The Truth About Somali Pirates

"Remember When We Were Just Fishermen?"

"Remember When We Were Just Fishermen?"

I detest when pundits from the left trot out the whole “root causes” thing in defense of shameless acts on the part of America’s enemies.  I equally loathe the black-and-white, right-and-wrong absolute views espoused by the right when clearly, there is some crucial nuance to some of these stories.

The taking of hostages or hijacking of any vessel is criminal.  Furthermore, taking a ship flying under the American flag and holding one of our citizens as a hostage basically entitles this crew of Somali pirates to a beatdown of epic proportions in my book.

But what if the pirates were created by forces larger than themselves?  Why do the people of Somalia support the pirates by an overwhelming margin of 70%?  Why do many of the pirates consider themselves a “Coast Guard“, while they consider the western ships in their own territorial waters to be the “Sea Bandits“?

I recently read an article that made be think twice about the other side of the pirate situation.  Johann Hari, writing in The Huffington Post, gives us a rationale for why the Somalis have taken to the sea in gunboats.

The basics:

  • The Somalian State collapsed in 1991.
  • European commercial fishing operations moved in and began wholesale poaching of the country’s native food supply from the ocean.  More than $300 million worth of tuna, shrimp, lobster and other sea life has been taken away, putting the local fishermen out of business.
  • European hospitals, power producers and industrial companies also used the opportunity to dump hazardous waste and materials in Somalian waters.
  • The Italian Mafia is in the “disposal” business for these Euro concerns using the coast of Somalia to offload everything from mercury to lead to cadmium to nuclear materials.  This has further destroyed the fishing trade for Somalians and polluted the coastal region.
  • After the tsunami of 2005, barrels of nuclear waste began washing up on Somalian shores leading to the deaths of more than 300 people from radiation sickness.
  • The United Nations‘ response has been nil.

None of these items justifies piracy, hostage-taking or hijacking, but clearly, when these are looked at as a whole, we can say that the Somali people have been put into a position where they feel they do not have a choice.  Thanks to European abuses and the lack of response from the rest of the world, we now have pirates in the Indian Ocean shipping lanes off the horn of Africa.

And the people in Somalia believe that the pirates are acting in defense of their own people.  Nice situation we’ve allowed to develop.

I pray for the family and the safe return of American captain and hostage Richard Phillips.  I also pray we can find a way to stop dumping nuclear and medical s&$% in other people’s backyards.

Full Story:  You Are Being Lied To About The Pirates (HuPo)

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