“First of all, let me say just three words. I’m bloody mad.” I want to present, as Jack Webb used to say on Dragnet, “Just The Facts Ma’am. Just The Facts” That is what I will present.
Have you ever noticed that there are two sides to a coin? Why is it that we only hear one side by the media? And, when I say media, I mean world wide. Now, let’s take the Somali pirates for example. The media is spending hours of television time on the Captain of the Maresk Alabama, which, don’t forget, fly's the American Flag, not Liberian or Panamanian. He’s a hero. He “sacrificed” his life for his crew. He did? Really? Not for the cargo, not for the ship, not for the Company he works for, not for the United States of America, not to suppress terrorism, shall I go on? So, why are these Somali terrorists, pirates, gun-toting grenade-launching, suicidal young men taking these chances with, as is now being reported, with death, by the sharp shooting American Seal Units? Why are they, the pirates, being so bold? And for what purpose? What have we, as a world populace, done to these individuals to deserve this kind of treatment? Here are some facts, and you, the reader, figure it out. If you can’t, I will not print what I want to say to you. This is what you don’t know. This is what the press and the world media don’t want to tell you. You won’t read it in the profitable newspapers around the world. You won’t see or hear it on CNN, or Skynews, or the BBC, NBC, CBC, ABC, CBS, FOX or the other, so called, media information networks. What fools we are. These international conglomerates refuse to let the public know the WHOLE STORY. They give us the half that makes the story and their paper saleable and for justice, freedom and the way they want the public to perceive the news. But not both sides of the story. What you are about to read is on the web. Everywhere. First, remember this article from Feb. 2006? It was first reported in a small local newspaper in Texas and because of the public’s arousal, it was finally reported around the world. “Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded a prominent Austin, Tex., lawyer on Saturday while the two men were quail hunting in South Texas, firing a shotgun at the man while trying to aim for a bird.” I always thought quail flew. Or, do we shoot quail on the ground? Maybe, it’s that prominent Texas’s lawyers fly. Am I confused? That’s for another blog. And a doozy that will be.
Now, for the other side of the coin: Did you know.....
Point One: To dump a load of “Toxic” waste in Europe, costs firms $1,000.00 dollars per tonne for incineration or burial. Those firms? Check it out. Achair Partners, and an Italian waste broker, Progresso-and representatives. ( You won’t find that in your popular newspaper.) In Somalia, the warlords then in power, accepted 10 million tonne's of toxic waste in exchange for $80 million U.S. then, about £60 million. This waste was dumped off-shore in the Indian Ocean, east of the shores of Somalia. (Nor that tid bit of info.) What compounded issues, was the effect of the tsunami from the horrible 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Banda Achi, Sumatra on Dec. 26th, 2004. This released additional toxic waste by the enormous waves and additional contaminants that were brought ashore. The effect? How’s this for starters. According to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) assessment mission, there are far higher than normal cases of respiratory infections, mouth ulcers and bleeding, abdominal hemorrhages and unusual skin infections among many inhabitants of the areas around the northeastern towns of Hobyo and Benaadir in Somalia on the Indian Ocean coast-diseases consistent with radiation sickness. UNEP continues, "that the current situation along the Somali coastline poses a very serious environmental hazard not only in Somalia but also in the eastern Africa sub-region." If this were happening to your siblings, would this be enough to make you do something about it? No? Not enough to make you mad? Okay, let’s add a little more to this pot of filth.
Point Two: The UN envoy for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has stated that "because there is no (effective) government, there is ... much irregular fishing from European and Asian countries,"and that the UN has "reliable information" that European and Asian companies are dumping toxic and nuclear waste off of the Somali coastline. Gee, how about that. Nuclear waste. However, he stresses that "no government has endorsed this act, and that private companies and individuals “acting alone are responsible." In addition, Ould-Abdallah told the press that he believes the toxic waste dumping is "a disaster off the Somali coast, a disaster for the Somali environment, the Somali population," and that what he terms "this illegal fishing, illegal dumping of waste" helps fuel the civil war in Somalia since the illegal foreign fishermen pay off corrupt local officials or warlords for protection or to secure counterfeit licenses.
Point Three: Illegal trawlers began fishing Somalia's seas with an estimated $300 million of tuna, shrimp, and lobster being taken each year depleting stocks previously available to local fishermen. Through interception with speedboats, Somali fishermen tried to either dissuade the dumpers and trawlers or levy a "tax" on them as compensation. In an interview, Sugule Ali, one of the pirate leaders explained "We don't consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits to be those who illegally fish and dump in our seas." Peter Lehr, a Somalia piracy expert at the University of St. Andrews says "It's almost like a resource swap, Somalis collect up to $100 million a year from pirate ransoms off their coasts and the Europeans and Asians poach around $300 million a year in fish from Somali waters." To lure fish to their traps, foreign trawlers reportedly also use fishing equipment under prohibition such as nets with very small mesh sizes and sophisticated underwater lighting systems. Did you know that? No? I’m going to ask you, why not?
Point Four: On the other hand, many other Somali residents appreciate the rejuvenating effect that the pirates' on-shore spending and re-stocking has had on their impoverished towns, a presence which has oftentimes provided jobs and opportunity when there were none. Entire hamlets have in the process been transformed into veritable boomtowns, with local shop owners and other residents using their gains to purchase items such as generators -- "allowing full days of electricity, once an unimaginable luxury."
So, who is right and who is wrong? The Somali pirates have never shot anyone. Have never blown anything up for that matter. They haven’t even gun-whipped or physically harmed a single person during the coarse of their activities. They have though, shot into steel floating-behemoths (we know them as super-tankers and the like.) and not human flesh. My goodness, the Navy Seals didn’t do that, did they. They shot and killed humans. Is it wrong what the pirates are doing? Yes. Their reasoning for doing so? I understand. Are they getting the world’s attention? You had better believe it. Go to Google Earth. Take a good look at Somalia’s shoreline. Check out the entire coast-line, then the interior. I mean take a GOOD look. No electricity, no potable water, no land to grow crops, mostly sand, the lack of a stable government and worst of all, no future. Warlords, vigilantism, gangs and corrupt officials run the country. Ah, what the heck. If we put our heads in the sand long enough, the situation will go away. Right? How wrong we are.
Next time, think twice before making a decision on whether you hear the truth or half truths or simply fabrication. Read in between the lines. All you read is not gospel. It’s all there for you to read, see and hear the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Sounds like a court of law doesn’t it? What is ultimately needed, is a functioning effective government that will get its act together and take control of its affairs. If we can come together, let’s do something constructive. There is always the right solution. And you know something? With love, faith, hard work, and humility for our fellow human being, it will work. And please, get ALL the facts first before making an incorrect assumption. Comments? Love to hear from you. W.A.Riley