Effects of the Somali Civil War on the Population of Somalia Somaliland Term Paper

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¶ … Somali civil war on the population of Somalia/Somaliland.

Who is considering that having to live with a war happening behind you back, "just around the corner," as an extra to your present condition is an easy task, might just be a bit wrong, if not more.

Somalia is not a 'country' like any other. And in many ways, it is neither 'African' nor 'Arab', although it is located on the African continent and has often been considered 'Arab' in some ways. Somalia is a coastal nation in East Africa, widely known as Horn of Africa. Continentally, it is surrounded by Ethiopia and Djibouti on the north and mid-west, and Kenya on its south-west. The Gulf of Aden is located on its far east. Together with Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti (collectively known as the Horn of Africa), were known to the Ancient Egyptians as the Land of Punt. The earliest definite record of contact between Ancient Egypt and Punt comes from an entry on the Palermo stone during the reign of Sahure of the Fifth Dynasty (around 2250 BC). It says in one year 80,000 units of myrrh and frankincense was brought to Egypt from Punt as well as other quantities of goods that were highly valued in Ancient Egypt.

The Somali people, or the Somali nation, is an unquestionable reality. But the Somali state is a much more ambiguous notion which has for the time being receded into the gray zone of a legal abstraction, probably for a good many years to come. This situation is all the more puzzling since at the time of its independence in 1960 Somalia was described as one of the few mono-ethnic states in Africa, one with a common language, a common culture and a single religion, Islam. While this was probably an exaggeration, it was substantially true.

Somali society, like many nomadic societies of arid and semi-arid lands, is largely a product of its geographical and climatic environment. The land is very dry and it generally does not permit sedentary agriculture, except in the South, between the Juba and Wabi Shebelle rivers. Hence the social differences between 'pure' Somali and the Southern Peoples. As a result, people move, with their herds of camels, goats and sheep, forever in search of good pastures and water. Such a world is not conducive to any form of economic surplus or economic accumulation. Without economic accumulation, there are no possibilities of permanent settlements, of cities and of the distinct political structures we have called 'the state'. In such societies, politics are diffused throughout the whole social body and not separated, specialised so to speak, in a 'state' form, since people are forever moving. And since their movements imply frequent frictions in the competition over the control of pastures and wells, several consequences arise.

Firstly, blood ties are the only connections a man is sure of. One's kin group makes the only tangible social reality which explains the enormous, overpowering importance of genealogy and the lineage system.

Secondly, armed conflicts between roving groups, usually representing distinct kinship groups, are frequent.

Thirdly, since the 'state' per se does not exist, some sort of mechanism has to be found so that the conflicts do not degenerate to the point where they would be threatening the very survival of the kin groups. The only basis for such a mechanism is the lineage system itself. In Somali, these group-conflict rules are called xeer[3]3, and their supporting genealogical network jiffo.

Since 1990, Somalia has been the site of an intense civil war that has disrupted health-care services and food delivery to a substantial part of the country. A regional drought, in combination with the ongoing civil disturbances, has further resulted in widespread famine. Multiple international government- and nongovernment-aid agencies are involved in the relief effort for Somalia. However, security problems in most areas of Somalia have prevented recent, systematic population-based assessments of the health and nutritional status of local Somali populations for use in directing relief efforts.

So how can one look at this kind of situation from an objective point of you? How can a war be looked at objectively? It does affect them as well as us, and for the time being there are not much that a few people can do to ameliorate the whole situation. It lies in the conceptions and perceptions of those who really have the power to change something.

A civil war differs radically from both international war and communal violence. Unlike an international war, it is fought outside any structure of rules and entirely within the territory of the society. Unlike communal violence, it implies a rebel organization equipped with armaments and staffed with full-time recruits. Such rebel armies usually have little option but to live off the land. This implies a large number of innocent people who die for causes which have not been very well conceptualized and danger arises from everywhere, making people more vulnerable.

During a civil war a society diverts some of its resources from productive activities to violence.

As a result, the society loses twice over. The diverted resources are lost to productive activity, analogous to the loss from what economists call rent-seeking. Because much of the increase in military spending is on government forces paid for out of the government budget, resources are disproportionately diverted from government provision of useful public goods, such as health care and policing. However, whereas rent-seeking activities are simply unproductive, the increase in violence is harmful. One part of society is producing while another part is destroying.

Most of the costs of civil war accrue from these destructive activities. The power of the gun displaces civil rights. Men with guns, from both rebel and government forces, can steal, rape, and murder with impunity. Behind this veil of havoc, the localized collapse of order extends impunity to criminal and other antisocial behavior. The primary response to the fear of theft, rape, and murder is flight. People try to shift their assets to safety, and they themselves flee. This flight in turn creates massive problems, especially for health, as people are pushed into areas where they lack immunity to disease. They then carry these diseases with them, infecting host populations.

The most direct human effects of civil war are fatalities and population displacements. In the modern civil war the composition of victims differs radically from the wars of the early 20th century, in that the impact has shifted from military personnel to civilians. At the beginning of the 20th century about 90% of the victims were soldiers, but by the 1990s nearly 90% of the casualties resulting from armed conflict were civilian (Cairns 1997). Furthermore, the military sometimes deliberately targets civilians to create forced migration. Azam and Hoeffler (2002) analyze the different motives for targeting civilians in internal wars. On the one hand, soldiers may terrorize civilians because they need loot to augment their resources. An alternative hypothesis suggests that terrorizing the civilian population plays a direct military role. Civilians are targeted mainly because the displacement of large fractions of the civilian population reduces the fighting efficiency of the enemy, as they cannot hide and obtain support as easily. The percentage of mortality grows creating this way mass hysteria. Also, mortality rates only capture one dimension of the human consequences of conflict; however, they are a useful summary measure of the crisis and its impact. Mortality estimates can be highly inaccurate, but they are often better and more easily captured than other health indicators, which may be subject to different definitions and cultural interpretations (Keely, Reed, and Waldman 2000).

The 14-year civil war in Somalia which started in 1988 has led to 300,000 people fleeing to neighbouring countries, and 200,000 internally displaced persons. The intense fighting and constant political instability has resulted in widespread poverty and the almost complete collapse of the country's infrastructure. It is estimated that 71% of the population of Somalia is undernourished, 1.7 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid, of which 1.4 million are situated in the Southern Somalia. Life expectancy is close to 48 years. One in four children die before the age of 5 and the infant mortality rate is 225 deaths per 1,000 live births.. Many children are malnourished, and Somalia ranks sixth in the world for its under-five infant mortality rate. On top of this crisis, Somalia has been hit this year by one of the worst droughts in decades. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) over 15 million people are at risk of losing their livelihoods, with 8 million of them in need of emergency food aid and supplies, due to this severe drought. To complicate things even worse, aid has become more and more difficult to distribute due to the increased fighting in southern Somalia.

Due to this situation Somalia has been associated with political turmoil and conflict resulting in the massive displacement of asylum seekers to neighbouring countriesand the 'West', this resulting into forced migration.After the civil war… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Effects of the Somali Civil War on the Population of Somalia Somaliland.  (2007, June 9).  Retrieved December 12, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/effects-somali-civil-war-population/5810

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"Effects of the Somali Civil War on the Population of Somalia Somaliland."  Essaytown.com.  June 9, 2007.  Accessed December 12, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/effects-somali-civil-war-population/5810.