Diasporas and their role in the homeland conflicts and peacebuilding : the case of Somali diaspora
Abdile, Mahdi (2010). Diasporas and their role in the homeland conflicts and peacebuilding : the case of Somali diaspora. University of Jyväskylä, Diaspeace Project. - (Diaspeace working paper. ISSN 1798-1689 ; No. 7).
Published inDiaspeace working paper
I began collecting data for this paper almost two years ago at a time when the role of the Somali diaspora was intensely debated both within and outside the country. In these debates the potential contribution of Somali diaspora is presented in two forms. Firstly, within and outside the academic circles, the role of Somali diaspora is described as potential contributors to the ongoing conflict in Somalia and as spoilers. There are several reasons for this assertion. Proponents of this argument see the enormous size of remittances sent by the Somali diaspora to their country of origin coupled with the lack of oversight and absence of monitoring capabilities of these remittances both at the sending and receiving ends. Hawala system used for sending such money can also easily be used and manipulated by warlords, clan militias’, pirates and terrorists. Once such money gets in the hands of warlords or terrorists it can be used for waging wars or terrorists activities. There are also growing fears in the Western capitals about the increasing radicalization of some section of the Somali diaspora. These fears grew as evidence emerged of young Somali men in the West going to Somalia to fight for Al Shabaab. Western security official are concerned that these young men would return to their homes in the west to spread terror or stage terrorist attacks. Secondly, in recent years, there has been an attempt to offer a more balanced view of the role of Somali diaspora. This view takes into account both the potentially negative role diaspora could play but also the growing recognition both within and outside the academic world about the potential contribution of the Somali diaspora not only in peacebuilding but also development and reconstruction in their country of origin. The purpose of writing this paper is firstly, to test the hypothesis that the role of Somali diaspora is both good and evil; that is they are both contributors to conflict and peacebuilding and reconstruction efforts in their country of origin. The paper is also part of my PhD thesis which seeks to study the traditional mechanisms of resolving conflicts and the role of key groups such as traditional elders, religious leaders and diaspora. It’s also part of my contribution to the Diaspeace researcher project. [Continues] ...