Pirating to Freedom: Somalis Find Pirating (and Arrest) As Avenue to a Better Life in the West

250px-Pirate_Flag_of_Rack_Rackham.svgPirates being tried in the Netherlands are announced that they want to stay in the country — citing such things as the toilets in their cell as just one of the great things about the country. One Dutch professor has suggested that the promise of a better life in the West might be a good incentive for pirates to surrender.

Geert-Jan Knoops, criminal defense attorney and professor at the Royal University of Utrecht, observed that “[t]hese trials may trigger other pirates to let themselves be arrested on purpose.”

One pirate is quoted as saying “Life is good here. I appeal to the government not to send me back to Somalia. The people who live here respect human rights. I wish to settle here.” His lawyer said that his client has complained about life in his village due to poverty and harsh application of sharia law.

Of course, such immigration policies worked for countries like Australia. We will know that the promise of arrest is driving piracy by looking for five telltale signs:

1. Pirates are questioning boats about their country and women before boarding (with Italian and French boats being magnates for “pirate asylum seekers”).

2. Pirates are boarding with travel maps, cameras, and Fodder’s guides.

3. Pirates are demanding money and a europass.

4. Pirate boats are festooned with signs that read “Paris is for Somali Lovers” and “Bonn of Bust” and the Jolly Roger has sunglasses and sun screen.

5. Pirates insist that ransom be paid in travel coupons and duty free products.

For the full story, click here.

22 thoughts on “Pirating to Freedom: Somalis Find Pirating (and Arrest) As Avenue to a Better Life in the West”

  1. Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of rum works for me. Is that a cheap mange de twas oh whats a saying the French use again.

  2. Buddha:

    “I always (always!) have to resist the compulsion to go for the easy joke whenever someone mentions Balzac.”


    I shudder to think what you say when I quote Simon Peter then!! 🙂

  3. I always (always!) have to resist the compulsion to go for the easy joke whenever someone mentions Balzac. I know. Sad, isn’t it? 😀

  4. “Big green blow flies breed in manure, much like politicians use lobbyists”


  5. A Working Class Pirate is Something to Be:

    Great Balzac quote. Here’s another:

    “Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught.”

  6. Don’t care how many people the pirates had killed. When you hijack a ship by force and take hostages those are the repercussions of your actions. We didn’t escalate anything, we saved a life.

  7. Chris,
    How many people had the Somali “Pirates” kill before we started shooting them? How many will be killed now?

  8. You said “our escalations” as if we had done something wrong. That is what I was referring to.

  9. Chris,
    Do you believe everything that you get from the MSM? Should these “pirates” be dealt with? Absolutely. However, there should also be investigations of what suddenly sent these fishermen into the pirate business. Perhaps then a less violent way could be found to stop the piracy. Perhaps though, since they are Africans, from a “primitive” society, just killing them all would be the best way to handle it.

  10. I vote for a Texas-style Castle Doctrine for Ships.

    Establish a safe GPS-defined shipping lane that is off-limits to all small vessels.

    Have a loud speaker warning in the Somali language reverberating:

    If you do not cease and desist and continue to proceed within 50 meters of our ship, you will be fired upon; aka blown out of the water.

  11. And to think that you have to call yourself a Pirate do do the things that Dick Cheney does everyday. Would the Dutch offer Mr. Cheney asylum? They can surely have him.

  12. WoolieB:

    “European over fishing of Somalian waters seriously impacting the ability of Somalians to feed them selves.”

    isnt it more like festering lawless country with no government and no individual rights?

    It is more than European over fishing, that is the least of Somalia’s worries. I dont think we can blame this one on those money grubbing imperialist capitalist pigs.

  13. whooliebacon,
    I’ve read and heard of the same problem. These “pirates” are fishermen, unable to ply their trade and coming from an impoverished nation. They were not into killing people, although since our escalations this might have changed. When you have desperate people and are preventing them from getting food and money they will tend to act with desperation. Calling these ragtag groups pirates dehumanizes them and makes them seem dangerous and comical at the same time. How about someone looking into why industrialized nations are polluting their fishing grounds and maybe a peaceful solution can be worked out.

  14. To paraphrase Balzac, ‘behind every great fortune, is a great crime.’ From the de Medicis to the Kennedys to the mafia, crime and exploitation have always been a great way to get one’s progeny up the social latter. Besides, they’re never gonna make a movie about the family justly awarded a great deal of land at the time of the Magna Carta and through a strong tradition of rigorous civic duty and non-exploitative business practices maintained their considerable fortune.

  15. Read somewhere that Somalian waters seems to be a grand industrial waste dumping ground for the rest of the world not to mention European over fishing of Somalian waters seriously impacting the ability of Somalians to feed them selves.

    Let medical waste float up on other Nations shores. Yep, that’s civilized all right.

  16. I am not sure that offering the pirates a better home in another country is the way to stop the hijackings. Maybe arming the ships and work on cleaning up Somalia so that they have a future in their home country might make more sense.

  17. “Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
    We pillage, we plunder, we rifle, and loot,
    Drink up, me ‘earties, yo ho.
    We kidnap and ravage and don’t give a hoot,
    Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.”

    You mean it’s not all fun and games like the song?

  18. Truly bizarre, but if true, all the more reason to apply old school maritime justice to the pirates. The last thing the Civilized World needs is an increase in Somali pirates due to it being a way out of Somalia and into Civilized nations.

    Rope + Yardarm + Cameras = discouraging a bad idea. 😉

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