April 27, 2009
Abdulh Wali-I-Musi, (age to be determined) is facing trial in the U.S. for his action in the pirating of the U.S. merchant ship. (See last week’s entry.)
There are many questions to be answered and the trial will determine whether he is guilty or innocent, at least according to U.S. law.
The question whether they are pirates or extortionists is legitimate. Historically, pirates capture the ships and cargo. These young men capture the ships and take the crew hostage for a ransom and then return the ship, cargo and crew.
What the trial may not address are the circumstances in which these teenagers are recruited to perform these unjustifiable and unacceptable acts.
Some might argue that it is irrelevant, that a crime has been committed and that someone has to pay.
There is however a difference between an excuse and an explanation. There are no excuses for such acts but sometimes explanations can lead to prevention.
Below are some undisputed facts.
- Somali is one of the world’s poorest countries.
- The average wage in Somalia is $2 a day.
- According to the UN, waste, including nuclear waste is being dumped illegally and regularly within the territorial waters of the country thus dramatically reducing fishing in those waters and depriving Somali of one of its source of income.
There has not been so, far any fatalities among the hostages taken by the pirates. They have all been freed once the ransom was paid.
People that are desperate and have “nothing to lose” do desperate things. It is true that there are millions of people that are desperate and yet they don’t resort to violence and terrorism. However, we should not ignore the correlation between despair and violence.
It is the responsibility of the rich to alleviate the harsh living conditions of the poor, whether on an individual level or on a global level. Rich nations have a responsibility towards the less fortunate.
We should give people hope and “something to lose.”
Professor Armand Abecassis, French Jewish philosopher and author once said that at the Judgment Day we will not be able to give, as the excuse, for not helping the poor, that we did not have enough because the answer will be: “Yes, but you ate.”
Terrorism and crime has to be opposed with full determination but addressing some of the causes of despair in the world could greatly reduce its occurrence.