Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Real Story of the Somali Pirates

They are the new bad guys of the world.The modern pirates of Somalia.

The media is going crazy about what to do about them. On CNN the consensus seems to be....kill them all.

But almost nobody is looking at how this pirate story began.

So I found this CBC video really interesting.

Shorter version: The pirates were once fishermen who lived in a country without a government.So nobody patrolled the coastal waters and stopped foreign trawlers from ravaging fish stocks.

Or stopped countries from dumping toxic waste that sickened them and their families and ruined their livelihood. So they started "taxing" trawlers for the damage. And it wasn't very long before somebody figured out that piracy might be even better.

It doesn't excuse what they are doing. Especially when the ship they held up is loaded with U.N. food for malnourished mothers and children in Somalia and Uganda. And badly needed cooking oil for refugees in Kenya.

But it does explain how it happened. And it does makes you wonder who are the real victims? Who is really to blame? And who are the navies of the world really protecting out there?

Oh boy. What a world eh? When even pirate stories are complicated.

Just a lot of desperate people in a country the world forgot.

And enough shame for EVERYONE...


Your driver said...

I forget where I first heard of the pirates referred to as The Somali Coast Guard.

Simon said...

Hi Jon....yeah I guess they are. It's hard to imagine a country without an effective government...just a bunch of warlords. But it's not difficult to imagine why the fishermen felt the world had abandoned them...

The Gay Young Liberal said...

Pirate stories have been complicated throughout history. There's always a cause for people to turn to plundering ships for their livelihood. (I happen to know a lot about pirates because they fascinate me. I've done a lot of research.)

I haven't really been following the story of the Somali pirates, but while they are in the wrong for holding up a boat full of supplies for refugees, I can understand why they're doing what they're doing. People here in the Western world (and especially the good old US) too often want to make things black and white.

John said...

These guys work for big-time criminals to make money. There is no heroism in that. To romanticize thugs is no virtue. If you want to respond to a biad government situation. why not support Somaliland where people ARE trying to do right.