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Arts & Culture

Former Somali PM says nation is recovering

WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond

A former prime minister of Somalia says the country is starting to turn around after decades of civil war and devastation.

Abdiweli Ali has returned to his position as an associate professor of economics at Niagara University after serving in the transitional government of his homeland, helping start that civil war-ravaged country on its way back toward stability.

Speaking last night at the university, he said Somalis have decided they had had enough and it was time to restore order and democratic government.

"People are tired. They want peace. They want stability. They want a future for their kids," Ali said.

Ali says he objects to people who say a country can't be both Islamic and democratic.

"Democracy and Islam are quite compatible. You see that in Turkey and Malaysia, and they're developing very fast," Ali said.

Ali says too many Islamic countries aren't democratic but dictatorial and that isn't what Somalia needs as it rebuilds from the decades of war. He says it won't be easy or simple, but Somalia is slowly recovering.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.