President Barack Obama has been riding the coat-tails of his military/political victory over the so-called “scourge of the seas off the Horn of Africa” – but is the United States the real pirate? For those of you who have been watching CNN, MSNBC or Fox News, most of the coverage on the Somalian Piracy crisis will read like the following quote:
In a daring high-seas rescue, U.S. Navy SEAL snipers killed three Somali pirates and freed the American sea captain who had offered himself as a hostage to save his crew. The operation was a victory for the world’s most powerful military but angry pirates vowed Monday to retaliate (MSNBC).
The United States media has only provided one side of the story. Consider these accounts from two non-American sources – one is a Somali-Canadian poet, rapper and musician called K’naan. In his article, entitled Why We Don’t Condemn Our Pirates in Somalia , he says (among other things) “one man’s pirate is another man’s coast guard.” British writer Johann Hari (over at The Independent), expressed his discontent with American journalism in an article entitled You Are Being Lied to About Pirates. Check out these quotes from each article:
It is time that the world gave the Somali people some assurance that these Western illegal activities will end, if our pirates are to seize their operations. We do not want the EU and NATO serving as a shield for these nuclear waste-dumping hoodlums. It seems to me that this new modern crisis is a question of justice, but also a question of whose justice. As is apparent these days, one man’s pirate is another man’s coast guard (read entire article here).
Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our toxic waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? We won’t act on those crimes – the only sane solution to this problem – but when some of the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit-corridor for 20 per cent of the world’s oil supply, we swiftly send in the gunboats (read entire article here).
I am not condoning violence against Captain Richard Phillips and his crew, I only want to contextualize the intentions of some justified African pirates. The Boston Tea Party could once have been considered a random act of piracy and vandalism against the British Government. However, many Americans praised the illegal actions of their Massachusetts brethren, like many Somalians (such as K’naan) support the actions of Somali pirates. The Tea Party was the culmination of a grassroots resistance movement against oppression from foreign powers. Many pirates follow the same ideological justification for their actions. Thoughts?