So, unless you have been living under a rock for the past week or so, you have heard the word "Pirate" thrown around on the TV, radio and interwebs. This word conjures up visions of "Arr me hearties" and "buried chests" and "walking the plank". But that's not the piracy of 2009. Now, its a bonafide business, complete with investors, sunk costs, marginal costs, operational costs, profit--- and yes, RULES and REGULATIONS.
And no doubt you've heard about a nation that was last World Wide worthy news in 1991-92 (that would be Somalia). A country that has been barely hanging on to the term 'country' for over 30 years.
Folks were celebrating the rescue (and concurrent execution) that occurred yesterday when U.S. Navy Seals (aka Gubment Sanctioned Crazy MOFO's wit GUNS) extracted the American shipping captian being held hostage by Somali Pirates, while killing 3 and taking a 4th into custody.
I'm going to say this before I move on to the crux of my rant.
I am rooting for the Pirates. Yeah, I said it. Their country is in ruins, their government--- what government?? They are being exploited by the rest of the world. They can't feed their kids. Eff what ya heard, piracy is the new black.
This phenomenon is merely a symptom of the illness inflicted upon The Continent (heck, the entire WORLD) hundreds of years ago---COLONIALISM.
The scramble that occurred starting with the Spanish Empire and their Armada cruising the globe, invading the lands of sovereign peoples and conquering them through the patented plan of "infect, divide, exploit, decimate and convert." Colonialism was far and away, one of the most VILE things to ever happen to the planet and her people. It has some disgusting spawn as well: Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and her twin sister Indian Ocean Slave Trade, their nasty brother Genocide and baby spawnlets Hegemony and Neo-Colonialism (who is heir apparent to the destruction of national sovereignty-- of non-Western nations, that is). THANK YOU EUROPE FOR BENDING MOTHER EARTH'S PEOPLE OVER A TABLE AND WELL... YOU KNOW.
Don't believe me? Think I'm going a bit overboard? Consider this.
In North America, the most widely spoken language is SPANISH **side eye to Spain**
The second most widely spoken language is ENGLISH **side eye England**
In Sub-Saharan Africa, when children go to school, they don't learn in their native tongues... they learn in ENGLISH, FRENCH, DUTCH or GERMAN.
The Indian Subcontinent was OWNED by England until the early 1940's....
All my Filipino friends have Catalan last names (i.e. Hernandez, Fernandez...) and only learn Pinoy at home. They learn Spanish in school.
South America and the Caribbean-- Spain and Portugal left one heck of a GINORMOUS footprint all over them. The only reason the language and cultre of native peoples survived there? They were too hard to reach living in the mountains or deep in the Amazon. But then again, not all were spared. When was the last time you met a Taino? Didn't think so.
And South Africa? Yeah ***MAJOR SIDE EYE TO THE DUTCH** thanks SOOOOO much for Apartheid. Really. Thanks, BUNCHES. **also extra long side eye to DeBeers (you know, "A Diamond is Forever"?) for Rwanda and Tanzania as well*
My point-- Western Europe's legacy of scrambling for lands outside their own still LOUDLY echoes around the Globe. Heck, entire languages have DISAPPEARED under this fact.
So what does this have to do with the price of pencils in Pyongyang?
Like I said before, the Somali Piracy 'problem' is merely a symptom of a people fighting back (however ill-advisedly) against the system that has left them with a nation in ruin.
It always pisses me off when people talk about how corrupt and ineffectual many African governments are. How they are characterized by infighting, conflict and at best general yuckyness. At worst... constant civil war. They therefore use this to rationalize that these governments are utterly incapbable of functioning as sovereign entities and need 'help' from western nations who 'have got it right'... aka Neo-Colonialism.
What they conveniently forget is that the face of the African Continent was drawn all over with black permanent India Ink (which, by the way is a British import from its colony..) by European leaders. Before the time of Navies and Armadas, the African people had their own sovereignty systems. Sure they weren't perfect, and they would go to war, or kidnap, or enslave... but that's generally what happens when nations in conflict collide. Things get messy. But they eventually resolve and quiet down.
The scramble for gold and other resources had European nations rushing to Africa like Hollywood starlets rush to St. Tropez. Everyone wanted a piece of the action. Now, they all couldn't have the same pieces of land, so they carved them up "this is yours, this is mine" style. Nevermind that they were surreptitiously forcing tribes, nations and clans that had not gotten along for generations to all of a sudden become one nation, but they felt it was their right to just up and jack someone else's swag! As a matter of fact, this internal dislike was exactly the tool needed to make sure the people stayed subjugated and never unified to rise up and eject these usurpers. Textbook 'Divide and Conquer'. What the Hell, Europe?
Fast forward to the mid 1900's when these African Colonies realized they were gettin smoked with the Okie Doke and it was time to evict Sir England and M. France... or Sir England and M. France realized that it would be more profitable, and less mess to just trade with a new sovereign that was used to dealing with them. **enter the Wave of Independence** Now, we have these provisional governments set up as permanent governments. Many are acheived by violent coups and civil war. Remember those clans and tribes I was talking about? They STILL don't like each other. The rapid departure of the colonial masters' and their armies destablizied nations enough that now we have people going batshit crazy to control what was left. Some managed to hold 'free' elections... but other's just shot up the place until the opposition relented.
So now, you have groups that don't like each other but are FORCED to live together in order to be recognized as independent sovereigns by the International Community. Enter backbiting, in-fighting, coups, civil wars and genocide. Throw in some terrorist groups that thrive off of recruiting the disenfranchised and disenchanted. Sprinkle in illegal arms from rogue nations. And for kicks let's add drought, famine, HIV/AIDS, poor education and exploitation. TADA!! You have the perfect quagmire that is RIFE with pirates, guerillas, terrorists, genocidal leaders and desperate people.
Somalia is just a microcosm of this larger, messier nastier phenomenon. As the old saying goes, 'Desperate times call for desperate measures.' And you wonder why people are turing to piracy... and why landed Somalis and expats applaud and even finaincially support it. Its a form of rebellion. Its a form of sustenance. Heck, it even stimulates the local economy. Every hood person know you gotta get your hustle on to make it. This is their hustle. THAT DOESN'T MAKE IT RIGHT. But IT DOESN'T MAKE IT UNEQUIVOCALLY WRONG,EITHER.
You may not agree with my views. And frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. Clearly I am a left wing socialist lunatic who believes in crazy things like fairness, human rights, equal opportunity, government lucidity and accountability... and other such rot. I must be insane.
Before I go, I just wanted to post this little pic. Think about it.
Oh and as for piracy..... yeah, I'm looking at YOU Bernie Madoff. Lehman Brothers. Enron. AIG. Citicorp. Yeah... lookin at you EXTRA HARD.