Fatima Jibrell and Jim Lindsay’s photographic tribute to peace
Ma nabad baa? Nabad iyo caano. Is there peace? There is peace & milk.
-popular Somali greeting
Adeso founder and renowned environmental and social justice activist, Fatima Jibrell, co-authored a book with retired Australian diplomat, James Lindsay. The book, titled Peace and Milk: Scenes from Northern Somalia, is a photography book which captures the beauty of Somalia’s stark landscape from a uniquely positive place. Jibrell and Lindsay present Somalia from the perspective of Somali people—images of smiling faces contrast against the austere backdrop of a deforested Somalia. Through its vivid imagery, the book presents the life of Somalia’s nomadic pastoralist communities in a way most have never seen them.
Jibrell and Lindsay use this photo book to tell the story of their travels through the Horn of Africa promoting the use of solar cooking devices, all the while sharing a rarely told story of Somali pastoral families living in unlikely peace. The pictures have been described as “touching”, “tragic”, and “eloquent” by Darwin Curtis, co-founder of the non-profit organization Solar Household Energy which promotes solar cooking as an alternative to the traditional but often environmentally destructive cooking methods which rely on charcoal, wood-burning, and biomass.
Peace & Milk has met a wonderful reception from people of all walks of life. There is obviously a critical mass of people who want to know more about Somali people, not just about the conflict in Somalia or the environmental degradation, but about the lives of people thriving within such a desolate context. On June 12th, the German cultural institution, the Goethe Institute, hosted a book launch in Nairobi to share Peace & Milk which was attended by over 120 people. The previous week, a similar event was held in the Eastleigh neighborhood of Nairobi, and about 90 people came to hear Jibrell and Lindsay talk passionately about their work. So far, Peace & Milk has received international accolades from environmental organizations such as the Goldman Environmental Foundation—a prominent US-based grant-making body which awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize to honor grassroots environmentalists, and funded national and international charities—and Résistants pour la Terre, a French international organization dedicated to environmental activism.
As the momentum around Peace & Milk grows, we are sure it will receive more attention and praise for its portrayal of Somali life as something more complex than people devastated by political conflict. If you are interested in purchasing the book, you may do so at the independent publishing company, Lulu, or by contacting the authors at firstname.lastname@example.org. All proceeds from the sales go directly to Sun Fire Cooking, an organization that mobilizes people in Somalia and east Africa to switch from charcoal to solar for cooking.