Somalia og en ubeskyttet kystlinje – hvem er ‘piraterne’ her?

Det igangværende “pirateri” ud for Somalias kyst begyndte, da europæiske og andre skibe begyndte at bruge de ubeskyttede somaliske farvande som skraldepand – samtidig med, at europæiske fiskere begyndte at tømme området for fisk, sådan som man også har gjort hjemme ved sig selv.

Nogle somaliske fiskere tager så initiativ til et selvbestaltet “kystværn”, som skal få indtrængerne til at forføje sig eller i det mindste betale en skat af deres tilstedeværelse – og straks hyler de vestlige medier op om “sørøveri”. Vi giver ordet videre til Johann Hari i The Independent:

Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: “Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it.” Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to “dispose” of cheaply. When I asked Mr Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: “Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention.”

At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia’s seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish stocks by overexploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m-worth of tuna, shrimp, and lobster are being stolen every year by illegal trawlers. The local fishermen are now starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: “If nothing is done, there soon won’t be much fish left in our coastal waters.”

This is the context in which the “pirates” have emerged. Somalian fishermen took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least levy a “tax” on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia – and ordinary Somalis agree. The independent Somalian news site WardheerNews found 70 per cent “strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence”.

No, this doesn’t make hostage-taking justifiable, and yes, some are clearly just gangsters – especially those who have held up World Food Programme supplies. But in a telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali: “We don’t consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas.”

Link: You are being lied to about pirates (via Boing Boing)

Sørøveriets ædle kunst

Medierne har i disse dage travlt med at fortælle os om, hvor væmmelige de somaliske pirater er. De er farlige. De er usympatiske.

Så det er godt, vi har ansvarlige medier som Jyllands-Posten og fredelige, lovlydige statsledere som Anders Fogh Rasmussen og Gordon Brown til at bringe tingene i orden og sætte flåden ind mod de opsætsige sorte krabater. Hvor vover fattige, forhutlede og radmagre sorte at tage sig den slags friheder til et forgribe sig på andres ejendom, som følger med den Hvide Mands Byrde?

Selvfølgelig er der små ekstreme menighedsblade på yderspidsen af venstrefløjen, som spilder deres egen og vores andres tid med irrelevant pjat som at tage ned at tale med piraterne og høre, hvad de har at sige. “Balanceret dækning” – ja, en eller anden undskyldning skal de jo for Fanden have for deres ufattelige had mod vestlige værdier.

Nåja, og så er der krigsnørden Gary Brecher på Exiled Online:

Every day I love these Somali pirates more. You know that Lefty line, “this is what democracy looks like”? Well, this is what Robin Hood looks like: a bunch of black skeletons swarming over the side with RPGs. These guys used to be humble fishermen, till the Taiwanese and Korean trawlers took advantage of the fact that Somalia has no government to scoop every last sculpin out of the waters they used to fish. No government means no coast guard, so who was going to stop them?

Well, karma went out and traded in its fishing boats for a few fast outboards and some Yemeni guns, and made a career move into the piracy business. Now they are what the NT would call “fishers of men.” And getting rich off it, bling and all the nomad girls you can buy.

So a big hundred million ton shout out to my perps, showin’ your fat Jack-Sparrow-worshipping kiddies what piracy is all about.

Link: War Nerd Update: Yo Ho Ho and a Tanker of Crude