The collapse of the Somali Democratic Republic in 1991 led to a world‐wide diaspora. The purpose of this paper is to discuss and analyse Somali web sites in an attempt to demonstrate how they reflect the troubled history and politics of the homeland and continue to interest, involve, bring together and divide Somalis world‐wide.
Web sites were divided into categories, and a study of the community/political category was conducted. Visits were made to the Horn of Africa and elsewhere, and face‐to‐face interviews conducted. E‐mail contact was maintained with a number of Somali webmasters.
Community/political web sites was the most numerous category, with the majority being named after a geographical area associated with a group of clan lineages or sub‐lineages. They contain news, opinion pieces and other features in Somali and on some web sites in Somali and English. While web sites usually declare that the opinions in articles are those of the authors alone, they are unlikely to publicise views with which they are not in agreement.
The paper illustrates how web sites enable members of one diaspora community to keep in touch with a political situation at home that is exceptional, and to involve themselves in its controversies, should they wish to do so. It also shows how the web site has brought a new dimension to traditional methods of feuding.
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