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You are being lied to about pirates

February 4, 2009

by Johann Hari

Somali pirate “ships” are small, but the ships they seize are huge. They held one gigantic tanker for months until ransom was paid.
Somali pirate “ships” are small, but the ships they seize are huge. They held one gigantic tanker for months until ransom was paid.
Who imagined that in 2009, the world’s governments would be declaring a new War on Pirates? As you read this, the British Royal Navy – backed by the ships of more than two dozen nations, from the U.S. to China – is sailing into Somalian waters to take on men we still picture as parrot-on-the-shoulder pantomime villains. They will soon be fighting Somalian ships and even chasing the pirates onto land, into one of the most broken countries on earth.

But behind the arrr-me-hearties oddness of this tale, there is an untold scandal. The people our governments are labeling as “one of the great menaces of our times” have an extraordinary story to tell – and some justice on their side.

Pirates have never been quite who we think they are. In the “golden age of piracy” – from 1650 to 1730 – the idea of the pirate as the senseless, savage thief that lingers today was created by the British government in a great propaganda heave. Many ordinary people believed it was false: Pirates were often rescued from the gallows by supportive crowds. Why? What did they see that we can’t?

In his book “Villains of All Nations,” the historian Marcus Rediker pores through the evidence to find out. If you became a merchant or navy sailor then – plucked from the docks of London’s East End, young and hungry – you ended up in a floating wooden Hell. You worked all hours on a cramped, half-starved ship, and if you slacked off for a second, the all-powerful captain would whip you with the cat o’ nine tails. If you slacked consistently, you could be thrown overboard. And at the end of months or years of this, you were often cheated of your wages.

Pirates were the first people to rebel against this world. They mutinied against their tyrannical captains – and created a different way of working on the seas. Once they had a ship, the pirates elected their captains, and made all their decisions collectively. They shared their bounty out in what Rediker calls “one of the most egalitarian plans for the disposition of resources to be found anywhere in the 18th century.”

They even took in escaped African slaves and lived with them as equals. The pirates showed “quite clearly – and subversively – that ships did not have to be run in the brutal and oppressive ways of the merchant service and the Royal navy.” This is why they were popular, despite being unproductive thieves.

The words of one pirate from that lost age – a young British man called William Scott – should echo into this new age of piracy. Just before he was hanged in Charleston, South Carolina, he said: “What I did was to keep me from perishing. I was forced to go a-pirating to live.”

In 1991, the government of Somalia – in the Horn of Africa – collapsed. Its 9 million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and many of the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country’s food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the 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.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the U.N. envoy to Somalia, tells me: “Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it.” Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to “dispose” of cheaply. When I asked Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: “Nothing. There has been no cleanup, no compensation and no prevention.”

At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia’s seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish stocks by over-exploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300 million worth of tuna, shrimp, lobster and other sea life is being stolen every year by vast trawlers illegally sailing into Somalia’s unprotected seas.

The local fishermen have suddenly lost their livelihoods, and they are starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: “If nothing is done, there soon won’t be much fish left in our coastal waters.”

This is the context in which the men we are calling “pirates” have emerged. Everyone agrees they were ordinary Somalian fishermen who at first took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least wage a “tax” on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coast Guard of Somalia – and it’s not hard to see why.

In a surreal telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali, said their motive was “to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters … We don’t consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas.” William Scott would understand those words.

No, this doesn’t make hostage-taking justifiable, and yes, some are clearly just gangsters – especially those who have held up World Food Program supplies. But the “pirates” have the overwhelming support of the local population for a reason. The independent Somalian news site WardherNews conducted the best research we have into what ordinary Somalis are thinking – and it found 70 percent “strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defense of the country’s territorial waters.”

One of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali, said their motive was “to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters … We don’t consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas.”

During the revolutionary war in America, George Washington and America’s founding fathers paid pirates to protect America’s territorial waters, because they had no navy or coast guard of their own. Most Americans supported them. Is this so different?

Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our nuclear waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? We didn’t act on those crimes – but when some of the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit corridor for 20 percent of the world’s oil supply, we begin to shriek about “evil.” If we really want to deal with piracy, we need to stop its root cause – our crimes – before we send in the gunboats to root out Somalia’s criminals.

