Memories of Mogadishu: Reconstructing post-conflict societies through memory and storytelling
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memory processes

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Siad, A. (2020). Memories of Mogadishu: Reconstructing post-conflict societies through memory and storytelling. Bibliotekarz Podlaski, 47(2), 233-247.


For many members of the Somali diaspora, the fear of fading memories places a sense of urgency on them to keep these stories of their homeland alive. The great African novelist Ben Okri once said, “to poison a nation, poison its stories”. Stories have the ability to harm or heal societies. Oftentimes, it is simply exclusion from the main narrative that can greatly harm or marginalize a group of people. This paper examines the use of memory in the reconstruction of a once cosmopolitan city by the Somali diaspora around the world through the Memories of Mogadishu initiative. The film by the same title is a short documentary made by the author, in which she interviews nine members of the Somali diaspora currently residing in Canada. Ultimately, this project and this paper reveal the realities of how post-conflict societies, and individuals within them, reconstruct and reconcile their memories, in this case of their former home of Mogadishu, Somalia. This paper analyses the nine interviews and is divided into the following four sections: “Memories of Mogadishu before the Civil War”, “Civil War and Leaving Mogadishu”, “Identity Revision, Memory, and Routinization”, and “Losing and Rebuilding Memories of Mogadishu (and Themselves)”.
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