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Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:06 AM

Somalia: Progress on a Constitution

Source: New York Times

Delegates agreed Wednesday to a new draft constitution for Soma that is meant to help the violence-torn East African country return to stability. The delegates finished their deliberations despite a suicide bombing outside the conference. Two bombers were involved in the attack, with one of them killing six security officers, the police said. The other attacker was shot and killed before he could detonate his bomb, they said. The Shabaab, a group linked to Al Qaeda, said they were behind the attack.

The draft constitution will replace an eight-year old Transitional Federal Charter.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/02/world/africa/somalia-progress-on-a-constitution.html



I have mixed feelings about Somalia. I'm definitely in favor of a move toward democracy and less violence. But I sort of support them sucking some money out of the oil industry by taking the tankers. As long as nobody is killed, go for it. The industry itself is basically highway robbery.

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Somalia: Progress on a Constitution (Original post)
jade3000 Aug 2012 OP
Glaug-Eldare Aug 2012 #1
jade3000 Aug 2012 #4
JustABozoOnThisBus Aug 2012 #5
AtheistCrusader Aug 2012 #8
Glaug-Eldare Aug 2012 #9
jade3000 Aug 2012 #10
Glaug-Eldare Aug 2012 #11
Did I Just Type This Aug 2012 #2
valerief Aug 2012 #3
JustABozoOnThisBus Aug 2012 #6
valerief Aug 2012 #7

Response to jade3000 (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:41 AM

1. Your feelings about pirates should not be mixed.

Last edited Thu Aug 2, 2012, 07:17 AM - Edit history (2)

I have mixed feelings about Somalia. I'm definitely in favor of a move toward democracy and less violence. But I sort of support them sucking some money out of the oil industry by taking the tankers. As long as nobody is killed, go for it. The industry itself is basically highway robbery.


Current vessels held by Somali pirates:
Vessels: 11 Hostages: 174.

I'm a sailor, so I'm going to speak up for those 174 brothers of mine. One hundred seventy-four human beings held prisoner for months by violent criminals thousands of miles from their homes and families. These qat-crazy pirates are attacking innocent people with deadly weapons, kidnapping them at gunpoint, robbing them of their personal effects, cutting off their contact with their families, isolating them from each other, holding them for many months on end, torturing and degrading them, starving them, using them as human shields, threatening them with execution, and yes, murdering them. Thirty-five of us in 2011, according to Oceans Beyond Piracy. My brothers are not being kept in safety and comfort awaiting speedy release. These innocent sailors are nothing more than cattle to the pirates, and their living conditions are not humane. Some of their employers (and governments!) don't give a damn whether they're held hostage or not, and won't lift a finger to free them. That can't be supported, no matter how much the pirates are "sticking it to the oil companies."

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Response to Glaug-Eldare (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:24 AM

4. Your feelings shouldn't be so one-sided

The ships and people targeted by the Somalis are hardly "innocent sailors."  Many are part of extremely violent and exploitive industries.  The Somalis have captured ships transporting weapons, oil, industrial chemicals and so on.  The ships have been observed dumping waste into Somali waters damaging livelihoods and health.  The ships are almost all armed, and they've killed more Somalis than the other way around.  And I'm sure I don't have to remind you of the hundreds of thousands killed on behalf of these industries in various wars and actions for the past 10 years.  None of us "innocent" in this exploitive, militarized global economy.

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Response to jade3000 (Reply #4)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:46 AM

5. If you can justify piracy because the victims may not be 100% pure ...

... then maybe the victims in a Colorado theater deserved to be shot. Heck, some of them were military, so hardly innocent.

No, I think there is no justification for piracy. And if a sailor works for a company that may be part of an exploitive industry, well how is that different from many of us. If the work puts food on the table ...

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Response to jade3000 (Reply #4)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:05 PM

8. What a crock of shit.

"The ships have been observed dumping waste into Somali waters damaging livelihoods and health."
ONLY the ships they captured were dumping in their waters, or are they just capturing whatever they can get ahold of? (Of course, this is a leading question, there are obviously ships that have been captured that had nothing whatsoever to do with dumping anything)


"The ships are almost all armed, and they've killed more Somalis than the other way around."
This is complete bullshit. Most of these ships are completely unarmed. Some are improvising things, like water cannons, but not weapons.

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Response to jade3000 (Reply #4)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:47 PM

9. I'm not sure where you're getting this from

I don't mean to be insulting or condescending, but you've got inaccurate information. I'm an active mariner (aboard a ship at this moment, actually) so I'm going to describe what's wrong with what you've been told.

