It must appear to much of the world that Somalia has ceased to exist. All diplomatic missions there have been closed and Somalia’s seat at the United Nations lies empty. Although limited UN aid programmes are operating, bilateral donors have largely forgotten Somalia. Respected guide books and travel information web sites dispense dire warnings to potential travellers and major airlines no longer include Somalia as a destination. It’s not even possible to write to friends and relatives in Somalia, for postal links have been cut. Somalia, it would appear, is a country that much of the international community has placed in quarantine.