The story of the 2009 war on piracy was best summarized by another pirate, who lived and died in the fourth century BC. He was captured and brought to Alexander the Great, who demanded to know “what he meant by keeping possession of the sea.” The pirate smiled and responded: “What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you, who do it with a great fleet, are called emperor.”

Once again, our great imperial fleets sail in today – but who is the robber?

Johann Hari is a writer for the Independent newspaper. He has reported from Iraq, Israel/ Palestine, the Congo, the Central African Republic, Venezuela, Peru and the U.S., and his journalism has appeared in publications all over the world. To contact him, email johann@johannhari.com or visit his website at JohannHari.com. This column previously appeared in the Independent and Huffington Post, where the following postscript was added:

Postscript: Some commentators seem bemused by the fact that both toxic dumping and the theft of fish are happening in the same place – wouldn’t this make the fish contaminated? In fact, Somalia’s coastline is vast, stretching 3,300km (over 2,000 miles). Imagine how easy it would be – without any coast guard or army – to steal fish from Florida and dump nuclear waste on California, and you get the idea. These events are happening in different places but with the same horrible effect: death for the locals and stirred-up piracy. There’s no contradiction.

341 thoughts on “You are being lied to about pirates

  1. Tailgunner

    Ok…you’re right. We’re exploiting these poor oppressed third world people.

    So let’s leave the oil, diamonds, coal and gas in the ground, keep the garment factories and assembly facilities at home, and LEAVE THESE PEOPLE TO STARVE while their corrupt leaders send our foreign aid and benefit concert proceedings to Swiss bank accounts.

    Who do you think these companies are going to hire? The local population, of course.

    And they soon move out of their shacks, get running water and electricity, better health care, regular and better food, self-respect and less dependence on tinpot tyrants and bleeding heart liberals and won’t have to plunder shipping for a living.

    Even Obama’s brother might be able to afford three meals a day…instead of in a week.

    We agonize over 10% unemployment in the US. Over there, it’s closer to 75%.

    If there’s ANY ‘exploitation’, it’s by third world dictators who sell the labor of their own citizens and take a cut of every wage.

    I can hear a million Somalis crying out right now. You know what they’re crying?

    HEY LIBERALS, STFU!! WE WANT THESE JOBS!!

    What’s your view on the ‘maquiladores’ just inside the Mexican/US border? Are they not benefiting Mexicans who no longer need to risk their lives in the US deserts?

    And it’s obvious you have no idea what an ‘undereducated, alcoholic Marine’ has to know to do his job…aside from sheer courage.

    Every Marine must have a high school diploma or GED prior to entry and their training and technical schools are second to none.

    If I stipulate that Somalis have the ‘right’ to plunder the world’s shipping, it does not follow that the world must roll over and submit…especially the US.

    Would YOU submit to being robbed, for example twice a month, by a thug who thinks he has a legitimate claim to your money?

    (No? You just DID. Unless you voted for McCain.)

    Reply
  2. DerLange

    Some of the comments here are utterly amazing. a NUMBER of independent investigations into conditions in and around Somalia all conclude that the dumping of radioactive waste and over-fishing of the waters in the region complicate the already-difficult circumstances in that region. More to the point, however, is that Somalia itself – on land – is in a state of total collapse. The author of this commentary makes a very good point, and in going back to the history of piracy, does bring up material relevant to the issue.

    However, her recourse to history is incomplete. Last week I posed an article about how history tells us piracy itself should be fought (not the origins, just the actions):

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/History-Reveals-Piracy-Poi-by-DerLange-090416-150.html

    You have to read to the end of the story to get to some commentary that is a bit related to this article. Basically, history says send in the navy and shut down their refuges ashore. That sounds imperialistic, but is not.

    Obviously the overwhelming problems of East Africa must receive far more serious attention than they receive today. the racist right-wing commentators above do not understand that it IS in America’s national interest to do so. But their comments also show they don’t much care about history or anything else.

    Reply
  3. Tailgunner

    My last two posts showed more concern for third world people than anything you’ve showed in your entire miserable life.

    If you truly cared about these people, you wouldn’t drive away their only hope of earning a decent living vs existing from the crumbs that fall off some generalissimo’s table or alms from some pitiful group of aging musicians trying for a comeback.

