Wrapped along the edge of northeastern Africa lies the dry, dusty
land of Somalia. Only two permanent rivers run through its arid
plateaus, which for centuries belonged to clans of pastoral nomads
traveling in search of food and water for their herds. Somalis are a
resilient people, renowned for their nomad culture of vibrant oral
poetry traditions and their reliance on camels.Like its climate, Somalia's history is harsh--a short-lived democracy
in the early 1960s was replaced first by a brutal, 21-year dictatorship,
and then by anarchy, as clan groups refused to accept the national
government. For more than a decade, severe droughts and factional
warfare have forced many Somalis from their homes, and even from
their country. Despite Somalia's uncertain future, its people continue to
strive to revitalize businesses and return tranquility to a land that has
lived too long without peace.
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