Okay, so he’s not really going on vacation. But writer Alex Strick van Linschoten is going to Somalia, and that does make him slightly crazy. He’s blogging the trip over at The Frontline Club, where I will soon be a regular contributor:
MGQ. A complex grouping of consonants represents Mogadishu in its airport 3-letter code. Mogadoxo to the Portuguese, Hamar to the Somalis, the city represents so much of the dashed dreams of the 1990s. Ticket in hand, I’m a little apprehensive about a place that exists more in rumour and myth than in reality.
Journalist colleagues counsel caution; few travel to Somalia themselves these days, with a few notable exceptions (David Axe, Jeffrey Gettleman, and Scott Johnson come to mind). Even on paper, though, Somalia should have enough to commend attention – a home-grown insurgency problem entwined with a proxy conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea; food and water shortages to such a level that a U.N. head said last week Somalia was returning to a humanitarian crisis of a similar level to that of the 1990s; a massive IDP problem (particularly in and around Mogadishu itself from which over 70,000 have fled so far this year alone); all this coupled with general and pervasive insecurity …
So it’s goodbye to Nairobi for now. Time to put myself into the care of Daallo Airlines.