First, you're describing seafarers as complicit in nefarious actions by their employers and charterers. By this logic, freight pilots, truck drivers, train engineers, and janitors are culpable if their employers are even tangentially involved in evildoing. I'm presently working on a ship owned by a large shipping company carrying hundreds of sealed containers. I am not entitled to know what is inside those containers, we are forbidden to inspect their contents, and we have very little interest in what is in them, as long as it's not damaged. It could be anything. Really, use your imagination! Am I, as an afloat employee of the carrier, liable for the actions of the shipper or the receiver? Requiring crew approval of every parcel of freight (to ensure our moral purity) is absurd. Weapons, oil, and industrial chemicals are all legitimate commodities, and it is not immoral to transport them. Weapons are necessary for defense. I'm confident you purchase petroleum products regularly. Industry is not evil by definition, nor are the chemicals needed for industrial processes.

Second, you describe seafarers as destructive to the environment and human life. Unfortunately, there is a small minority of shipping companies which disregard enviromental laws (known as MARPOL, if you'd like to google it). Most companies rigorously observe its restrictions on the disposal of garbage, oil, and sewage. As for armament, very few ships actually possess any arms at all. Most are limited to fire hoses and axes, while a fair number have invested in barbed wire, LRADs, and other non-lethal measures. Recently, some companies have begun putting armed private security aboard their ships to protect them. Frankly, I think it's depressing that it's come to this, since the seas should be for peace. Unfortunately, these measures become necessary when pirates are demanding such a high price in suffering and money.

Third, you describe our involvement in the transportation industry as inextricable from corporate war, and say that none of us are innocent. If none of us are innocent, then would you be gratified to see a lumber company secretary raped? Would it be no big deal if the custodian at an oil company office was assaulted by a mugger? If a tanker truck driver is beaten to death filling up a BP station, was he just getting what he had coming?

Another problem is that you seem to be imagining that the pirates care whether they're attacking guilty or innocent ships. If they're willing to attack ships carrying food aid, it's unlikely that any high-minded moral argument about guilt or innocence is on their minds at all. These are people who are committing violent criminal acts in order to get money. Period. Justifying it by saying that, "well, a few ships misbehave" or "well, sealift is inherently evil" makes as much sense to me as shooting every Arab I see and explaining, "well, some of them are terrorists."

I hope you'll reconsider your ideas of guilt and innocence -- we're just trying to get paid and go home.

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Response to Glaug-Eldare (Reply #9)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:10 PM

10. Thanks for the thoughtful reply

I appreciate your taking the time to explain your position and experience. I see your points. Without sounding condenseding myself, you just showed me a great example oF what's good about the Internet -- free exchange of ideas between people with different points of view. For that, thank you.

To me, what it comes down to is that we're all trying to make some money in an unfair global economy. The pirates certainly aren't saints, and I disagree with much of what they do. But it's really their violence that I disagree with. Detaining ships and collecting ransom is not that different from tax enforcement (hopefully that doesn't sound insulting). The problem is, like you say, they're abusing people who have little power and say in the overall scheme. Also, because Somalia lacks a strong, stable, and nominally peaceful government, this type of enforcement is done by thugs instead of through negotiation of international treaties and maritime law regarding extent of territorial waters and passage through them.

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Response to jade3000 (Reply #10)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 02:06 AM

11. It's not enforcement -- it's piracy

International maritime law guarantees freedom of navigation, even through Somalian waters. It's called the doctrine of "innocent passage," and it means that no state can punish a merchant ship for merely traveling through their territorial waters. That's the only "crime" these ships are committing, and some of them aren't even doing that. Virtually none of them perform any unusual dumping in their waters, attack their boats, harvest their fish, or even approach their shore. Somali pirates have attacked ships in Yemeni waters and on the high seas, where even a legitimate Somalian Coast Guard would have no right to interfere with them. Even in their home waters, they wouldn't be empowered to attack us without a formal blockade.

I have great sympathy for the plight of Somalia, and I'm disgusted by the way they've been abused, but theoretical crimes don't provide any justification whatsoever for indiscriminate robbery, kidnapping, torture, and murder.

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Response to jade3000 (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:18 AM

2. I feel for Somalia

 

The suffering seems endless, god bless the citizens and let's hope for peace and growth.

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Response to jade3000 (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 09:41 AM

3. But I thought Somalia was the Libertarian and Free Trade and Small Government Paradise. nt

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Response to valerief (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:48 AM

6. That's "small governments" - plural

every warlord is a king, every citizen a serf. Maybe not a paradise.

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Response to JustABozoOnThisBus (Reply #6)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:23 AM

7. Not to a thinking person but to a teabagger. nt

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