Monday, April 13, 2009

Getting to the Roots of Somali Piracy

Over the weekend I reluctantly listened to the news as they discussed Somali Pirates and the container ship Maersk Alabama. Yesterday's decision by the US Navy seals to kill three Pirates further saddened me. While I've heard people quickly jump behind the American crew and ship, most of this has occurred without context. This isn't to suggest that if you read these links, watch these videos, etc. that you will or should support the Pirates, but I am pretty sure it will help you better generally understand some of the dynamics that the Somali people live under. It will help you better understand who is involved and why this is not just a traditional "stand off." Like most current events, when you scratch the surface, history bleeds through. I encourage you to check them all out.

First up, video interviews with K'Naan by Davey D. K'Naan is a phenomenal voice for Somalian struggle with his first two albums: The Dust Foot Philosopher and Troubadour. Remember when Chuck D said rap was Black America's CNN, K'Naan has taken that to heart in his discussion of his life and his people's lives.

Second up, an article that recently appeared in GQ magazine (yeah, Gentleman's Quarterly) by Jeffrey Gettlemen of the NY Times. The article is one of most context sensitive mainstream press article on the situation, though it has its limitations.

Third up, Black Agenda Report was one of the first analyses of the Pirates that went beyond "Pirates after booty"/"maritime terrorist" approach of mainstream media. The deeper you dig, the more you see the manipulation of political powers for the good of few and the pain of the majority. Here is a piece from December on Sadia Ali Aden on some of the US involvement in the struggles happening there.

Keep informing yourself and keep on believing in the value of human life. As K'Naan said T.I.A.

Shout out to K'Naan and Davey D's twitter feeds where I got a lot of this and you can find much more... see people twitter can be useful for more than telling us what you ate today or your complaints about the weather ;)

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