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somalia Arrow vol 11 no 3 contents
About borderlands VOLUME 11 NUMBER 3 2012


From Starving Child to Rebel-Pirate: The West’s New Imagery
of a ‘Failed’ Somalia

Aman Sium

University of Toronto

Within dominant Western scholarship, foreign policy and media discourses we have recently seen the rise of new images to explain Somalia’s “failure”. It is through the selective imagining of the ‘rebel-pirate’ and the fetish-like reproduction of his image that the West [un]makes Somalia. Through a critical analysis of existing literature, media coverage and state documents, I argue that such images have become weapons to reaffirm the stability of Western whiteness in the face of the Black Muslim threat inscribed onto Somali bodies. With the United Nation’s declaring an end to Somali famine on February 3rd, 2012, the image of the hungry Somali child – which has for so long mediated the West’s relationship to the region – has been formally put to bed. After tracing the genealogy of ‘failed state’ discourse, this paper asks how images become used by the West to demonstrate Somalia’s “failure”, and what the implications are when those images change.

The full article is available as a PDF document: click here.

© borderlands ejournal 2012



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ISSN 1447-0810