Sunday, April 26, 2009

SOMALI PIRATES AGAINST WESTERN POWERS: DOES MIGHT MAKE RIGHT?

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Sunday, 26 April 2009 SMC
Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse;

Over many years I have been writing about Somalia.
Now what has happened is that foreign powers with their state-of- art fishing vessels and floating factories have decimated the thousands of years’ old coral reefs and breeding grounds for the world’s best lobsters and other shell fish that were the only means of living for Somali fishermen.

Even the planet lost out to global warming with so much destruction. The West, especially the world leader, the USA, has made no comment or effort to protect the livelihood of the poor Somali fishermen as well as preserve the planet’s ecological structure; coral is part of the planet’s future.

The foreign ships come with steel nets to which are attached long metal spikes resembling vicious plough shares; these dig deep into the living coral to get at the lobsters and other sea life, leaving the Somali coast an ocean graveyard.

As a consequence there was only one way of living left to the brave Somali fishermen; and make no mistake, they are very brave seamen and navigators. They had no choice but to take revenge on foreign shipping and earn a living by ransom demands.

The foreigners who caused such devastation were considered reputable business men: the Somalis who have retaliated with infinitely less damage to our precious planet are the ones who are considered criminals and called “pirates.”

None of them wish to endanger their own lives and that of foreign crewmen but it has become their only answer to the murder of their ancestral fishing grounds.

Their best hope now is to have the teenager, Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse, who has been brought for trial in America make a gallant stand in front of America’s might and defend, in front of the watching world, the Somali fishermen’s reasons for disturbing trade vessels of the super powers.

It rests on President Barack Obama, who has real dignified contact with Africa, and an inherited understanding of the problems facing the weak when battling the strong, plus an intelligence corridor superior to that of the CIA’s, to keep a special watch on this case.

After all, the world has been kept agog over the activities of a pet water swimming hound. Let’s now see similar attention on the progress of this brave fisherman who saw his three comrades shot down as if they were vermin. From his trial, perhaps we will see the new America reflect those old values that made the country so admirable, rather than the blazing-gun mentality that recently predominated and has so harmed its reputation.

There is always a silver lining and so we look to President Obama, who is an African Jaluo by ancestry; the Jaluos’ main occupation is that of fishermen.

President Obama must cast his net afar and bring hope and peace to the very poor of Somalia. It can be done. In my many years in Africa, I variously battled and worked with the Somali people for years. I learned enough to recognize that they are a people of great dignity and demand respect despite their poverty.

President Obama is uniquely placed to understand their plight.

Somaliweyn Media Center “SMC”

1 comments:

metelits said...
April 26, 2009 at 11:25 PM  

Thanks for this; there are usually deeper reasons for a collective turn to piracy--at least there were in earlier times.

One interesting thing is that both the Western media and your own piece seem to treat "the pirates" as a single entity, when clearly there are a variety of motivations at play.

What interests me about the current crisis is how those engaged in piracy might improve their region and country, if targets are chosen appropriately, if support is sought in the right places, if the right tactics are chosen, and most importantly, if the benefits of this "industry" develop into widespread investments in infrastructure and the "legitimate" economy.

Your compatriots wouldn't be the first groups to turn apparent theft from richer nations into legitimate development; but they'd be the first in Africa.