A good piece about the Somali “pirate” can be found over at commondreams:

Consider what one pirate told The New York Times after he and his men seized a Ukrainian freighter  “loaded with tanks, artillery, grenade launchers and ammunition” last year. “We don’t consider ourselves sea bandits,” said Sugule Ali:. “We consider sea bandits those who illegally fish in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas. We are simply patrolling our seas. Think of us like a coast guard.”

The piece- which is good though I wouldn’t call it in-depth enough to be great- also quotes the UK Independent:

As soon as the [Somali] 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.

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.”

One thing I do like about the piece though- it’s main rub is as much about what the “pirates” are all about as it is about how the media’s typical coverage of the issue is so, well, B.S..  We need a lot more journalism that calls out journalism while simultaneously covering the events of the day.

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