Is there more to the pirate story?

April 13, 2009 at 3:17 pm Leave a comment

No one would have thought that one of the big news stories in April would have been focused on pirates. But I found this really interesting perspective on the pirate situation here.

But according to this blog post:
…behind the arrr-me-hearties oddness of this tale, there is an untold scandal. The people our governments are labeling as “one of the great menaces of our times” have an extraordinary story to tell – and some justice on their side.

And the actual stereotype of pirates is false:
Pirates were the first people to rebel against this world. They mutinied against their tyrannical captains – and created a different way of working on the seas. Once they had a ship, the pirates elected their captains, and made all their decisions collectively. They shared their bounty out in what Rediker calls “one of the most egalitarian plans for the disposition of resources to be found anywhere in the 18th century.”

They even took in escaped African slaves and lived with them as equals. The pirates showed “quite clearly – and subversively – that ships did not have to be run in the brutal and oppressive ways of the merchant service and the Royal navy.” This is why they were popular, despite being unproductive thieves.

It seems as if the so-called pirates emerged because the Europeans were taking all the seafood in Somalia’s ocean, destroying the livelihood of fisherman. Another reason is because of all the nuclear waste being dumped on Somalia’s coasts.

And as for the actual pirates:
Everyone agrees they were ordinary Somalian fishermen who at first took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least wage a “tax” on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coast Guard of Somalia – and it’s not hard to see why.

In a surreal telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali, said their motive was “to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters … We don’t consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas.” William Scott would understand those words.

… Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our nuclear waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? We didn’t act on those crimes – but when some of the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit corridor for 20 percent of the world’s oil supply, we begin to shriek about “evil.” If we really want to deal with piracy, we need to stop its root cause – our crimes – before we send in the gunboats to root out Somalia’s criminals.

Very interesting. Actually, I think if the same thing happened to America, we might have a full-blown war; not just some pirate ships taking action.

Update: I believe this is the original source of this article: http://www.sfbayview.com/2009/you-are-being-lied-to-about-pirates/

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