The Truth About Somali Pirates

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Somali Pirates Audio Report

I’m ashamed to say that I took the media reports about the Somali pirates at face value. I should know better and was fairly shocked to discover the truth. Above is a podcast by Johann Hari discussing the pirates. Turns out that we have been misled. Listen to this podcast and let me know what your thoughts are. It starts with a short music interlude. 

I find Johann to be an awesome example of someone who “speaks truth to power.” He writes for The Nation and the UK publication The Independent. If you aren’t familiar with him, I highly recommend checking out his free itunes podcasts and some videos at youtube. He is definitely a strong progressive voice and I look forward to each of his podcast releases.

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  3 Responses to “The Truth About Somali Pirates”

  1. Well I guess it firstly depends on exactly how much of his reasons justifying the piracy you believe. His sources, Somalians in the main, are a little suspect. Somalia has been a ‘failed nation’ in utter chaos, for well over a decade. The piracy has existed for just as long, if not longer. If his comments about the dumping of toxic waste are true, I find it inconceivable that the many anti-western media sources have not made a huge issue of this during this long period of time. Unless, of course, the dumping is a very recent event – long, long after the piracy started and so cannot be used as justification for the original acts. As to the poaching of fish, I am sure this does happen – it happens everywhere else in the world where there is no navy to patrol the local coastline. But whose fault is the lack of a Somalian navy?

    Maybe it comes down to how much sympathy we should have with the Somali people. Their problems are largely of their own making, unlike, say, Afghanistan who were invaded by the Russians and later the Americans, or Iraq invaded by the Americans. Somalias problems are largely civil/tribal/religious.

    It is true that you don’t know what you are capable of, until you do not have the ability to put food on the table for your children.
    However, this reason is put forward to justify massacres, rapes, murders and wholesale destruction as well as piracy, extortion, theft, etc., and wears a bit thin.

    • I know you’re not suggesting that lack of enforcement (no standing navy) makes the crime OK? Hari makes it clear that nothing justifies the taking of hostages, etc. His point is simply that things aren’t so cut and dried as we have been led to believe. As far as the dumping of toxic waste, I find it entirely plausible in light of the fact that much of the heavy metal waste produced by US electronics disposal finds its way to open dumps in China. There seems little doubt, were a big corporation to find a cheaper way to dispose of their waste, such as using the Italian mafia that they would. Especially as it allows them the ability to claim ignorance of what was done with the crap.

      I know you are much better versed on African politics than I but I find it hard to believe that subsistence coastal fishermen have much to do with the chaos that Somalia finds itself in.

      • You write: “….but I find it hard to believe that subsistence coastal fishermen have much to do with the chaos that Somalia finds itself in.”

        But perhaps the subsistence coastal fishermen are that way because of the self-inflicted Somali chaos.