Hello and welcome to the online home of New Dalka, your Somali current affairs and culture monthly. We hope that you will continue reading and that you will even consider sending in contributions or writing to the Editor with your feedback. Below is the editorial from the second issue (August 2017) which will hopefully acquaint you, our readers, to the magazine.
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Another month, another issue of Dalka. The overwhelmingly positive response to the inaugural issue has left us in no doubt as to the potential this publication will enjoy. Letters to the Editor—some published in these pages—found their way to our mailbox from around the world.
While the correspondence received was full of praise, we would have liked to see more (constructive) criticism directed our way. What do you, our readers, want to see more of in future issues? What worked well last time—and perhaps more importantly, what didn’t?
That said, some readers did take to certain websites to make their views heard. Some of these however were deemed so digressive as to not even warrant a response, delving as they did into scurrilous diatribes. In Dalka, as opposed to other quarters, it is ideas, not personalities, which concern us most. We are therefore extending an olive branch to all those who wish to mend their ways and begin to challenge us on the plain of ideas. If they wish to engage with ideas, our pages will serve as their canvas. Unlike practically anywhere else, even if someone wants to criticise our articles or features, we will give them a spot in the Letters page or even their own page spread. The Editor dearly hopes they will avail themselves of this opportunity.
But all clouds have a silver lining. Some of these comments made us realise the need for a clarification, which at the time we last went to press, seemed so obvious as to not need any mention. At no point did this publication make any pretensionto representing the views of its predecessor, the Dalka of the 1960s. It was, and remains, editorially independent from it. In order to make this distinction crystal clear and to avoid any ambiguity, this publication will henceforth be known as New Dalka. The prefix of ‘New’ is particularly apt since the Dalka of the 1960s was modelled on the British weekly magazine of the left, the New Statesman.
The only (modest) claim we do make is to revive the spirit of the free press—brave, bold and fearless—in which Dalka thrived. This spirit of course was not limited to Dalka; competition for readers and space on the shelves of Somalia’s bookshops came, in those days, from the Italian-language La Tribuna, which stayed the course, and other more short-lived publications. So far, we have not heard of any rival publications yet but in the interest of vitality, we would heartily welcome this.
It’s worth repeating the usual disclaimer. New Dalka does not subscribe to any political or ideological positions. We address each issue, in turn, on its own merits. All articles represent the views, not of the publication, but its respective contributors. Nor is each contributor necessarily an affiliate of the publication: they are simply using our pages to reach our wide audience and equally, to contribute to something which they feel is worthwhile and exciting. For that, the Editor thanks them.
If anything, the Editor, the contributors and (hopefully!) you, our readers, share in at least one conviction: the importance of free and fair debate, a free press and the conduct of discussions within the boundaries of respect and common decency.