Monday, April 13, 2009
K'naan Sounds Off On Somali Pirates
April 12th, 2009 | Author: Anthony Springer Jr
With the majority of the country celebrating the safe return of Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates, rapper/activist K’naan has stepped forward to add a little nuance to an often untold story.
In a new blog posting on the Huffington Post, K’naan takes the media to task for “lopsided journalism,” and explains that the situation with piracy in Somalia is “complicated.”
“It's true that the constant hi-jacking of vessels in the Gulf of Aden is a major threat to the vibrant trade route between Asia and Europe,” he explains. “It is also true that for most of the pirates operating in this vast shoreline, money is the primary objective.”
However, K’naan also notes that money isn’t the only driver behind hijacked ships—the safety of Somali citizens, an unstable government and the dumping of toxic waste also fuel pirate attacks.
“In 2004, after a tsunami washed ashore several leaking containers, thousand of locals in the Puntland region of Somalia started to complain of severe and previously unreported ailments, such as abdominal bleeding, skin melting off and a lot of immediate cancer-like symptoms. Nick Nuttall, a spokesman for the United Nations Environmental Program, says that the containers had many different kinds of waste, including ‘Uranium, radioactive waste, lead, Cadmium, Mercury and chemical waste.’
“But this wasn't just a passing evil from one or two groups taking advantage of our unprotected waters. The UN envoy for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, says that the practice still continues to this day.”
K’naan foreshadows a pending showdown between security companies looking to cash in on pirate attacks and the pirates who defend their homeland—in addition to ransom money for goods.
“…while NATO and the EU are both sending forces to the Somali coast to try and slow down the attacks, Black Water and all kinds of private