Somaliland votes for Stability – Personal Observation

Nov 13, 2017, from an independent observer


The elections today in Somaliland were remarkably peaceful and orderly. Observers hardly remarked any irregularity. Participation rates seem to be high. In and around Hargeisa an estimated 80-90% of registered voters cast their vote. Queues were orderly and polling staff, party observers and police appeared to fulfill their tasks professionally.

It is widely expected that the ruling Kulmiye party, whose current President Silanyo is stepping down, will win the popular vote, but the main opposition party, Wadani, could come a close second. The other party in this constitutionally-fixed three party system, UCID, will certainly come last. The results are expected to be announced around November 17 or 18; until then, social media is cut off.


No clashes with Puntland

Continue reading

Lessons from Somaliland for Kurds and Catalans

The Kurds and the Catalans are voting for self-determination. It seems nothing can stop a people who have decided to vote for self-determination, although it seems not a single state is ready to accept it. The lesson from Somaliland, an unrecognised country since 1991, is: there is no need to worry about not achieving international recognition: you can live very well without.

Certainly these elections will be held, one way or another, and the outcome is predictable: overwhelming support for independence.

Image result for tarot card strength

Continue reading

Homo Deus Part 2: counterproposal

Yes, I agree with Prof. Harari that the human race must seek to become divine (see my previous post, a review of his book). Like him, I also think that the key lies in developing our power. But unlike him, I do not see that happen in this world, with its dangerous imbalances, and I don’t think technology (like increasing the life span of humans) is going to play such an important role.

If the evolution of the human race may be compared to that of an individual, we would now be in the teenager phase. We are in the process of becoming conscious of our individuality, in the process knocking our parents (imaginary: God, Gods or Mother Nature) from their pedestal. As acne-scarred teenagers we care little about the environment and engage in violent schoolyard fights. At times we’re suicidal, at others we’re conceited and over-confident.

Image result for the magician

We must now transition to the adulthood phase, before we utterly destroy our environment and ourselves in the process. We need a new pact to regulate human society, based on the consciousness of being all together on this planet with its finite resources.  Continue reading

Review of Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

Yuval Noah Harari: Homo Deus, 2016

Harari asks important questions about the future of humankind and, for this alone, I’d recommend this book. But he brushes away some important issues that may force today’s world to change – notably, injustice, spirituality and environmental crisis – and bases his vision of the future on an ‘End of History’-like smug belief in liberalism where the only factor of change is technology. Therefore his analysis is flawed and, I believe, his predictions far off the mark. Continue reading

Article about Jonas Staal in Syria


Closing ceremony of the New World Summit in Derik, Syria

I published this article in the December 2015 edition of The Art Newspaper – with first a ‘news’ story on page 3, and then a feature on pages 58-59.  Continue reading

The Rojava Revolution

Syrian Village

A unique experiment in ‘stateless democracy’ and effective armed resistance against ISIS in Northern Syria is led by Kurdish women. Could their innovative model for social organization, which has brought peace, stability and progress to their region over the past three years, provide a way out for the crisis in Syria and other minorities in the Middle East? A personal account of a ‘political tourism’ visit to Rojava.

Continue reading

Crime Scene Yemen

J... and General Al Radhi and General Nagi, in one of our endless police reform strategy sessions

J… and General Al Radhi and General Nagi, in one of our endless and obviously pointless police reform strategy sessions

I wrote this while a member of a Police Reform mission in Sanaa in 2012. My team leader asked me to brainstorm with the Ministry of Interior’s Communication Department to see what could be done in terms of reform there. In contrast to the rest of the police, this department’s members were very reform-minded (as many socialist ex-South Yemenis officials are) and we had a fascinating exchange. After following up in subsequent meetings, I penned down my recommendations for a MoI comms strategy, in which producing a TV series played a central part. With the currently unfolding events in Yemen I feel free to share these recommendations with you.

Continue reading