Dumb Somalian Pirates don’t recognize Dutch Warship

The comments on the Somalia piracy story show how chillingly blood thirsty many have become

The Dangerous High Speed Pirate Skiff??

The Dangerous High Speed Pirate Skiff??

A smile spread across my face when I saw the headline yesterday : Somali Pirates attempt attack on Dutch War Ship. I’m not even sure whether it was caused by the stupidity of the pirates, the fact that I’m Dutch or even more that I have fond memories about this particular Dutch warship, the HMS Tromp, that anchored in Sub base St.Thomas many years ago right next to my 42 ft. sailboat. We had a lot of fun that weekend with an invite to an original Indonesian Rice Table in the officer’s mess and many Heineken’s on the tab in one of the 2 bars on board.

The smile on my face however quickly froze into a grimace of disbelief when my eyes caught some of the comments underneath the story and I wondered what kind of people write these types of comments. Ignorant, dangerous, stupid comments with no sense of understanding, compassion or a will to work out a better world.

Here is one of those:
“Here’s a novel idea! How bout sending bogus ships in there armed to the teeth with marines and when the pirates attack blow them to hell. Let the sharks eat whats left and tell the people who thinks this is immoral to fu@# off.”

Joe, the writer of this comment is a male in Illinois, who joined Yahoo’s comment board early March and has been spewing vulgarities and hatred on a daily basis.
Now you may think that Joe is an exception, but he isn’t. Yesterday’s story by 3pm had 4,441 comments and somewhere between 30 and 40 thousand agreeing nods to annihilate Somalia. Here is another comment that bamboozles me:

“Somalia should be destroyed with tactic nuclear power, followed by a land attack. Maybe Afghanistan should follow.”

This superbly intelligent remark came from someone with the Nickname “ChillyWilly”, the same person who a couple of days ago remarked on another posted story: “I can not believe there are so many ignorant people in the US”.
Well Willy maybe it’s time to start considering yourself somewhat ignorant to the ways of the world.

My question is why do people make such off the cuff remarks without ever bothering to research the facts. The US has a legacy of compassion in Somalia which can easily be tracked and verified in this link to 1992-1994 Operation Restore Hope.

Since those days there has been no formalized government in Somalia. Just tribes and warlords. The area has known piracy as long as we have been building ships and the old world’s piracy capital of Zanzibar, which is so pleasantly romanticized by Jimmy Buffett, lies just a couple of hundred miles off the coast to the South in Tanzania.

Of course piracy is a criminal act, but contrary to ‘Blackbeard’ Edward Teach, these poverty stricken people have treated their kidnapped guests with decency and without killing them.
That alone makes me think that all annihilation efforts as suggested by most of the commentators to this story, would work counter productive and only escalate violence.

And actually as it is now, pirates that are caught are prosecuted in Kenya’s port city of Mombasa and often sentenced to 20 years in jail, which will probably bring them a better life.

For the Dutch Commander aboard the HMS Tromp to destroy these little fishing skiffs with pirates on it would have been like shooting fish in a tank. What the press calls the mother ships are 40 ft. fishing vessels. I’m not trying to be a bleeding heart liberal, but there must be better ways to deal with these crimes that blowing up a country.

The Dutch commander called it “a silly mistake”, a while back the Danes blew some skiffs out of the water, because these pirates kept firing at them. That in my opinion is justified. Shooting some poor slobs in the back because they couldn’t recognize a fully outfitted warship would be an act of cowardice.

7 Comments

  1. tommylee

    I went to read the comments myself and ignorance is most common in the reactions yet the first comment is right on the mark. Talking about smoke and mirrors and let's focus on other people's problems and if they're a nuisance, let's kill them. Diverting the attention away from what is happening right here in our country. As long as there are enough people who believe “government propaganda” without any fact finding themselves then government mission is accomplished… smoke and mirrors.

    Caesar 2000+ years ago had a better enactment: “Give them bread and games” and the top brass can keep on robbing the “poor bastards” (us) blind. We conveniently forget that the victims in the games where the early Christians.

    Piracy is a crime, so is ignorance as to the reasons.

  2. tommylee

    Are you sure the Italians left? This is a news report from Somalia. Additional Tourism resources and publications clearly show that Italy is the number one visitor tourism and real estate investment wise.

    Also here is an article that exposes, if correct, the involvement of the Italian Mafia and their interest in Somalia.

    There is much more smoke and mirrors going on than the surface allows to scratch and the US has similar interests. Read the following article about US interests in Somalia.

    The article is an eye-opener regarding the Somalia Piracy and it's origins, but the rest of the article written by Chomsky is even more revealing. Chomsky is one of those old school investigative reporters that the US media is laying off because it could be harming to US foreign policy. See the SearchAmelia Article If mother claims she loves you check it out!.

