The recent shrill cry from the corporate media for Somali blood has moved me to put a few points of reason into writing. I am referring to the recent condemnations of the so-called "Somali Pirates" that have been appearing in the press.
The first important point to consider is that the "ransom"* money that the Somali Pirates are collecting is supporting impoverished Somali communities and feeding malnourished children. For these impoverished people, their government and the international community has allowed them to go starving, but the "pirates" provide for their needs by redistributing some of the wealth from those who have too much to those who have too little and no time to wait.
The second important point to keep in mind is that for some time the illegal dumping of toxic waste by the international shipping companies has wreaked havoc on the ocean and the Somali shores without resistance. Again, no government, no corporation, and not the collective efforts of the international community prevented this ecological catastrophe. The Pirates, at least in come cases, have prevented some of these would be pollutants from entering the water by taking matters into their own hands.
When deciding for ourselves whether the Pirates should be considered the scourge of the sea or courageous defenders of the planet and impoverished people, we should consider the stakes at hand: the profits of mega-corporations on one side, human suffering and the health of the planet on the other.
Which side are you on?
* A small aside: the reason that I put the word "ransom" in quotation marks above is because the word "ransom" is not an objective word - it is loaded with a presumption of criminality. For example, when someone is put in jail, the newspapers don't report that the police "kidnapped" someone and are asking for a "ransom" to secure the individual's release. Instead, most newspapers will read that a criminal of some sort was "arrested" and a "bail" was set. I am asking the reader to consider this situation objectively, both from the point of view of a starving Somali child as well as from your own point of view.