    You insist on granting Somali pirates a moral sanction that most of them don’t claim for themselves.

    And if you had any brains you wouldn’t write an obviously well-researched post and then ruin it by calling people ‘racists’.

    That’s because everything else gets ignored.

    You can take ‘racist’ and stick it up there alongside your head, pal.

    And as far as ‘not caring about history’ we’re about to create another Depression by pursuing the same failed policies that caused the last one.

    Reply
  4. DerLange

    Hmm, Tailgunner. I addressed the broad range of comments accumulating – the people who deny that there are any problems for somalia caused by radioactive waste dumping, esploitation of natural resources while the nation is incapable of operating functionally, and of course those charming folk who think “nigger” helps communicate anything.

    Now that you decided to take me on directly, I took a look at your posts. If you REALLY yhink Somalis are getting good jobs, decent wages, a chance to hoist themselves up and so forth from the operations of foreign companies in that nation today, then you should be investing in businesses that are built on making profits from somalian consumer sales and the like. There’s an opportunity going begging right now!

    Truth is, somalia, the sudan, and a number of other African and Asian states are all failing. “Capitalism” in their cases is not operating at all. In many situations, a form of de facto fascism is at work – strongarms claiming the wealth for themselves and a small collation of other positioned to reap whatever benefits they can grab and use the population as slaves or worse.

    Ideology is utterly useless in dealing with these states. They don’t need anyone’s ideologies – they need long-term engagement that recycles the limited welath of their nations into rebuilding those countries, that separates warring parties and if necessary forcibly prevents further conflict, that works with the local peoples to rebuild their basic living environments and allows the local peoples to pursue courses of development that will sustain them. Right wingers in the U.S. consider such ideas “socialism,” which is utter hooey. Left wingers in the U.S. consider these same ideas a form of imperialism because this is an interventionist approach based on pragmatic principles. The left wingers’ take is also hooey.

    These are conditions that specifically exmplify why the United nati9ones was first established, and how the U.S. in fact worked for more than 10 years after WWII ended. As a practical matter, the U.N. is really unlikely to do much now. Oddly enough the people who could lead an international coalition to take effective action are the ones who run the International MOnetary Fund and the World Bank.

    Reply
  5. DerLange

    by the way, Tailgunner. Adopting Sen. Joe McCarthy’s political nickname really doesn’t help a lot. “Tailgunner Joe” was never a tailgunner, he lied about his service record, and he lied about Communists when he headed up his Senate committee. Joe McCarthy was simply an opportunist without principles.

    You might want to look for a different avatar.

    Reply
  6. Tailgunner

    My self image does not depend on your approval.

    My screen name ‘Tailgunner’ has nothing to do with Joe McCarthy or politics. (Incidentally, KGB files released after the fall of the former Soviet empire proved McCarthy was rightly concerned about Soviet espionage and infiltration in the US.)

    And the subject at hand is Somali piracy and how to stop it, not nuclear dumping, or illegal fishing, or a failed state.

    You didn’t ‘look’ too hard at my posts. I said nothing about Somalis ‘getting good jobs’.

    ‘”Capitalism” in their cases is not operating at all. In many situations, a form of de facto fascism is at work – strongarms claiming the wealth for themselves and a small collation of other positioned to reap whatever benefits they can grab and use the population as slaves or worse.’

    So the problem is NOT ‘capitalism’, it’s the prevention or unequal distribution of capitalism by LOCAL tyrants or warlords.

    “Ideology is utterly useless in dealing with these states. They don’t need anyone’s ideologies – they need long-term engagement that recycles the limited welath (sic) of their nations into rebuilding those countries, that separates warring parties and if necessary forcibly prevents further conflict, that works with the local peoples to rebuild their basic living environments and allows the local peoples to pursue courses of development that will sustain them.”

    Sounds like there’s a heavy dose of capitalism in there to me.

    And who do you expect to ‘separate warring parties’ and ‘forcibly prevent further conflict’?

    Someone’s going to have to (gasp) invade that country. Course if WE do it, it’s ‘imperialism’.

    What country meets your ideological standards to go in there and restore order?

    How many divisions do the IMF and World Bank have?