  3. publisher_sa

    In terms of marine real estate, the 1900 mile long coastline of Somalia at the entrance of the Gulf of Aden and en route to the Persian Gulf is prime property. Smoke and mirrors is obviously a major game that is played in world politics, but geo politically some areas are more important and more challenging than others. I have always wondered why Somalia even exists as a separate country, considering that massive Ethiopia is entirely landlocked with not ONE Port City, because of Somalia and Djibouti. Even next door neighbor to the South, Kenya, has very limited ocean access with the only port city of Mombassa. Guess I have to dig into the Italian history when they left their occupation of these areas, last century. Maybe there is something there that explains the mirrors.

  4. Hal_Burns

    Experience is the best teacher, but carries a very high tuition. I bet they will know next time.

  5. tommylee

    Hal, read my reply on the Publisher's comment about the Italian and US interest in Somalia and than you will understand why Ignorance is a Crime.

  6. publisher_sa

    Hal, this is a passage from the Huffington Post from October last year (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/you-a…). It should clarify that there are lots of mirrors in Somalia and I for one understand, but then again I moved to Fernandina Beach because at heart I am a Pirate.

    Here it is: In 1991, the government of Somalia – in the Horn of Africa – collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and many of the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country's food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

    Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the 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. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: “Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it.” Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to “dispose” of cheaply. When I asked Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: “Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention.”

    At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia's seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish-stocks by over-exploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m worth of tuna, shrimp, lobster and other sea-life is being stolen every year by vast trawlers illegally sailing into Somalia's unprotected seas. The local fishermen have suddenly lost their livelihoods, and they are starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: “If nothing is done, there soon won't be much fish left in our coastal waters.”

    This is the context in which the men we are calling “pirates” have emerged. Everyone agrees they were ordinary Somalian fishermen who at first took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least wage a 'tax' on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia – and it's not hard to see why. In a surreal telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali, said their motive was “to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters… We don't consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas.” William Scott would understand those words.

    No, this doesn't make hostage-taking justifiable, and yes, some are clearly just gangsters – especially those who have held up World Food Programme supplies. But the “pirates” have the overwhelming support of the local population for a reason. The independent Somalian news-site WardherNews conducted the best research we have into what ordinary Somalis are thinking – and it found 70 percent “strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence of the country's territorial waters.” During the revolutionary war in America, George Washington and America's founding fathers paid pirates to protect America's territorial waters, because they had no navy or coastguard of their own. Most Americans supported them. Is this so different?

    Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our nuclear waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? We didn't act on those crimes – but when some of the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit-corridor for 20 percent of the world's oil supply, we begin to shriek about “evil.” If we really want to deal with piracy, we need to stop its root cause – our crimes – before we send in the gun-boats to root out Somalia's criminals.

    The story of the 2009 war on piracy was best summarised by another pirate, who lived and died in the fourth century BC. He was captured and brought to Alexander the Great, who demanded to know “what he meant by keeping possession of the sea.” The pirate smiled, and responded: “What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you, who do it with a great fleet, are called emperor.” Once again, our great imperial fleets sail in today – but who is the robber?

  7. publisher_sa

    Hal, this is a passage from the Huffington Post from October last year (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/you-a…). It should clarify that there are lots of mirrors in Somalia and I for one understand, but then again I moved to Fernandina Beach because at heart I am a Pirate.

    Here it is: In 1991, the government of Somalia – in the Horn of Africa – collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and many of the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country's food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

    Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the 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. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: “Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it.” Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to “dispose” of cheaply. When I asked Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: “Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention.”

    At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia's seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish-stocks by over-exploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m worth of tuna, shrimp, lobster and other sea-life is being stolen every year by vast trawlers illegally sailing into Somalia's unprotected seas. The local fishermen have suddenly lost their livelihoods, and they are starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: “If nothing is done, there soon won't be much fish left in our coastal waters.”

    This is the context in which the men we are calling “pirates” have emerged. Everyone agrees they were ordinary Somalian fishermen who at first took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least wage a 'tax' on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia – and it's not hard to see why. In a surreal telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali, said their motive was “to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters… We don't consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas.” William Scott would understand those words.

    No, this doesn't make hostage-taking justifiable, and yes, some are clearly just gangsters – especially those who have held up World Food Programme supplies. But the “pirates” have the overwhelming support of the local population for a reason. The independent Somalian news-site WardherNews conducted the best research we have into what ordinary Somalis are thinking – and it found 70 percent “strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence of the country's territorial waters.” During the revolutionary war in America, George Washington and America's founding fathers paid pirates to protect America's territorial waters, because they had no navy or coastguard of their own. Most Americans supported them. Is this so different?

    Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our nuclear waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? We didn't act on those crimes – but when some of the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit-corridor for 20 percent of the world's oil supply, we begin to shriek about “evil.” If we really want to deal with piracy, we need to stop its root cause – our crimes – before we send in the gun-boats to root out Somalia's criminals.

    The story of the 2009 war on piracy was best summarised by another pirate, who lived and died in the fourth century BC. He was captured and brought to Alexander the Great, who demanded to know “what he meant by keeping possession of the sea.” The pirate smiled, and responded: “What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you, who do it with a great fleet, are called emperor.” Once again, our great imperial fleets sail in today – but who is the robber?

Leave a Comment