Even though it's baseball's opening week and the NBA playoff picture is slowly but surely clearing up, I want to take a second or two or 3,600 (that's an hour, yo) to talk about pirates. They've been in the news a bit swashbuckling their way into deadly conflicts with the U.S. Navy.
But I'm not talking about Johnny Deep or Errol Flynn-type pirates. I am talking about The Pirates of Somalia, henceforth known as "El Pirates de Somalia".
Here are a few musings on "El Pirates de Somalia":
First of all, the reason I have been watching the news so intently is that I am scouting my 2009 Halloween costume. There is no doubt I am going trick-or-treating dressed as a Somali Pirate. So far I figure I need an AK-47 or a rocket launcher, a rubber raft, and some beef jerky. That's a lot easier than dressing as a traditional pirate, with all the eye patches, parrots, and peg legs.
Speaking of ye olde pirates, I wonder if Somali pirates get scurvy.
Will khat become the new rum? Will Captain Muhammad compete against Captain Morgan?
What about "Talk Like a Pirate Day"? Will we have to incorporate Somali words amongst our "argh"s and "ye"s?
Imagine you are a little kid. You have been raised watching Pirates of the Caribbean and signing "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me". Then you hear grown-ups and the newscasters talking about how horrible pirates are. What are you supposed to do?
Now imagine you live in Tampa. Each year we have our Mardi Gras-like Gasparilla festival and celebrate the invasion of Jose Gaspar, who was (surprise!) a pirate. Oh yeah, and the local football is called the Buccaneers. Are we honestly supposed to be opposed to Somali pirates?
Wait, perhaps white pirates = ok and black pirates = bad? Or maybe Muslim pirates = bad and Christian pirates = good?
Nah, that can't be it. Could it?
What if some people thought the Somali pirates weren't all that bad? What if some people think they have done a great job protecting the Somali waterways from rogue tuna fishing? What if Somali pirates were actually credited with defending the Somali coast against illegal toxic dumping?
Take this video for what it's worth - a Somali-born musician talking about international politics and global decisions - but I think might have some bit of a point.
Quick reminder: lack of opportunity will drive criminal activity. Build a few Wal-Marts and "worker towns" along the Somali coast and let companies supply responsible (read: above the poverty line) housing, transportation, security, etc, and I guarantee you will see less criminal activity.
Final Question: who will suffer more reported losses in 2009: the Somali Pirates or the Pittsburgh Pirates?
As of April 14th, both Pirate "teams" were tied with three losses each.