Monday, January 12, 2009

Pirates! Part 2

Pirates sink with ransom.

I know I shouldn't find this funny, but I can't seem to help myself. 8 Somali pirates sank offshore after receiving their portions of a $3,000,000 ransom paid for the Sirius Star, an oil tanker out of Saudi Arabia.  Apparently the rough seas were too much for their raft.

One washed ashore today with $153,000 in his pockets.  Three others managed to swin to shore.  Some family members blame the naval blockade for the deaths of the pirates, saying that they were travelling at high speed to avoid attack from patrols.

These deaths will most likely not slow down the pirates at all.  As long as they keep getting money from the ship owners, they'll keep up their lucrative business.  $153,000 is a tidy sum here in the US but in Africa it's an amazing amount of money. The average personal income in Eastern Africa in 2006 was $370.  Only three countries have a personal income above a $1,000.  (Information on Somalia is sketchy at best and since they essentially have no government, finding numbers on them is difficult.) So $153,000 is at least 400 times the annual income one of these pirates can expect to earn.  Easily more than they can earn in a lifetime any other way. 

I don't condone their choice of business but the extreme poverty of the region, coupled with Somalia's lack of government, has created a situation that is a breeding ground for this kind of behavior.  But, hey, it's Africa, right?  Dark continent and all that. Savages.  What can you expect?

More from the First World countries.  Better from ourselves. We need to remember that huge portions of the world live in extreme poverty that we cannot even begin to comprehend.  And until the basic injustices of poverty are overcome, we should not be surprised at the outcome.

Not so funny, after all.

1 comment:

skyewriter said...

An excellent post, True Blue.

We all need to be thankful for the things we take for granted every day: clean water, a nice bed, food, and the luxury of keeping pets for companionship and not for food.

The poverty levels in Gaza and the West Bank are staggering, too. Heck, poverty (or something close to it) is the norm in probably 2/3 of the world.

As Americans we are very blessed to live in this country. I just wish I didn't feel so darned helpless about what to do to fix things in other places!