Okay, so a few months ago when I thought of pirates, I spent a lot of time with Johnny Depp
and Orlando Bloom
on my mind. In fact, I think of those guys even when I’m not thinking of pirates, but I digress. Now, however, a whole new kind of pirate is taking the world by storm – or trying to. Increasingly we are hearing tales of pirates from Somalia and other nations that are preying on ships crossing through that section of the world.
The Modern Pirate
Today’s pirate is very different from the peg-legged, bobbing and weaving, big-hat wearing pirates
we love. These pirates are the real deal – desperate men who have no problem breaking the law for material gain. The recent standoffs have shown this. And the increasing number of incidences with pirates around the world has made them a global concern.
The Captured Pirate
Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse was captured by the United States during a rescue mission staged by US Navy Seals. The young pirate was brought to New York where he showed up with a smile on his face although he said nothing at the time. The young man speaks no English but is accused of being the fearless ring leader of the pirate band. It is said that he was the first on the ship, the first to fire a shot and responsible for stealing $30,000 from the ship’s safe. In court he was the first person to be accused of piracy in about 100 years and sobbed loudly.
The trouble is, Somalia, where he is from, has struggled with anarchy and no centralized government for years. The population has only three primary occupations to keep families fed. They can grow illegal drugs, herd goats or become a pirate. What the country also does not have are very good records. So while the prosecutor in the case is claiming the pirate is eighteen years old and therefore an adult and ready to stand trial, his lawyers and many others are claiming he is much younger, perhaps as young as fifteen and should be treated differently by the court system.
Under no context do I think that piracy of any kind is okay. But at the same time, I can understand why young men such as Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse might have been drawn into the practice. His nation has been in chaos for almost two decades – longer than he’s been alive. His family has almost no money, and there doesn’t seem to be any other solution available to him – at least from his perspective.
So, it’s clear that the problem with pirates is bigger than one case of an abducted sea captain and his daring rescue. A few months ago, Somali pirates hold 15 merchant ships and 300 crewmen hostage. So there seems to be no stopping the pirates from taking money, taking hostages and even taking lives. But will putting captured pirates on trial be the first in our fight back?