Beledweyne Banner Image
I’ve used the above photograph for a number of projects, including an adapted version for this blog’s header. It shows refugee huts in Beledweyne and was taken by a United States sergeant during official duties, which places it in the public domain.
Beledweyne is one of the oldest cities in Somalia, but recent decades of war have torn it apart. A provincial capital, Beledweyne is located close to the Ethiopian border and thus is considered strategically important. The people there face instability and opposition on multiple fronts.
When I first saw this image, it reminded me of Braveheart. I wanted to find out more about the people in it who you can barely make out. Since then, I’ve met some refugees from the region who embody qualities I want to have: They remain connected to family, history and tradition; and even in the face of great tragedy they smile and laugh.
But “Beledweyne” still sounds like an ancient Scottish village to me. Good thing it also goes by Balad Weyn, Belai-Wen, Beled Weyn, Beleduehjne, Beledueyne, Beledweyne, Belet Uen, Belet Wayne, Belet Wen, Belet Weyne, and Bālad Weyn.