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In Support of the So-Called “Somali Pirates”

why i don't trust the media when they say how bad the Somali Pirates are.
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.

Is this written locally? 21.Dec.2008 02:13


Was this written in Portland?

YEP! 21.Dec.2008 07:46


Them Somali pirates are just a bunch of good-ole-boys.

Spanish Translation 22.Dec.2008 08:43

Puerto Rico IMC la.pifia@gmail.com

En apoyo a los llamados Piratas de Somalia

Por qué no les creo a los medios corporativos cuando hablan de lo malos que son los Piratas de Somalia.

El grito en el cielo que han puesto recientemente los medios corporativos pidiendo sangre somalí me ha llevado a tomar nota sobre ciertos razonamientos. Me refiero a las recientes acusaciones de la Prensa a los tan llamados Piratas de Somalia.

El primer punto importante a considerar es que el dinero de "recompensa"* que los Piratas de Somalia cobran está apoyando a comunidades enpobrecidas de Somalia y alimentando niños malnutridos. Para esta gente pobre, el gobierno y la comunidad internacional ha permitido que se mueran de hambre, pero los piratas proveen para sus necesidades al redistribuir algunas de las riquezas de aquellos que tienen demasiado a aquellos que tienen demasiado poco, ni tiempo que perder.

El segundo punto importante a tener en mente es que por mucho tiempo las compañías internacionales de transporte han devastado el océano y las costas de Somalia mediante el desperdicio de sustancias tóxicas sin ningún tipo de resistencia. Nuevamente, ni el gobierno, ni las corporaciones, ni los esfuerzos de la comunidad internacional se asomaron tan siquiera para tratar de prevenir esta catástrofe ecológica. Los Piratas, al menos en algunos casos, han prevenido que estos desperdicios entren al mar haciéndose cargo ellos mismos.

Cuando decidamos por nosotros mismos si los Piratas son la escoria del mar o valientes defensores del planeta y la gente pobre, debemos tomar en consideración todas las fichas del juego: por un lado, las ganancias de las mega-corporaciones, y por el otro el sufrimiento humano y el bien del planeta.

¿De qué lado estás?

*Arriba, la palabra "recompensa" (traducida del inglés "ransom") está puesta entre comillas ya que no es una palabra objetiva; está cargada de una presunción de criminalidad. Por ejemplo, cuando alguien es encarcelado, los periódicos no reportan que la policía "secuestró" a alguien y demanda una "recompensa" para poder soltar al individuo. En vez de esto, los periódicos reportan que algún criminal fue "arrestado" y que le impusieron cierta cantidad de "fianza." Sólo le pido al lector que analize esta situación objetivamente, tanto del punto de vista de un niño somalí hambriento como del suyo.

author responds 22.Dec.2008 12:16

author of the article

I'm not so naive as to think that the Pirates are all real nice and friendly folks ( - they've probably witnessed much horror and sufferings in their lifetimes -), and don't doubt that their actions are motivated by self-interest. Nor do I believe them to be vanguards of Anarchist ideals or models of the virtues of Anarchism. I do, however, see their struggle to exist as being more legitimate than the right of big businesses to make profits, which would be enforced by the same means that the Pirates are demonized for. The point that the commentor brought up about harm that Pirates do to other Somalis is to me, of legitimate concern, and is something that more information about would benefit this post and the opinions that readers form for themselves.

I do believe that the money that they get does help the plight of some people in Somali because it makes sense that the Pirates would need a support structure. It's also been reported in the Associated Press, but that alone doesn't persuade me because that could easily be a lie.

It also makes sense that changes in the economy would economically hurt som Somalis.I am not assuming that piracy in that area helps all poor people without hurting any others, or that all piracy in the area has the same characteristics and effects on others. But the way that it is reported sounds like a recruitment call to military-aged youth all around the world to join fight against the pirates to protect the shipping routes, or to justify it to themselves and their families and friends if they're already enlisted.

I am not proposing or considering going to Somalia to join a pirate group to show solidarity, but no doubt our neighbors and other people around us in our communities, who are enlisted in the military or cinsidering enlisting, are now having to consider the possibility that they might be sent to Somalia where they will have to kill or be killed.

Citation needed 22.Dec.2008 15:42

Mogadishu Vet - Class of 92

"the "ransom"* money that the Somali Pirates are collecting is supporting impoverished Somali communities and feeding malnourished children. For these impoverished people" [citation needed]

Someone didn't do their research.

author responds to "citation needed" and "oh com'on" 22.Dec.2008 18:50

author of the article

As mentioned above, I read about the support that the Pirates give to Somali communities in the New York Times. I think that the article was an AP article, widely duplicated in different news sources, one of which is listed below. The article below can be found at Garowe online, a Somali news source. Others are listed above in the comment entitled "SOURCES"

"Analysis: Pirates, poverty mark US Somalia failure"
Dec 21, 2008
by Anne Gearan
EDITOR'S NOTE _ Anne Gearan covers U.S. national security affairs for The Associated Press in Washington.
Source: AP

"legally-challenged entrepreneurs"? 23.Dec.2008 12:55

Exile portlander_in_exile@yahoo.com

As much as it would feel good to find a rebel hero, we can't call everyone Robin Hood. Currently, Piracy is one of the only ways that Somalia is able to make a GDP. Unfortunately, they aren't funneling any real portion of they're newfound income on soup kitchens and domestic services. I've heard reports that the second largest income in Somalia has become prostitution. The third, Drugs for domestic use. Yes, you got it, Hookers & Blow. It appears that once you're outside the law, all kinds of opportunities open up.