19 May 2007 04:23


SW News
  • [SW News] (J.M. Haakonsen ) Dr. Bernhard Helander has left us (died)  : Posted on [3 Jan 2001]

 Dr. Bernhard Helander has left us ( died )

Dear Sirs;

I think the readers of SomaliaWatch should be made aware of the tragic death
of Dr. Helander.

Dr. Bernhard Helander lost a nearly two-year fight against cancer on
December 20th in Uppsala, Sweden at the age of 43. Bernhard was a lecturer
in cultural anthropology at Uppsala University and a well-known and
dedicated scholar on Somali affairs.

Bernhard started his research in Somalia in 1982 and rose to become one of
the world's major experts on Somali culture and society. He served in the
early 1990's in the UN thinkthank headed by ambassador Mohamed Sahnoun,
before becoming increasingly critical of the UN intervention in the country.
He has published a long series of articles on Somalia, some of which can be
read by visiting his home page

Bernhard was perhaps best known for his work between as editor and publisher
of Somalia News Update from 1992 to 1994, an electronic newsletter which
attained as much as 3000 subscribers from all over the world. He later
engaged himself in the plight of Somali refugees in Sweden, while keeping a
careful and critical watch on developments in Somalia, never hesitating to
speak out against injustices inflicted on the Somali people by the
international community or local warlords.

Bernhard leaves a huge vacuum behind him and will be sorely missed both by
those of us who had the privilege of knowing him as a friend and colleague,
and among those who only knew him through the impact of his writings. He
will be buried on January 8th.

Jan M. Haakonsen
Research Council of Norway

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