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What about American Pirates?

Is Somalia any different from Wall Street?
Robert Maier
Sunday 12 April 2009

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Global news is awash with the pirate story off the coast of Somalia. Oh those villainous pirates how dare they covet the riches of the West that sail by their desperate homeland? How dare they emulate that beloved villain of Western culture, Robin Hood? Hundreds of millions of dollars of American military might and even the FBI surround the bobbing little lifeboat where a single U.S. citizen is held hostage. So much activity for a paltry $2 million dollar ransom. Surely it costs that much to maintain the American flotilla there every day.

Meanwhile, this weekend’s news informs that one of Obama’s main financial advisors, Laurence Summers, former Wall Street figurehead and former president of Harvard University received millions of dollars in very part-time consultant and speaking fees from Wall Street last year. Now he’s “helping” the U.S. out of its financial problems, advising how the trillions of dollars in bailout money should be spent. How nice of him. Everybody, please check your wallets.

People around the world have a great distaste and mistrust of the big American/Western bankers who engineered the recent financial bubble and its collapse that is leaving impoverished millions in its wake. These financial wizards skimmed/stole billions of dollars from the hard earned pension funds and taxes from citizens in nearly every country. Surely these actions mirror the intent, spirit and facts of the Somali pirates. The only difference is the Somalis attracted the U.S. Navy, and Wall Street was bailed out with... taxpayer money from across the globe.

Why wasn’t Manhattan surrounded by the U.S. military in the past year? Million dollar bonuses were paid by taxpayers and golden parachutes deployed. Knowing winks, nods, and shoulder shrugs passed between Congress and Wall Street, along with billions in blank checks.

It’s fair to say that not even Bernie Madoff and his family will suffer a tiny peep compared with the starving Somali pirates’ families will experience when they are bombed back to the stone age (oops, they’re already there!). Wouldn’t it be a great idea for Madoff and the other Wall Street pirates to be exiled to Somalia where they can perform community service. They can help build a stable, fair government, like we have in the U.S.? Surely they’ll find much in common, spiritually, if not in tactics with their bretheren. Consider it a cultural exchange. The Americans will explain Derivitives, and the Somalis will demonstrate RPGS and AK-47s Prison furnished by Ritz Carlton, please.

I vote that the motto for this era of Pirates of All Sorts should be Woody Guthrie’s “some will rob you with a six-gun, and some with a fountain pen.”

Kabulpress English pages editor, writer, video producer and educator.

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