Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In Defense of Somali Oil Pirates

Perhaps I have an overdeveloped sense of irony but I find this Somali oil pirate shit deeply amusing. I mean, American hipsters have for a couple of years now adopted the pirate theme (along with ninjas and vampires) as a soup "du jour" of sorts for parties, fashion, and jokes. Shit, I've been to at least 3 pirate themed events in the past 4 years.

But enter the modern Somali pirate (or the Puntland Navy as they'd refer to themselves) - Seizing big ugly ass oil tankers or commercial fishing ships with nothing more than a few speed boats and a ton of chutzpah, taking the crew hostage, demanding payment from the rich countries who's corporations are dumping toxic waste off the Somali coast with impunity. Some of this waste is apparently even nuclear.

In any other universe, this would be a simple case of Robbin Hood on the high seas. Justice and restitution for the poor, who let's face it, are always getting screwed. According to a couple of pieces I've read on Al Jazeera, many of these so-called "pirates" are former fishermen who've been put out of work by illegal big time fishing operations from Europe and Asia. And really, does that sound like such a far fetched claim?

To add insult to injury, the Western press is accusing the Somali city of Puntland of being a hub for organized "pirate" crime while ignoring the involvement of Italian mobs who have been negotiating toxic disposal deals with a Somali government of dubious legitimacy. (This is the U.S. and Ethiopian military backed government mind you, not the Muslim one that probably has the support of the population).

Either way, the basic premise behind all this Somali pirate brouhaha is that when it comes to oil, piracy is no laughing matter. It's not news to us if our corporations take a big dump on your country, but if you so much as touch our oil, well now you're taking it too far. One could cynically predict that it's only a matter of time before the U.S. Navy, on behalf of Saudi Arabia, starts shelling Puntland, just to remind them who they're dealing with - But then again, the United States has been sporadically attacking Somalia for the past 5 years.

Here's some of the Al Jazeera reporting...

Maybe next Halloween, the hipsters will be dressing up like dead Somali pirates...I mean, that would be so unironic, it would almost be funny.

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