Pete Tridish of Radio Mutiny reflects on his experience working with Zane Ibrahim of Bush Radio in South Africa, who recently passed away.
Somali remittances, which are sent through money transfer operations (MTOs), have been the subject of much scrutiny since 9/11. Members of the Somali diaspora rely on MTOs to send money (thought to total $1.2 billion a year) to their families and extended kin in Somalia, which, until recently, had no central monetary authority. These operations, in turn, rely on the banking facilities of large international banks. Yet MTOs have faced closures due to accusations they they serve as vehicles for laundering money and financing terrorism. Largely absent from debates over Somali remittance flows, however, is the issue of corruption within some of the world’s most powerful multinational banks and international financial institutions.
Anyone who has spent time in Dakar knows how lively the Corniche, or coastal beaches and cliffs that make up the western limits of the Senegalese capital, become in the evenings. University students taking a break from their reading at nearby Cheikh Anta Diop University, women gesturing as they walk together, and young men getting off work all flock to the sidewalks and beaches there to run, lift weights, and stroll along the sidewalks as the ocean brings in some cool evening air. However, this public space is at risk from what activists are calling the “wall of shame”–an unfinished wall built to mark the construction of the new Turkish Embassy. The parallels between the campaigns of Senegalese activists against the wall in Dakar and the protests in Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park cannot be ignored.