africa / news / Opinion / Politics

Somali Piracy: When the poor (and abused) fight back.

by Nelima

Love ’em or hate ’em, the Somali pirates got guts and now your attention. Now I am in now way condoning what they are doing, but I think that the American media has sensationalized this issue that the history of how this came to be is completely lost. There’s pressure to come up with a solution, but without careful consideration of the underlying factors, Africans will again be the losers.

History of Somali Piracy:

  • It is widely known that Western countries have for decades dumped toxic waste (including nuclear – radioactive uranium -waste) off the coast of Somalia. Some speculate that this started after the collapse of Siad Barre’s regime in1991 others say it started before. (The likes of Lawrence Summers?) UNEP, whose head quarters are in neighbouring Kenya, knew of the problem but said that the area was too insecure to do any research. Read this interesting article.
  • The collapsed government also prompted illegal fishing by European, Asian and Middle Eastern firms as the Gulf of Aden is widely regarded as a rich fishing ground. In the face of the lack of patrol ships, it is the current day pirates who acted as coast guards. Read another article.
  • As to how these coast guards became pirates is up for debate, perhaps they were fed up, could be greed, or they became organized and just took it to the next level. Whatever the case – here were are with 33 ships hijacked and $33 million paid out to pirates in the Somali waters over the past 6 months. Funny how the world wasn’t concerned when the non-Africans were the ones illegally making money (or deals) off the Somali seas.

Found this interesting link, piracy isn’t just for Somali’s apparently Cameroonians and Nigerians have their own thing going on too :-0  Weekly Piracy Report Nov 11th -17th.

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10 thoughts on “Somali Piracy: When the poor (and abused) fight back.

  1. Thanks Nelima, if only American media would give such a view then we wouldn’t have ignorant comments from people like rjjrdq. I’ll start visiting Al Jazeera more often.

  2. Thanks people. Flora Al Jazeera is a great website for news. Its like they’re always routing for the underdog 🙂

    @rjjdq I am no expert on Somalian history, but here’s the little I know. The Somali civil war started around 1988 as a revolt against the regime of Siad Barre, which was said to be extremely repressive. He was ousted in 1991, by northern and southern clan forces who were supported by Ethiopia . Barre’s government is accused of being responsible of the animosity among Somali clans. Shortly after Barre’s ousting, many parts of Somalia claimed autonomy (e.g Somaliland, Puntland and Jubaland). The country was run by rival tribes for decades. The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of the Somali Republic, which was set up in Nov 2004, is the present day internationally recognized govt of Somalia. It had little power until the Ethiopian invasion of 2006. It is currently backed by the US, Ethiopia and the UN. Current Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein was selected on Nov 2007 to lead the cabinet.

  3. Nelima, Enough with this political correctness stuff! Why does everybody try so hard not to hurt other’s feelings when they want to give their opinions? What’s the point in having an intellectual argument when we hold back our true sentiments?

    I, and you can quote me, condone and support the Somali “Strong Men of the Sea” (I don’t call them pirates) (you wanna see pirates, go watch Johnny Depp and those other idiots on the big screen)!
    These guys have defied all odds, defied all of the so-called “super powers of the air, land and sea, and still continue to carry out their mission. The Western media uses big names and titles to impress and scare us! Check this- After the first few “take-overs”, they announced that the the US Navy will be sending over the great battleship “USS-Superman” or something, to go and patrol the area. The ship, with all its technological might, all its firing power, went over there and the very next week, under its very nose, my guys struck again and took over another vessel. If any of you reading this does not think that is a mighty mighty feat, then I think you’ve been watching too much TV (the wrong channels too)
    You must respect these people! You must!

    I see someone up there, rjjdq, praying that they get smashed. I wonder if he/she has figured out who he/she wants to smash these strong men and why that “person” should be the one to smash them.

  4. Cyril, I think the Cameroonian “Strong Men of the Sea” could do with a man of your passion. There seems to be some ‘piracy’ activity in your area too. Check out the ‘Weekly Piracy Report’ link at the end of the article.

  5. Nelima, that stuff in Cameroon is all hogwash! If those so-called pirates in Cameroon in Cameroon should meet these my Somalian brethren, they’ll sh** in their pants!

    Hey, did you see they struck again today?? Sweeeeet!!!

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