Somali pirates have grabbed a lot of media attention lately and understandably so. Pirates make for an easy way to write about Somalia. There is little need for journalists to face the risks of travel in Somalia. They can write from the safety of Nairobi. There is no need for long complex explanations of fractured social systems, failed international interventions, war crimes, acute malnutrition, or clan and factional politics. It’s just nice clean swashbuckling pirate fun.
This Listening Post episode from AlJazeera does a good job of moving beyond the media hype. It is well worth the download time. Take special note of the comments by the International Crisis Group spokesman and those of Lynne Fredriksson of Amnesty International.
To paraphrase Lynne the Somali pirates are merely the symptom. The disease is the situation in Somalia itself. Which begs the question; do we treat the symptom or the disease?