THE SOMALIAN PIRATES

You may have heard or seen the caption Somalian pirates in/on the dailies, radio, or television from global broadcasting networks. But wait for a second, who are these dudes flooding the maritime media landscape like Michael Jackson in 1982?

Before august 2012, Somalia had been without an effective central government since the fall of Mohamed Said Barre’s regime in 1991. The rival fashions in the country profusely fought for power, which led to the country’s division into 3 separate regions.

In the Southern capital of Mogadishu, civil war persisted between UN funded transition federal government and the Islamic adversaries, Al-Shabaab. In closeness with Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab is in the dominance of southern Somalia. However, to be precise, the arm forces from other African countries have only been the impediments to Al-Shabaab’s full control over south Somalia, Mogadishu.

Gaakacyo, a city lying on the border between south Somalia and Puntland, has become a refuge for many things of violence. The border town of Gaakacyo has become a recruitment center of pirates for piracy. It is like the Lloyds house of London, where deals are made.

It is indisputable that the will has halted economic activities, causing an astronomical ratio of the country’s unemployment. Most of the people in the country survive on the incomes of relatives working and living abroad. These remittances represent a massive percentage of the Somali economy before the influential central government era.

Then again, it may interest you to know that the very few of the this abandoned Somalian youth who make it to Euro or the USA come back after a few couples of years and buy a piece of land, married to a second wife makes it much of a challenge to the domicile Somalian youth.

So how does any of these socio-economic crises offspring an incident like Captain Philips’s movie? Well, from the Somalian conviction, it all started with people who were fishermen and poor. These poor fishermen fish in the ocean with small boats. In the wake of their fishing activities, these poor fishermen’s nets are been taking by foreign fishing fleets. Fishermen in Eyl of the Somalia Indian ocean coast agonize the most, causing anger and resentment among local fisher folks.

With bigger hooks, these foreign fish fleets take everything that comes their way. The adverse effect on local fishermen’s profit is immense. Fishermen in Eyl used to fish on the shores, but the foreign fishing fleet invasion has caused deep sea fishing with no specialized or proper fishing apparatus.

Ok, so that caused it! The government wasn’t there anymore to guard the sea. As such, several foreign fishing fleets capitalize on the absence of coast guards, fish illegally, and sometimes even kill some people. This upset local fishermen and businesses in the chain. As psychiatry, Neuroscience, and behavioral research suggest, the propensity for reactive aggression (RA), which occurs in response to provocation, has been linked to hyperresponsivity of the mesocorticolimbic reward network in healthy adults. As such, these fishermen and allied services decided to retaliate. Unfortunately, the retaliation escalated to the hijacking of ships, including innocent passages. Pirates capture sailors, hold them hostage and slap huge ransoms over their lives.

At Eyl, pirates move openly in town since it has become a standard business of the day. Young unemployed eagerly await to be recruited for the next mission. Somalians are more family bonds and respect this bond than the government and the law. Relatives of the fishermen, like herdsmen, have all joined the pirate business with the excuse of preventing foreign ships from invasion. To pirates, they are not pirates; they are vigilantes protecting their ocean by punishing foreign ships exploiting their ocean.

So why is piracy a business? As you may know, in Gaakacyo, pirate leaders raise capital for individual missions to fund recruits. Businessmen invest in individual missions by contributing a share towards a mission cost in return for the same stake in ransom. In a case where a ransom is refused to be paid, the pirates take the hostages from the ship and burn the ship.   Pirate Pirates’investors, like any other investor, are not immune to the risk of losing everything when a pirate mission fails. Unfortunately, these losses can persist for about 10 times and, finally, jackpot. The potential risk of losing everything often influences pirate mission investors to be many, mitigating the impact once losses transpire. Operation cost for a red sea mission may run up to $20,000 due to its easiness. However, for an Indian Ocean operation, the cost could run up to $50,000. The element of cost consists of Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG), ammunitions (the value of the gun and the person carrying it)  

It is imperative to note that some of these businessmen investing in piracy were fish exporters. As the foreigners invaded, not only invasion but flying Somalia flag to fish posturing as Somalia ships have destroyed business and needed to find a new venture. Ships from Egypt, Holland, France, and Thailand were culpable.

However, despite the so-called vigilantism, locals are frequently in conflict with pirates due to the poor morals in the Somali culture. Poor morals manifest in the act of pirates desperately looking for dirty money while the locals try to make an honest living. The locals, including some fishermen suffering most in the invasion of the foreign ship, believe what the pirates are doing is illegal and unjustifiable.

Surprisingly amid all these adventuring pirate attacks, have you ever wondered why people at a tender age would embark on such suicidal missions, considering the inclement weather conditions and the risk of unknown they might encounter on board? Yes, the monitory element is crucial, but what about the journey of no return half of the balance? How can they incorporate such a misfeeling and espouse the psychological edge in such a windy decision? These so-called vigilantes must be brave; Well, not exactly as it seems.

Zooming into World War II explicitly in 1944, the Japanese kamikaze pilots made deliberate suicidal crashes into American ships. Apparently, kamikaze pilots are trained to die. In rituals, they drink rice wine to relax as they know death looms. During their mission, they will be giving Methamphetamine known as Totsugeki-Jo or storming tablets. The intent is to muddle through traumata, Physiological consequences, forget emotional memories, and combat fatigue. In the end, 3800 kamikaze pilots died throughout World War II.

In juxtaposing, the toughness and invincible bravery of Somalian pirates is the chewing of khat (Catha edulis Forsk), known in Somalia as “qaat” or “jaa.” A “plant” whose leaves and stem tips are chewed for their stimulating effect.

When a mission becomes accomplished and ransom is paid, money is shared according to predetermined contracts such as quotient towards the operational cost. Nonetheless, sometimes confrontations befall, which end up in killing each other. Shared amounts are sometimes invested in companies, real estate, travel abroad, women, alcohol, and drugs.

We all got a role to play as several external parties are involved in Somalia’sSomalia’sstate and its notorious piracy icon. Foreigners, organizations, and countries have their personal interests. Talking always of Somalia pirates with immense silence on foreign piracy on Somalia and many other African countries, forgetting that without justice, there is no peace.

The real stem must be uprooted rather than cut its branches because until we do that, we will all be marching towards the wrong target like the German army in 1943, heading towards disaster because we are basing our resolution on lies and disinformation.

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