I was reading a book by a journalist about the UN - United Nations: - the power imbalances in the set-up, about self-interest of the dominant players, in particular the USA, the racism of western nations making decisions that only third-world soldiers carry out, etc. It's called "Why we did nothing"

But when the author started to describe Somalis, I realised something. I know, have friends, have colleagues who are Somali and none, in no way, resemble the characture of gun-toting cowboys. Now that I'm alerted to the Somali characatures, I start to read the book differently. I realise the book is full of stereotypes - mostly for humourous effect. One example: to the author's eye, all the Pakistani blue-helemt soldiers look the same and she describes a scene that I guess is meant to conjure hilarious images in her reader's mind of them praying in Mogadishu, Somalia.

With friends like these, any campaign for justice and understanding needs no enemies...

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