    And you’ve certainly got a lot of nerve preaching about being an ‘opportunist without principles’. Try reading Rahm Emanuel sometime (‘never let a crisis got to waste….you can accomplish a lot more than you think’)

    And Obama is the consummate opportunist…using a Democrat-precipitated economic crisis to hysterically ram through a socialist economic coup without the slightest concern for the present or future health of the economy.

    Reply
  7. Navigator

    you don’t think that warlords and tinpot dictators are part and parcel of globalized corporations plans for Africa or South Asia or the Middle East. The reason that these warlords are installed and sponsored by industrial countries is that they squander profits from minerals on arms and when they don’t, the bored, hyper-masculine, alcoholics are called in to take them out because they have been labelled ‘socialist’ or ‘communist’ for nationalizing their minerals industries and developing infrastructure for their country: it’s a pattern that has repeated itself dozens of times. the same thing happened in the u.s. coal industry, to list one example, in the 20′s, 30′s, 40′s when miners tried to organize for fair pay and safe working conditions mercenaries murdered them and terrorized their communities by dropping bombs. do you think obama or any of the bushes care about the courage a marine has to go into iraq or afghanistan? no soldiers are disposable even kissinger admitted that. additionally what’s the difference between a marine going to iraq to earn pay to support his/her family or gain education, a somali hijacking a ship to feed his/her family, or a drug dealer in the states running from the cops to get money to his children? there really isn’t a difference: they are all victims of receding educational and job opportunities brought on by government sponsorship of a wasteful, inefficient corporate order. additionally the conditions for a socialist coup were initiated by Bush 43 and really even earlier: huge giveaways to companies who failed because of bad lending inspired by rollbacks of new deal legislation. in fact socialist countries in central europe and scandinavia are doing quite well right now

    Reply
  8. Navigator

    maquiladoras and “economic protection zones” or free trade zones are part of austerity policies and imf reform measures enforced on countries at the end of a u.s. issued m-16 or by an international banking group that is more than happy to wine and dine the families of the elites with the knowledge that wealth won’t be shared. the leaders of somalia, ethiopia, iraq, congo, sudan aren’t democratically elected; neither was hitler or bush. however they gain the ability to seize control with the funds and logistical support of industry that have an interest in monopolizing the mineral wealth or seafood surplus or unregulated coastline, etc. of said country. tailgunner say this with me: i am not a unique or beautiful snowflake, our opinions ultimately don’t matter, i am part of the same decaying compost heap as a somali ship hijacker or iraqi insurgent. perhaps humility will help you overcome your angry egocentric and highly prejudicial psychopathology.

    Reply
  9. Navigator

    also what exactly about mccains platform or political history makes him any different than obama or bush. policy wouldn’t really look that much different if mccain would have won: huge giveaways to aig and banks with no oversight. it’s funny how one could advocate grassroots wealth distribution and rail against the business and government elites of a foreign country while worshipping the ground and eating every little lie put forth by government and their government lackies here. the author and reactionaries on this forum are concluding the same thing that people deserve a fair shot and shouldn’t be screwed over by government but for some reason no one can come to the conclusion that corporate political parties and their submissive military are the root of the problem. it’s because we all have certain blindnesses in the way we see the world. some can’t admit that international business has used our country as a front to rape and pillage individuals of other countries and others are just so happy that the nightmare of the last eight years is over they can’t see that obama is just a logical extension of dubya’s policies. that his highminded platitudes for change are just marginal amendments to policy while continuing the systemic imperialism of the system, and both sides would rather use this forum as an outlet of their anger at their consumerist despiritualized simulated commercial for a life than a way to find common ground. It really aint nuthin new

    Reply
  10. Tailgunner

    Go to hell. My opinion matters.

    And don’t transfer your ‘psychopathology’ to me. I’m not the one performing leaps of logic trying to blame all the evils in the world on US imperialism.

    I think you majored in British Empire 101 with a minor of Gunboat Diplomacy. Well, that ended nearly a hundred years ago. Since then both Britain and the US have been in a race to see who can give away the most possessions. (The US is behind at the moment since most of our possessions don’t WANT to be independent.)

