14 April 2009

Piracy in Somalia

Okay, so, about these Somali pirates. Of course taking hostages is wrong. Of course killing hostages is wrong. Of course all of this.


There have been two articles in the last 24 hours that have both been about the Somali piracy problem, and both urge us to dig deeper into the social causes of the piracy. The first article outlines some of the social problems in Somalia (no functioning government), the ramifications of those problems (no one to prevent European nations from dumping their nuclear waste off the coast of Somalia), and how piracy provides a bit of a solution (both by making the waters less appealing for foreign ships and by creating press to draw attention to these issues).

The second article, by a Somali musician named K'naan, says the same kind of thing, but more anecdotally. K'naan talks about the benefits that piracy brings to Somalia, and while he doesn't make any apologies for the pirates or their practices, he does point out why many Somalis won't outright condemn the pirates.

Like most stories out there, the Somali piracy story has two sides, one of which gets more press than the other. Now, I'm glad that our American captain is safe, and I couldn't condone any sort of violence (to anyone, not just Americans), but truly, isn't a little revolution now and then a good thing? It seems to me that just over 200 years ago, a group of disgruntled colonists rose up to fight off an imperial power, and that seemed to work out pretty well for us.

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