Somali pirates part of bigger picture

May 12, 2009 — by Ben Clement

By now everybody (with the exception of some clueless Saratogans) has heard of the notorious Somali pirates and their increasingly daring exploits. Embarrassingly, this news is surprising to many.

Think about the situation as a whole for a second. Somalia has lacked a competent central government since as early as 1990 due to civil war.

These pirates have nothing to lose. Their families have been starving for decades and the European ships that come through the gulf only belong to the people who they see as creating the abysmal situation in not just Somalia, but that entire hemisphere.

Most people who have taken World History should know that the Europeans ruthlessly exploited the eastern hemisphere for nearly two centuries. The United States was no better, manipulating various peoples and nations in the interest of oil and combating communism.

The situation in Somalia, and crises in many other “Third World” countries, shouldn’t be surprising to any one.

This is why it’s concerning that most people I talk to either aren’t aware of these issues or have heard about them, but never give them a second thought. How can we hope to improve anything in the world when we don’t even keep ourselves informed?

These oppressed peoples are no longer standing idly by as Sept. 11, the war in Iraq, the riots in France and the Somali pirates all prove. It is becoming increasingly dangerous to be an American in the world and unless drastic measures are taken, the animosity towards America will only get worse.

I don’t know about you, but I want to die of natural causes, and I don’t want to live in a post- nuclear holocaust world. However, my chances are rapidly decreasing because of the way our nation has handled its foreign affairs.

For example, the money spent in Iraq could have made an enormous difference in alleviating poverty in the U.S. and other areas in need but instead it all went to making enemies.

Countless blunders of this nature have been made by the U.S. in recent years but leaders making the errors seem to not only escape blame but even get re-elected.

Before you vote, or donate to relief organizations, study the issue you’re supporting. Donating helps, but if you’re informed, then you can also inform your peers, perhaps inspiring them to take up the cause.

Above all, don’t be ignorant, it’s just embarrassing.

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