    The only country I’m aware of which is engaging in raw economic warfare is China, in the Spratley Islands which belong to the Philippines, and off the coast of Cuba, where they are drilling in areas placed off limits for US oil exploration by Democrats.

    And of course the Somali pirates, who somehow always emerge from their predations as blameless victims in the warped minds of pathetic, self-loathing, guilt-ridden, indoctrinated anti-American navel-gazers like yourself.

    Where’s all the wealth that we’re exploiting from Somalia with the help of ‘industrialized countries’ who have ‘installed and supported’ these warlords? Hm?

    Not much return on their investment so far, hey?

    Why don’t you come down from YOUR high horse and spend a week with those ‘decaying compost heaps’ who are right now FIRING on ships…but of course just to get money to clean up the oceans and feed their families.

    It’s easy for you to opine when you’re halfway around the world from merchant seaman, who ALSO are trying to feed THEIR families, knowing you’ll never have to face the evil you’re defending.

    And Iraq, to name another alleged victim of Western imperialism, is now a functioning, albeit imperfect, representative republic. Where’s all the oil we’re supposed to be ‘looting’ from Iraq? In fact we’re the ones being looted since the Iraqi government has set a floor on the price of oil sold to the US.

    Did you just say that US miners organizing in the twenties-forties were bombed by mercenaries?

    Most likely you meant overseas. Well, then, again it was local leaders who either carried out or authorized these raids; yet once again you blame corporations for the actions of local tyrants.

    And ‘maquiladores’ et al were instituted by agreements between countries, e.g. NAFTA; the idea they were pushed to adopt them at the ‘end of an M-16′ is ludicrous. Where are the ‘M-16′s’ that force these people to go to work each day? Are they, as you imply, slaves?

    And the idea that European socialism is doing quite well is a lie. In healthcare alone they are experiencing a disaster in the making. Thousands die on waiting lists that may be several months or even years for care that the US provides within days…or minutes.

    Keep your ‘kumbaya’ bullshit for someone who’ll swallow it.

    Reply
  11. cracker_jack

    fuck all these nigger cunts, dirty robbing scum bags.
    i hope all the robbing niggers are shot dead !

    Reply
  12. alexb123

    who in the hell cares about a 3rd world country. they thought they had balls coming on the ship until the us navy had 6 warships firmly planted up their asses. fuck those 3rd world niggers and all that bullshit article above. theres always someone trying to say that something is corrupt like that fucking pussy who rote the article

    Reply
  13. DerLange

    In general, I think debating with Tailgunner is a waste of time. His extremist laissez-faire ideology combined with a let’s-have-a-fight at the bar hostility do not admit to discussion, just bottle-throwing.

    I’m back here now simply to address a question he rasied that has now been batted back and forth a couple of times and should get a bit of discussion. I don’t particularly care what either Tailgunner, Navigator, or anyone else has had to say about maquiladoras – I do care about those “free trade zone” factories and the utter havoc they have and are causing.

    the “maquiladora” system is in fact a tool of economic oppression. Ostensibly created to give jobs to Mexicans who otherwise would do without, stimulated development in mexico, and provide North American markets with goods produced at low, competitive prices, they are in fact vile cesspits, sources of incredible pollution, and a re-creation of the old “company town” once common in the U.S. during the late Industrial Period.

    I taught in Mexico at one time and saw first-hand the evils of what was supposed to be the fruit of enlightened free-market capitalism at work. “Maquiladoras” indeed attract people from all over Mexico. They employ workers at exceptionally low wages, with no benefits or social protections of any kind, for up to 90 days. At that point under Mexican law, the factories must then either give those people permanent jobs with benefits or teminate them. Guess what happens?

    Yep, 90 days on the job and you are OUT!

    The communities where the facotry workers live are desperate slums, often in riverbeds and flood plains, with housing of mud, grass, tarpaper and carboard. Ther are no sewers, municipal water, streets to speak of, or anything else. The facotry owners do provide some access to goods and services, at prices the workers can hardly afford, or on “loan” that eats up their paychecks while they are employed.

    In many cases, the workers simply rotate eveyr 90 days between different facilities. There’s also a minimum period between hrings by factories so that folk aren’t fired one day and re-hired the next.

    The plants themselves have virtually no pollution control or other environmental requirements. The plants are horrible places to work, the air, land and waer around them is poisonous, and the conditions worse than almost anywhere on Earth.

