December 17, 2008

The Piracy situation in Somalia

The horn of Africa has suffered from 18 years of turmoil and chaos due to tribal/clan based war. Resulting in a nation with no functional government for years, where the one with the big guns get to rule or own the land. There are no manufacturing industries in Somalia or service based economy in Somalia. One has to rely on sustenance from relatives who live abroad, or the only sure source of livelihood will be fishing, farming and animal husbandry. Over the years large fishing vessels have been trolling the East Coast of Africa massively fishing and leaving nothing for the local fishing industry. Leading to lack of income and food source for the locals. Another devastating fact is the damping of toxic chemicals and even some instances radioactive waste materials along the coastline of Somalia. This only spells the death of innocent people who have no clue what they are exposed to.
In the earlier stages of the piracy saga in Somalia it was the local fishermen who were tired of losing their livelihood to foreign fishermen started the whole phenomenon. People with sophisticated technology joined in on the lucrative business of kidnapping and taking hostages ships in return of large ransoms. The situation can only be stopped if and only if peace is returned in war torn Somalia. The pirates have spokespeople who are aware of the international laws and are well versed, this is an indication that it is not an operation by some thugs but what I would call modern day heroic pirate. They claim they have no interest in kidnapping but until people stop-using Somali waters for any agenda against the interest of the Somali people the kidnappings will not stop.
International community has sought out what they think is the easy way out of this mess by increasing the number of naval and military ships in the area. The pirates since they are using RPG’s (Rocket Propelled Grenades) can sink ships to ensure their plight is heard. Peace is the only solution. It is amazing that a country like Somalia is now a major player in global economy, how you might ask. If everything going through the Suez Canal is halted and goods are transported to Europe or the West using the long route of South Africa the goods will be more expensive, and those that are unfortunate will be hijacked leading to shortage of the cargo in the global market. The presence of military or even private security increases the cost of freight leading to a hike in price. Even our brothers and sisters in Egypt will suffer since they heavily rely on the Suez Canal to generate income.
America and the international community should do what it should have done long time ago. Help in achieving peace in the region, and if they cannot help then they should stop funding the warlords that cause anarchy in the region.
I am not going to sit here and justify the means they are taking to achieve their goal, so long as death can be avoided to the innocent seamen at-least they are trying something that will shed light to a problem that the whole world has chosen to ignore.