Conflict and Peace Building

Nearly 30 years after the Rwandan genocide, thousands of maimed amputees remind us of the war that took 500,000 lives in 100 days. War leaves marks that cannot be erased—not only in Rwanda, but on every continent.

Reporting from Conflict and Peacebuilding examines the roots of conflict, whether it be religious hatred, sectarian rivalry, a security vacuum, the struggle for natural resources, or the desperation that results from poverty.

Pulitzer Center journalists also cover war’s aftermath: the transitional governments that result in chaos, diplomacy that goes awry, peace talks that never end, and the people who suffer the consequences, young and old. We see the children who go hungry, lose their homes, leave school, become combatants, or join the jihad.

Often the end to conflict leaves turmoil in its wake while the road to peace seems circuitous: In South Sudan, rebel-commanders-turned politicians plunge the country into civil war. In the U.S., troops return home from one war only to be re-deployed to another. But everywhere, in every conflict, there are also voices crying out for peace, determined to heal the divide.


Conflict and Peace Building

Foreigners are the Real Pirates, Says Former Somali Fisherman

The first time Farah Ismail Eid set out to hijack a ship off the coast of Somalia his boat was easily outrun. On the second occasion he kept pace but his boarding ladder was too short. On the third attempt he was captured.

Eid, 38, from Eyl on the Somalia coast, is one of an estimated 1,500 fishermen-turned-pirates who have made the seas between the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean the most dangerous shipping route in the world.

Interview with a Pirate

The slight figure of Farah Ismail Eid is a far cry from the swashbuckling, murderous image of a pirate of the high seas.

The scourge of piracy along the Horn of Africa's coastline has caused shipping firms to pay millions of dollars in ransoms and has taken several lives. The mighty U.S. Navy and other major powers have deployed warships and frigates to patrol the waters of the Gulf of Aden, but still the pirates succeed in hijacking cargo ships.

Somaliland: A Land in Limbo (Part I)

It's a disconcerting experience to report from a place that doesn't exist. 18-years ago Somaliland broke away from Somalia, its bigger, nastier neighbor. While that benighted nation has continued its descent into chaos, death and mayhem Somaliland has kept the peace and built a likeness of democracy.

But as Somalia's anarchy is showered with money Somaliland is diligently ignored. In April donor nations pledged another $213-million to the besieged Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu, that's roughly seven times the annual budget of Somaliland's entire government.

Roadside Bombs: An Iraqi Tactic on the Upswing in Afghanistan

The highway that runs between Kabul and the southeastern city of Kandahar is the most brutal evidence of the Taliban's IED offensive. The road is a showcase U.S.-funded project, meant to connect two of the country's most vital commercial centers. But today it is an automotive graveyard, littered with burned-out carcasses of vehicles and disrupted by crumbled bridges.

A Land in Limbo

During colonial times, Somalia was divided between British Somaliland (in the north) and Italian Somaliland (in the south, Mogadishu area). After WWII Britain joined British Somaliland with Italian Somaliland, though because of the different colonial legacies, deep social differences existed between the two sides. In 1960 a united Somalia became independent. Following the 1970s war with Ethiopia, the Somali military dictator, Said Barre (a southern Somali), became more and more repressive, pushing people from Somaliland to press for independence.

Somaliland's Mental Hospital: Stretched to the Limit

Somaliland has only one mental hospital in the entire country. Many patients in the hospital suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome from the civil war with southern Somalia, which eventually led to secession and, still after 18 years, de-facto independence. Overuse of khat, a narcotic leaf that is normally chewed throughout the day, has been said to lead to more cases schizophrenia. However, given Somaliland's unrecognized status, the state's coffers are stretched thin, with little available resources for social services such as health care.