Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Somalia "shamed" in corruption table? Not likely

In a story on Transparency International's latest country corruption rankings, AFP attached this headline: "Somalia, Afghanistan shamed in corruption table" I'm no international affairs expert, and I'll leave Afghanistan out of this, but I find it laughable that someone would think Somalia, either as a country or a government, would feel shamed by this.

For starters: There is no Somalia. It is the very definition of a failed state. The closest thing to a working government is the Islamic Courts Union, but it's so difficult to try and get a relatively clear picture of what might be going on. Apparently, as of January the head of the ICU is the President of the Transitional National Government... but the government has no powers. Fractured doesn't begin to describe the area formerly known as Somalia.

Second: The Somali people probably (just guessing here) don't know or care about the corruption ranking. And if they did, they wouldn't have anyone to lobby for change anyway. Is there an influential elite that might know? If so, they are the corrupt ones, so...

Headline writers always try to play up the story, and don't have as good a grasp of the issue as the writer, whose story then gets saddled with an over-the-top headline.

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