At a dinner in NYC in December I listened to a journalist from Somalia who runs the only local news web site in Mogadishu and reports for most of the international press. His discussion focused on the funding of the prirates and the distribution of the ransom money - and the industry that it has evolved into. The pirates get their funding and the majority of their arms from the various Islamic warlords/groups in the country. The ransom proceeds are divided roughly 30% to the warlords/groups, 30% to the local tribal authorities, 30% to the pirate group itself. I would suggest that the average pirate may get funds that might be used for medicine, food and blankets for his family but the "spoils" - according to the Somali reporter - tend to go to 4 Wheel drive vehicles, "fancy women," elaborate houses and the trappings of wealth; not "family value" expenditure.
Do we believe that we should permit individuals to violate international and local laws and customs to feed and clothe their family? Or should we expect, as the the hard life throughout history has shown, some of the disadvantaged can claw their way to a better life without recourse to violence and illegality and some, sadly, can not.
I may be a more attractive catch than a net full of fish, the fisherman's kids may need the proceeds from the theft of my vessel, but I'm not prepared for a world that allows the confiscation of my boat for someone else's benefit.
And as SD notes and the Somali journalist confirms; we are a long way from poor fisherman and a good way to dangerous kleptocracy on an industrial scale.
And the poor British couple are not having a good time of it -
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