Showing posts from October, 2011


Siad Barre and Muammar Qadaffi
I’m not completely new to Africa.I’ve spent a couple weeks living in a tent in Rumbek, another few weeks (mostly) on the toilet in N’djamena, two or three weeks dying for a beer in Khartoum, a few weeks feeling the closest we Americans can get to post-colonial guilt in Monrovia and enough time in Kenya to understand that the presence of a United Nations headquarters in Nairobi probably brings more money into the country than tourism does.I’m not an absolute newbie to this part of the world, but I’m far from an expert.
While working in the Caucasus I took pride in being able to hold a credible conversation with my friends Azret and Maga about the security situation in Kabardino-Balkaria, a place many westerners are only vaguely aware of.I was proud that my Russian was decent enough to maintain informal contact with my counterparts in the local security services.When I was assigned a post with Somalia responsibilities I knew I was going to be playing catch…