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Pirates of the Gulf of Aden

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 03:06 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 48.9 
  • Words: 1951
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I enjoy the technological advances of modern-day civilization – indoor plumbing, variety food, electricity, etc., etc. – there’s a part of me (and everyone whose ever been a child) that wonders what life would be like in a different place and time. Like, oh, say, being a deckhand on a merchant vessel at the dawn of the nineteenth century. Thankfully, it doesn’t take too much imagination to project myself back some two-hundred and eight years, as every few months the media’s Eye of Sauron turns its gaze to some vessel unfortunately detained by the self-declared Somalian Customs Service.

The pirates operating in the waters surrounding the Republic of Somalia are something of a political anomaly. They are true allegiance-free bandits, with no overarching political/religious ideology or greater purpose. Iranian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Egyptian, Danish, Greek, German, Italian, North Korean, these pirates don’t care (or even know) who they’re going after. Every so often they get snag something big – T-72 battle tanks, radioactive munitions, a heroic American Captain – and we collectively ask ourselves: what is to be done?

As the Prince of Denmark would say, that is the question.

Ask any doctor/plumber to fix something, and the first thing they’ll do is find out what’s broken. Those headaches/pressure leaks are caused by something, and it really helps in the fixing process to know exactly what said something is. So what, exactly, caused the headaches in Somalia?

Well, that doesn’t exactly take a PhD historian to figure. In Somalia, it’s now what’s broke, it’s what isn’t. Somalia has been in a state of internal strife since before most of us were born. As of May 6, 2009, it has a government. Technically. For all intents and purposes there is no organized police force, military, judicial system, social security or private sector. Somalia ranks second on any list of most dangerous countries, trailing just behind...


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