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Somali Author Reflects on Conflict in Native Country

Somali author Nuruddin Farah, who recently published a novel about post-civil war Mogadishu, speaks with Jeffrey Brown about the recent conflicts in the Horn of Africa.

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  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    The Somalia most of us have come to recognize in recent years is a war-torn and ravaged land. The clashing clan militias, dangerous streets filled with armed young men, hunger and destruction everywhere.

    But Somalia is also a country of history and tradition, its capital, Mogadishu, once a center for learning and culture in the Horn of Africa.

    Nuruddin Farah has spent his life portraying his contradictory homeland and its people, in the process becoming known as one of post-colonial Africa's leading literacy voices, and oft-mentioned candidate for the Nobel Prize.

    Farah was forced to leave his country in 1974 after his second novel was condemned by the regime of Siad Barre. He now lives in South Africa, but has returned to Somalia often in the last decade.

    His newest novel, his 10th, is "Knots," which tells the story of a Somali-born Toronto-raised woman who returns after a two decades to a devastated country she can barely recognize in the hope of reclaiming her family's home and perhaps her own troubled life.