    Of course people still go there. So do the miners in the Andes who literally work themselves to death in a short time because at least they have some work. So do the little girls (and boys) in the infamous brothels of Thailand and the Philippines.

    These are the conditions that demand if not government intervention then organization by the workers themselves to impose chane. History shows it over and over, this is hardly a new story. Labor conditions in the U.S. were vile until unions first forced change and then eventually government saw the benefits of regulating the workplace. “Free market” advocates are frankly full of crap.

    The expriment with NAFTA is a huge failure of policy. The maquiladoras are only one example why.

    Reply
  14. steveo

    what makes u think that people living on the earth and in mud huts dont have self respect,,oh i see cos their not working like slaves for the yanky doller after all everyone nows the yanky doller deserves respect,god if thats what u think that u need to work to have self respect then u really are one of thr original american puppet people go back to voting and reading the media and ure normal white life believeing u are somehow superoir to the rest of the world who do in fact ahave a different way of looking at things ..god civilisation really is wank

    Reply
  15. DerLange

    Steveo, you need to read the post again. There’s nothing in it degrading the determined, hard-working people who must endure difficult conditions of life. I already made the point you are attempting to address.

    Reply
  16. steveo

    their u have it..theres nothing to degrade the hard working,as if somehow people that work are like the holy of the new world,,do u not realise how destructive work is, not only to different cultures but to the enviroment peoples health and their ability to be happy…the only thing more destructive than work is war…god some people really do have the western system firmly emplanted in their,brainwashed minds…..point 2 how come its wrong for warlords to fight each other but its fine for the yanky army to fight the warlords,,at least warlords have a fair fighty against each other,,but against the american army the,most heavily armed bunch of cowards on the planet…and if u think ure brave then go onshore without the army as ure back up after all ure enemy only has its wits and a few peaces of light artilliary…i dont agree with war in any of its shapes or forms but to think u can invade a country with an army at gunpoint is exactly the same as local tribes fighting each other,,except the tribes dont stand a chance against the yanky war machine….so fuck off america stop behaving like u rule the world and somehow have a rightous way of going to war against tyranny when u are the tyrant inso many countrys….god youll be selling them crack next to enslave them to yanky doller…

    Reply
  17. Salaam Alaikum

    US Peacekeepers were in Somalia for some time and in force not with ‘guns blazing’ but protecting stocks of food and other goods earmarked for starving,dying Somalis (that were being stolen by gunmen)before the force was drastically reduced and the Somalis took advantage of the reduction-Now someone please explain since the US is so unspeakably corrupt and evil and obviously hates Muslims why US troops are in Kosovo right now protecting Muslim Alabanians from Christian Serbs-Why are the overwhelming majority of US Military missions in Iraq Humanitarian in nature?Thats just not sexy enough,is it?

    And please,Commenters,specify If you have ever actually BEEN to Somalia or Kosovo or Iraq,or anywhere at all,for that matter.

    Reply
  18. steveo

    you really do believe that sending an army into war with a country is humanitarian..apparently their isnt a building in baghdad that hasnt been bombed..oh u mean that their going to put in a democratic western style capatalist system where guess what they can vote for people put forward by the yanks that do what the yanks say like puppet people…oh yeah blow shit out of a country then offer it humanitarian aid gosh u americans are so kind why didnt adolf hitler think of that it would have been good pr,,oh yeah i forgot hes not a many headed beast like bush obama and the rest of u fucked up thick as shit twats

    Reply
  19. AKBER A. KASSAM.

    Dear readers/friends,

    I don’t want to into hypotetically. But I can say this: Obviously Somalia cannot control the activities of criminals on shore or in boats threatening the shipping lanes. A proactive policy to intercept and capture or kill these pirates would send a clear message to other would-be pirates: Risk of death if you try this. Costs for protection to be assessed to each country under whose flag the vessel is regisrered. Ship owners would also be assessed based on tonnage.

    The United States can lead this effort and enlist logistical support from other nations. We have the technology; Let’s use it.

