Somali pirates have again struck close to our shores, this time netting an Iranian cargo ship and demanding millions in ransom. We already have a group of 40 Somali pirates who are refusing to go home despite their own country’s willingness to take them back. Of course they have not admitted to being pirates when they were rescued by local fishermen and armed forces. They said they are poor fishermen who just lost their bearings and drifted. Nobody believes their story but what if it is known they are lying? Why would a fisherman refused to go to his home country when everything is arranged on their behalf. Fishing is not like politics and people normally do not have scores to settle against fishermen.
What they are exploiting is the roundabout way the world is dealing with them and their crime and there seems to be no solution in sight to their problem. Over the years, possibly with the evolution of human thought, on the progress of the society, people have come to rationalize their criminal behavior with fashionable excuses. The drug addicts blame their ‘addiction’ on mental health or social conditions they live. The murderers and serial killers blame their action on split-personality disorder. Whole host of other crimes are associated with poverty, like the popular idea about Somali piracy. But are these pirates really poor? No one really believes this is the case. This may have been the case with the first or second boat they captured and demanded ransom for. After that they had serious money and a wicked idea to laugh all the way to bank! Although the Somali pirates have a small problem of a state, it’s acknowledged that they are the only ones who would benefit from their country without the state.
All this is common knowledge and yet there is no common answer. So where is the common answer? Pragmatism could be part of that. Responsibility would be another. We could start with defining the crime of piracy in our local statues and decide on the reciprocal to the crime. It shall not be about rewarding the crime of piracy itself. After that we shall implement the law and give the pirates good reason to fear their crime. Somali piracy is about taking people’s life and property unlawfully and most mercilessly at sea. The people who loose their life in private yachts, passenger liners, and cargo ships are all people who have equal right to life and safety. Hunger and poverty is not a good reason to kill people and take their property.