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Title:Many Somalia(s), multiple memories: remembrances as present politics, past politics as remembrances in war-torn Somali discourses
Author:Ingiriis, Mohamed Haji
Periodical:African Identities (ISSN 1472-5851)
Geographic term:Somalia
civil wars
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/14725843.2016.1143804
Abstract:Though a rich body of scholarship on the Somali conflicts has come to the surface, hitherto none has nuancedly analysed political memories that emerged out from traumatic experiences but was disseminated through informal oral discourses. Given the dearth of studies interrogating memory and political memory, the Somali context offers an ideal case study. The political trajectories of memory, myth and metaphor are inextricably interlinked after the armed conflicts. In contrast to existing scholarship on memory studies in general, which has tended to overlook oral informal discourses, this paper examines the ways in which the Somali case interacts and encounters with questions of memory and remembrance in everyday life. This is to shift the focus from the war leaders to their subjects and to underscore the agency of the ordinary people playing upon issues of clannism and clan politics. Drawing upon author's experiences and ongoing ethnographic research, complimented by a variety of visual primary sources, the paper provides theoretical framework and conceptual explanation to confront the problems posed to researchers on African conflicts by competing clan narratives easily (and, at times, unwittingly) entering into academia as recordings of real remembrances. By contending that memory can be stage-managed from the 'fragmented past' to such an extent that it in itself becomes a political instrument when embedded within political purposes, the paper complicates the conflicting, competing versions of remembrance and memory as well as the conditional tense of the contemporary political conflicts in Somali Diaspora communities. It is not only concerned with the merits of memory, but also with the myth and metaphor of clan narratives and discourses. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]