ABOUT THE BOOK:
This study covers the period of time between 1941 and 1969 — almost three decades which undoubtedly represent a crucial time in Somalia’s history, not least for the remarkable events which took place in the country. For the purpose of historical analysis, I have divided this period of time into three distinct phases. In the course of this period, the country came under the rule of three different administrations: British Military Administration, UN Trusteeship and, finally, an Independent Somali civilian administration. Each of these administrations, as I will extensively explain, left its imprint not only on the country but also on the lives of its people.
The aim of this study is to shed light on misconceptions held by a large segment of Somalis, and assist them as they become acquainted with major political developments which characterized this period but have been largely ignored, except at the peripheral level. Owing to poor investment in teaching and writing history, the general level of historical knowledge in Somalia society is abysmally low. The existing literature on this important historical period is scanty, shallow and incomplete by nature; it is the work of foreign writers, and consequently does not provide a comprehensive or clear picture of major events.
As a result of this paucity of historical information, generations of young Somalis are growing up ignorant of their heritage or exposed to distorted presentations of the history of their country. This study does not purport to be a comprehensive history of the events which took place during the period it covers. It does, however, focus on major political and social transformations experienced by the country during this period of time. It examines the difficult economic conditions Somalis endured under British military occupation and the political liberalization introduced by British colonial authorities, which paved the way for the formation of the first social and political movements.
The study covers the long and difficult debates held at the United Nations, with particular emphasis on the conflicting positions and the Four Powers’ failure to reach consensus on the future of pre-war Italian colonies in Africa, which eventually resulted in the transfer of the issue to the General Assembly of the United Nations for final decision. An entire chapter is dedicated to the emergence of the first political movements in the territory, and their fierce competition for political primacy, leading at times to bloody confrontations.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mohamed Trunji, the author of the book, was born in Beledweeyn, Somalia, in 1943. After the Secondary School in 1962, he joined the Ministry of Education as Teacher for elementary school pupils. In 1964 he joined the staff of the National Assembly of Somalia (Parliament) as interpreter, a position he held until October 1969. In 1972, after graduating from the Somalia National University, Faculty of Law, he joined the Ministry of Justice as judge, a position he held until 1980. From 1981, after completing a Diploma Course at the University College London (UCL) in Maritime Law, he became member of the Somalia delegation to the annual sessions of the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea held in Geneva, New York and Kingston, Jamaica, which ended with the adoption in 1982 of the Third UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
In 1983 he was placed on secondment to the office of the National Commission for Refugees (NCR) as Chairman of the Eligibility Committee, a position he held up to 1991. From 1992 to 2005, he served the United Nations Agency for the Refugees, the UNHCR, as Senior Protection Officer in Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Ethiopia and Zambia. After retirement in 2005, he enrolled on a Master’s Degree in International Human Rights Law at the University of Essex, UK, graduating in 2006. For his dissertation, he wrote a paper entitled ‘Prosecution of past Human Rights Violations’, a subject closely related to the events of the last three decades in Somalia. The author lives currently in London.