Greater Somalia, the never-ending dream? Contested Somali borders: the power of tradition vs. the tradition of power

Marco Zoppi

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    This paper provides an historical analysis of the concept of Greater Somalia, the nationalist project that advocates the political union of all Somali-speaking people, including those inhabiting areas in current Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. The Somali territorial unification project of “lost territories” was a direct consequence of the arbitrary borders drawn up by the European colonial powers in order to realise their expansionist interests. This paper underlines the instability produced by the European colonial powers in the Horn of Africa, and presents their arbitrary decisions as the root cause of Somali grievances and border disputes, which dogged the region from the end of colonial rule to the outbreak of civil war. The aim of the paper is three-fold: firstly, it seeks to identify the reasons behind the instability of Somalia’s borders; secondly, it attempts to explain why the Greater Somalia project has not been realised. Finally, it discusses the overall issue, in order to achieve a balance in terms of myth and reality.
    TidsskriftJournal of African History, Politics and Society
    Udgave nummer1
    Sider (fra-til)43-64
    StatusUdgivet - feb. 2015

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