Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Somali Pirates

When you have nothing and life is bleak with no prospects of a decent living; when you need to feed your family or even to have some hope of personal survival and a future; when you come from a “living-off-the-sea” heritage and all your historic fishing spots have been depleted by the large international commercial fishing conglomerates from China, Japan and India; when your elders and government are mired in tribal sectarianism, ancient histories of mistrust and graft of their own and anarchy prevails, what do you do?

You become a pirate!

The leaders, the elders, the powerful in Somalia continue to choose war and fighting over cooperation, communication and common sense for the survival of their people.

Many of these Somali pirates are youngsters who are taught to be criminals. It is unnatural and sad when fourteen and sixteen year olds only see a future through extortion and the sites of an AK-47 or an RPG.

Millions in ransom monies are paid to get personnel, cargo and ships back into service. Where does the money go? Here’s the probable breakdown.

30% goes to the elders to sustain and support graft and piracy. 30% goes to re-arm with weapons and ammunition and maintain boats. 30% goes to the pirates themselves to support families and self. The remaining 10% gets lost in middleman fees for ransom negotiations. Altruism does not exist in international clandestine negotiations.

Considering all of what’s wrong in Somalia, a concluding truth is - you don’t have to be in a boat to be a pirate.

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