surprisingly, the author misses the contradiction about one of the subjects in the story visits his uncle in Somaliland to work for the United Nations. What United Nations is doing in Somaliland, other than providing aid, is not clear. There are a lot of interesting stories to write about Somalia and Somalis in general, romanticizing about a separate “country” to the north of Somalia is not one of them.

ZAKARIA F. IDLE

Milpitas Calif.

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