The Go Between
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionStoraas F, Scott R.E, Kassa G. The Go Between. Journal of Anthropological Films. 2019;3(1):e1537 https://doi.org/10.15845/jaf.v3i1.1537
The Islamic pastoral Afars inhabit the northeastern rangelands of Ethiopia. Some have settled in towns and trade centers where the Ethiopian state is present with the police and other government officials. The Ethiopian government is working on implementing state laws on the Afar who previously lived outside the regulations of the state. Now, however, many Afars have a foot in both sectors, having a home in town while maintaining close contact with their nomadic relatives. Hussein Hayie has a government position as Peace and Security officer. His work is to judge whether an incident should be handled as a criminal case for the police or be left as a case to be solved the traditional way by the elders of the clans. The Afar political organization is based on both territory and kinship. The political institutions are geared towards social control and the resolution of conflicts. The tribal leaders are often called upon to intervene before a small matter escalates to homicide and if a homicide occurs, to work out agreements of compensation in order to avoid blood-feuds. The film follows Hussein Hayie in town and when he visits his families in the nomadic camps. As a government employee, he is continuously on duty and in the film we see how he is called to act. However, Hussein is constantly treading a thin line in when negotiating cases a society existing both outside and inside the state. 36 mins. 2014.