All the media is reporting on how 'Pirates' have Struck a U.S. cargo ship, But Is the Media Telling the Whole Story?
First, I'm not here to paint the Somalis responsible as heroes or as vigilantes, but i'm not going to condemn them as well. The issue is very complicated and this story sheds alot of light on the situation.
According to Hari:
| As soon as the [Somali] government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died. |
This is the context in which the "pirates" have emerged. Somalian fishermen took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least levy a "tax" on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia -- and ordinary Somalis agree. The independent Somalian news site WardheerNews found 70 per cent "strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence."
Here is a youtube of the Somali hip hop artist K'naan speaking on this very issue.
|+ YouTube Video|
Because the is no Somali government, there is no State. There is no institution that police the water and enforce international or national laws,rules, regulations. Consider what one pirate told The New York Times after he and his men seized a Ukrainian freighter "loaded with tanks, artillery, grenade launchers and ammunition" last year. "We don't consider ourselves sea bandits," said Sugule Ali:. "We consider sea bandits those who illegally fish in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas. We are simply patrolling our seas. Think of us like a coast guard." Now, that "coast guard" analogy is a stretch, but his point is an important and widely omitted part of this story.