Discovering the soul of SomalilandBy Johnny Haglund, Monday November 17, 2014
Somaliland has a very exotic feel to it. In many ways it's like I’ve travelled back in time. My assignment at the moment is to photograph its coastline, meet its fishermen and all the other people affected by the pirates who operate in the Gulf of Aden.
These pirates affect a lot of people. All cars, food, clothes, equipment and other goods to Somaliland that arrive by sea, for example, are more expensive. The shipping companies are afraid of the pirates and so are the insurance brokers, according to General Omar Adil Klinle of the Somaliland Marine Corps. He has been fighting pirates for a long time.
During my trip I feel the tension; there are armed soldiers almost everywhere. This does affect my photography a bit; I have to be careful where I point my camera. But most of the time the people I meet are friendly, after I tell them why I am here and what I want to do. Many Somali people are afraid that I’m going to portrait them as poor and sad, because that is what they have seen on television.
“The whole world thinks we are miserable, but that’s not the whole truth,” people shout at me. But I tell them, through my interpreter, that I’m here with an open mind. I want to travel deeper into the soul of the Somalis, and through my photographs tell the story on how this 'not-yet-country' (Somaliland is not recognized by the international community as a nation) is holding it together...