Wrapped along the edge of northeastern Africa lies the dry, dusty land of Somalia. Only two permanent rivers run through its arid plateaus, which for centuries belonged to clans of pastoral nomads traveling in search of food and water for their herds. Somalis are a resilient people, renowned for their nomad culture of vibrant oral poetry traditions and their reliance on camels. Like its climate, Somalia's history is harsh-a short-lived democracy in the early 1960s was replaced first by a brutal, 21-year dictatorship, and then by anarchy, as clan groups refused to accept the national government. For more than a decade, severe droughts warfare and factional warfare have forced many Somalis from their homes, and even from their country. Despite Somalia's uncertain future, its people continue to strive to revitalize businesses and return tranquility to a land that has lived too long without peace.
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