Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
European Pirates in Somali Waters

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

 The maritime powers busily looting Somalia's fishery are preparing to formalize their theft. Spain and France, the "biggest thieves of Somali fish" plan to assume responsibility for the fisheries at an upcoming conference. Under cover of preserving order on the high seas, "the French, the Spanish and the rest of the freeloaders are reverting to a kind of piracy of their own, like in the good old days when whites sailed the world and took what they wanted."

European Pirates in Somali Waters

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The biggest thieves of Somali fish choose themselves as protectors of the fisheries.”

The U.S. corporate media treat the world like a big comic book, with America as the super-hero who doesn’t know his own strength, but means well. Much of the time, the corporate media analysis doesn’t even reach the level of comic book – more like cartoons. In fact, just a few nights ago, I saw a cartoon on the Comedy Central channel that provided a much more sophisticated analysis of so-called “piracy” in Somalia, than anything offered by the television evening news.

In an episode of South Park, the eight-year-old kid protagonists set off for Somalia, where they hope to live the care-free life of pirates. A teenaged Somali boy who has become a pirate in order to feed his desperate family, can’t understand why one would want to engage in piracy, if given the choice. At the end of the episode, American sharpshooters kill all the Somalis, leaving the would-be American child-pirates unharmed. The American commander tells his gunmen, “Be careful not to hit the white ones.”

Thus, the cartoon succeeds in describing the life and death struggle of the Somalis and the arbitrary power of the Americans and others patrolling the Somali coast. The Americans here at home are totally ignorant of the true situation in Somalia, while the Americans manning warships and war planes have no problem with killing people they don’t know – people who are made to look like cartoon cut-outs.

Since the early Sixties, U.S. policy in Africa has been to sow chaos in those regions it cannot effectively control.”

It is impossible to discuss lawlessness in Somali coastal waters without confronting the U.S. and European role in destroying the rule of law in the country. The chief culprit is the United States, which encouraged Ethiopia to invade Somalia, in 2006, in order to depose the first government the country had had since 1991. Since the early Sixties, U.S. policy in Africa has been to sow chaos in those regions it cannot effectively control. The Somalis drove the Ethiopians out, much to the chagrin of Washington. With the increase in ship hijackings, the Americans and Europeans spin the situation as one in which they must impose order on Somalia – when, in fact, it is outsiders’ attempts to dominate Somalia that have led to such grave disorder.

We now learn that France and Spain, among the maritime powers most guilty of illegally poaching Somalia’s fisheries, have designated themselves as the guardians of the Somali coast. The French and Spanish have enjoyed a bounty of fishing off Somalia, with no Somali coast guard to keep them from taking as much as they want of the national resource. So, the biggest thieves of Somali fish choose themselves as protectors of the fisheries. France and Spain both base their fishing fleets in the nearby Seychelles Islands.

Any dispassionate observer would conclude that the French, the Spanish and the rest of the freeloaders are reverting to a kind of piracy of their own, like in the good old days when whites sailed the world and took what they wanted. But then, that’s a cartoonish way of looking at the world – or is it?

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20090429_gf_SomaliaPiracy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:24am EDT