    Reply
  20. Raffiq

    I am no way condoning the action of the pirates, west are no innocent at all, what were they doing in Somalia in the first place and overtaking their shores. And they are calling Amreicans hostages heroesa nd stars- that is what American liked to be called to me they are craz people. Amreicans are the greatest thieves, thugs and liars that I have ever seen or heard ni my entire life and they are also the real terrorist- terrorising into people territories.

    Americans still have their heads up their ass because they believe what their media conveys to them since the Black Hawk happened and the Americans were embarrased against impoverished and war torn country, their more to what meets the eye, somalia doesn’t have a form of government and this so called pirates are defending their and guarding their shores and coastlines and any one masquarading should be ransomed(taxed) for stealing Somalis natural resources and if not complying then be ready for the worst to happened!!!! And Ihave learnt that Geneva convention and the Amnesty Internationals are the wives of the West.

    Reply
  21. AKBER A. KASSAM.

    Dear friend Raffiq. As I said before that I don’t want to go into hypotetically on this issue, but if this is fact what you are saying then they put their case through United Nations security council. Thanks.

    Reply
  22. whocares

    Its Somalia, do you really give a sh*t if these people live or die? Either we can kill them, they will starve or they will kill each other.

    Reply
  23. AKBER A. KASSAM.

    Dear friends,
    Raffiq,

    With all due respect, I don’t think that you guys will advanced to your goel nor your Somali government. The best thing to start is that you have to go through proper authority, or through our President Barack Obama.

    Change will not come if you guys wait for some other person or some other time, you are the one you’ve been waiting for. YOU ARE THE CHANGE THAT YOU SEEK.

    Reply
  24. Dirtyjew

    Well guys this article was interesting. In my opinion, I really believe that commercial ships are going to Somalia to fish the sea dry. I really believe the Somalians are hurting because fishing is their livelyhood. On the other hand, I’m not sure if I believe the story about them dumping nuclear waste. There has to be more solid evidence for me to believe that. If they were dumping waste there, it would be because European countries don’t want to dump it in their backyard and contaminate their own waters. Since Somalia borders are not regulated, this would be the best solution instead of dumping it underground on their own soil or in their own waters (dumping it in deep water will still require them to travel a long distance and the containers would have to be strong enough to handle the psi pressure at those depths). You know the propaganda never tells the full story, so what story should you believe? I think you should go look at the full spectrum before making that decision and hopefully you have gathered the most information you can.

    Reply
  25. John

    To dirtyJew… Your comment about their waters being fished out MAY be correct but the issue is not the capture of fishing ships but the capture of world commerce that has a right to pass through that area. Somalians for someone who has been there and seen them first hand are their own worst enemies. No one does more environmental damage to their coastline and waters than they do, no one over fishes that area and does so without concern for the next year’s harvest than they do.

    Before any of these claims about what others are doing to Somalia can garner any credibility the Somalians first have to stop their criminal actions. We can’t expect people to respect the waters and land there if we continue to ignore the horrible things they do in that area. A country rightfully should be the steward for their country before anyone else is expected to do the same.

    I see many comments here that are really nothing more than pipe dreams, wishful thinking and misplaced blame.

    The simple fact is that possible nuke waste disposal in that area is wrong but it is a different topic. The Somalians should not and cannot be allowed to illegally take what is not theirs, to put other’s lives at risk and to continue to behave in this way.

    As adults people have to stop this well the US or France or country XYZ does this and that so the Somalians are doing this and that in return.

    I do not think many of you (including the author of the article) even remotely understand the situation there. They are a people living in anarchy. They have no government no law no recourse for the thousands of people they victimize in their own country each year.

    The criminal actions of Somalians have to be stopped and they will eventually be stopped. And hopefully anyone else in the area committing crimes including any US companies can and should also be brought to justice.

    They are not Robin Hood and his merry men they are animals that do great harm to others passing through and even worse things to their own people.

    Africa is a continent still full of amazing natural resources. Unfortunately Africans are the biggest abusers of those resources and they aren’t even really benefitting. just small pockets of corrupt local officials and the people are the ones suffering.

    People typically only know that Nigeria is a place full of fraudsters but there are people in Lagos and Abuja and the surrounding areas that are kind, loving, wonderful people. the same goes for every country within Africa that I have gone to for work. Africa is a sad story… Even sadder is the relatively small amount of locals there that are tearing that country apart with corruption and brutal dictators. Hell slavery is still RAMPANT in Africa.

