Friday, December 12, 2008

Somalia: The Pirates' Life

As reported here:
“We are not warlords, but people who have become jobless,” said one man, who identified himself as Abdenasser, speaking from the city of Bossaso. “Fishermen cannot get their fish, and no one is thinking to build a central government for Somalia. I recruited many young guys to be pirates, and I was paid for that.”

It may be difficult to muster much sympathy for pirates armed with AK-47s and rocket-grenade launchers who disrupt the international shipping trade and have even been known to seize food shipments destined for the starving people of their own country.

But it is easy to understand how a destitute people could be attracted to lottery-like wealth and the prospects of a better life.

“In a region where legitimate business is difficult, where drought means agriculture is nothing more than subsistence farming, and instability and violence make death a very real prospect, the dangers of engaging in piracy must be weighed against the potentially massive returns,” the British think tank Chatham House said in a recent report.

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