Monday, April 13, 2009

Who be pirates?

Johann Hari, writing in The Independent, has an interesting angle on Somalian piracy. While not seeking to defend hostage-taking, he reminds us that the Somalian government collapsed in 1991 and that the population of nine million has been living in dire circumstances since, and asks,
Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our toxic waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? We won't act on those crimes – the only sane solution to this problem – but when some of the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit-corridor for 20 per cent of the world's oil supply, we swiftly send in the gunboats.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, is quoted as telling Hari, "Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it." Much of it, Hari says "can be traced back to European hospitals and factories". European governments are doing nothing. You can read a Somali perspective here.

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