    Authors like the one who wrote this story would be serving the good people of Africa much more were they to do stories about the truth of Africa, their corrupt dictators, tribal hatred, slavery where Blacks sell Blacks to other Blacks.

    Wanna help that amazing place? Start telling the truth about how Africans in the various countries there are tearing the very soul out of the land and people. I can think of no other continent that harbors so many destructive, animalistic, corrupt leaders and citizens.

    Africa is amazing, truly, we do not serve her well by ignoring what its own residents are doing there.

    Reply
  26. Jeanine Bezinque

    Wow after reading all this….I ralize I am a very peaceful individual and halfway normal…this was some interesting ,hateful racist,argumentative,political bashing stuff. Peace to you all . And yes I am sure I will get the wrath of fury for saying even thar/that. :)

    Reply
  27. Tony

    I empathize with the Somalian people. Governments, were installed by humans…not lower class animals, as we humans, are the highest class of animals! The U.S.A has a vendetta with vindictive malice!,against Somalia…when their soldiers were being hauled dead along the streets.
    Those issues of toxic dumping should be addressed by the U.N & also the U.S. Those nefarious acts are just not right!,& just not fair; to exploit people that have a weak political directorate. When people rebel, they call them terrorist. Why we have so much Muslim extremism…is because of Israel’s abuse of the Palestinians. The U.S & the European union”s bias involvement for over 60 years.

    Reply
  28. Akber Kassam,

    You are uneducated person and racists, Please don’t come back, we have important issues to discussed. Thanks.

    Reply
  29. stevo

    dont think their is any mulim extremism except on the telly, ive never come across any or met any other than the totally fictisous made up propoganda on the televisions organised war,, after all have u ever met a muslim extremist,,,,and if they can lie about war , they can lie about somalia, they can lie about anything….

    Reply
  30. Vinette

    Hey! Sophomore in high school here!! I’m looking for information FOR MY DEBATE CLASS! LET”S KEEP LANGUAGE AND COMMENTS CLEAN SO I CAN BE PROUD OF MY RESEARCH!!! IF I CITE THIS SOURCE MY COACHES, JUDGES, AND COMPETITORS MIGHT LOOK IT UP AND I WILL LOOK BAD FOR USING IT AS A SOURCE!!!

    Reply
  31. Chris

    I hope they dump some of the toxic waste on to some of US and western countries coasts’ so we get an idea of what its like to be African. The exploitation, imperialism and propaganda by the west toward the pirates is terrible. I could keep going on with this liberal bullshit. I question the sources of information. Vinette don’t worry about using this as a source. Remember the liberal education system will probably love this shit.

    Reply
  32. WP

    The pirates are hi-jacking these ships in international waters, and kidnapping innocent people for long periods of time. Both of those are wrong, and illegal. If any other country did that war would’ve been started. Stop using your skin color as a defense, not every caucasian is racist.

    Reply
  33. Gideon's Trumpet

    Stop fighting with each other, take a small amount of time to investigate the Somalian Pirates and their armament, note the overwhelming adversaries they face as in combined forces, and then ask yourself; What the hell is really going on in the Gulf of Aden? Far more than is being reported is the likely answer. Nearly every major country in the world is heavily involved. How many times over could they have beaten Somalia into submission? They’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Something huge is in the works over there.

    Reply
  34. Umre Fiyatları

    It's alright saying "why would they dump waste in Somalian waters?" and "it can't be happening because in my opinion it doesn't make sense"! It is happening, and the west aren't the good guys and Africa the bad guys. When there's an article like this that states facts, a bit of US or UK patriotism doesn't reverse the facts.

    Whilst piracy is always wrong, the causes of it by the west can be just as evil, maybe more so.

    The west does plenty of bad stuff behind the scenes – and some in public – for it's own interests.

    The countries that claim to be the most 'Christian' need to look at what the word means, read what Jesus told his people to do & start doing it. Then the world would change for the better. "Feed the poor, clothe the hungry etc". That's not complicated really, but we are too selfish.

    The thing is, life is much better when we look out for the needs of others. Not just for 'them', but for 'us' as well.

    Reply

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