Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Pirates' Point of View

Thomas Riggins

Who are the real pirates anyway? The poor fishermen who live along the Somali coast could make a living my taking their small wooden boats out to sea and catching enough fish to feed their families and make some money selling fish in the markets along the coast.

In the 1990s the Somali government fell apart and could no longer protect its territorial waters. The big commercialized fishing fleets moved in and began illegal fishing in Somali waters--fleets from Europe (France, Greece, Spain, Norway. etc.,) from the East (Thailand, China, etc.). They came because they had already decimated the fishing stocks of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean-- driving Tuna almost to extinction-- as well as other fish.

Now they decimated the fishing stocks off the coast of Somalia, taking advantage of the Somalis and understanding that there was no one to stop their illegal poaching. Other ships from the developed world found they could dump their waste and pollutants in Somali waters as well-- killing large numbers of the remaining fish that native fishermen were trying to eke out a living from by catching.

Their way of life virtually destroyed by the connivance of the big commercial firms and their governments the Somali fishermen were forced into "piracy" to survive. If you crush people and push them down, starve their families and destroy their environment they will fight back. They will throw your tea in the harbor, spin their own cotton or collect their own salt from sea, steal a loaf of bread from the market, or even highjack your ships and crews to get the money their communities need to survive.

As usual our only response is to shoot them-- even if they were not harming hostages (they were after money not blood). First we destroy their way of life, their ability to feed themselves, their culture, then we shoot them. It's been going on since Columbus. Metals all around-- for our heroes, everyone.

No comments: