Mumia Abu-Jamal, Prison Radio, April 20, 2009
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In the news of late is the piracy drama off Africa's horn -- the eastern coast of Somalia.
All of a sudden, piracy is a problem, one needing military, if not global solutions.
Every petty politician is bum-rushing the mike, to spout off on how pirates are "thugs", "criminals", or the latest Western curse, " terrorists".
Such pronouncements almost always leave me cold, or, at best, ambivalent, for behind these events lie a history that cries out for clarity and perspective.
If piracy is a crime when individuals do it, what is it when states do it?
Who can deny that America was stolen and swindled from the Indians? Or that millions of people were stolen from Africa to work for them for centuries?
Is that piracy-- or just plain policy?
Piracy did occur in the 17th and 18th centuries, and this was either cases of conflict between colonial powers (where British 'privateers', for example, would target and steal from Spanish ships), or simply in pursuit of profits.
The Somali state has been absent for a generation, and as such, what is today's piracy but making a living, albeit a dangerous one?
When Ethiopia was armed and egged on to invade Somalia several years ago by the Bush administration, was that state piracy?
When the U.S. invaded and occupied Iraq in 2003, removed it's government, imposed its puppets, bombed its people, and ran a third of its population into exile, based on lies--was this piracy of one nation against another--or 'national security?'
Pirates are retail; nations are wholesale.
Who are the 'thugs', the 'criminals', the real pirates?
To my knowledge, no band of pirates has ever stolen a nation.
Guess who has?
--(c) '09 maj
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