by Geoffrey Clarfield (May 2011)
Sir Richard Burton once called the Somalis a nation of "fierce republicans," not a bad description for an entire people, for their attitude towards guns makes the most conservative NRA enthusiast seem like a Gandhian pacifist. If seven million Somalis inhabit the Horn of Africa, with sizable minorities in neighbouring countries like Kenya and Ethiopia, then perhaps it would be reasonable to assume that among them there is a ratio of seven people per one gun, perhaps more, since almost every adult male member in Somalia has access to a firearm. more>>>
The appreciative comment for Clarfeld's piece is just. And it comes not just from anyone, but from a learned man, a celebrated musicologist. NER is not the Huffington Post; its contributors' grasp of the world exceeds their reach. But such a note as that from Sterling Beckwith gives pleasure, puts one in mind of MIlton -- "Fit audience though few."
We should all be grateful that people like Clarfield, who know how to write clearly and can share their firsthand knowledge of how things really work in places like Somalia, are willing and able to inform and enlighten us. This piece, like many others of his I have read, represents the best kind of adult education, provided by the most indispensable kind of public intellectual. Long may he and his kind flourish in our midst, and claim space on the pages of your publication!