Article from ROAPE Volume 26 Number 79
‘Khatt’ and the Realities of Somalis
This article presents a brief review of khatt; a macro analysis of its roles in the Republic of Somaliland; briefer sketches of divergences of roles in other Somali heartland territories and Kenya concluding with a speculative section on what might be desirable (for Somalis) ways forward. All of these topics are bedevilled by limited prior research, the special pleading strands in much writing, the difficulty in knowing of or securing much of what is known and written and the intensely emotional context of most discourse. The last is not inherently a bad thing - khatt matters. Half of urban household absolute poverty, of farmer cash income and of female instituted divorces are not matters particularly appropriate for mild, disassociated academic curiosity. However, emotion leading to a rush to unanalysed action, and to inventing ‘symbolic truths’ , which have meaning but not analytical veridicality, can be the enemy of, just as much as the catalyst toward, the possible.