Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Where's the Compassion, America?

Pirate Killings Expose Somalia's Plight

ABC News, CBS News, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC and a host of other networks have been providing non-stop coverage of the “dramatic” rescue of Captain Richard Phillips by U.S. Navy Seals. Phillips has publicly expressed gratitude to the U.S. Navy and throngs of supporters who offered prayers during the ordeal. Commanding officers in the U.S. Navy have come forward to give media interviews about the drama at sea, and the people of Underhill, Vermont, the captain’s hometown, anxiously await the return of their hero. It’s a beautiful story and everyone in the country is rejoicing, right? Wrong!

I know I may become the most hated man in America after posting this commentary on my blog, but “The G-Man” could care less! I have a different position on the action taken by the U.S Navy and the order given by President Obama. While I am pleased that the boat captain was rescued and will be reunited with loved ones, I am deeply saddened to learn that the slain "pirates" were between the ages of 17 and 19. In my view, and anyone with an intense love for their teen(s) will agree, the victims were still babies and probably had no clue what they were getting themselves into. You want proof? Just look at the fact that the 16-year-old pirate surrendered peacefully to the U.S. Navy. More than likely, all four pirates knew they were in over their heads. They were probably scared shitless, but only the youngest had the courage to seek a way out.

I would offer that the only reason they hijacked the ship and took Phillips hostage was because they wanted ransom money to get food for themselves and their loved ones. Somalia is one of the poorest sections of the world, so it's no wonder that children and young men would be driven to such acts of desperation. When you couple this with the fact that rebel forces are either kidnapping or recruiting these kids, placing them into “pirate camps” and brainwashing them, it all begins to make sense as to why hijackings are steadily increasing and the pirates have become emboldened. In an attempt to survive and feed their families, they probably feel they have nothing to lose! America should understand this better than any nation on the planet because the same situation exists here.

The young pirates that were killed are no different from the "pirates" here in America, namely 'The Bloods', 'The Crips' and other lethal gangs whose members are as young as 12. They, too, are often driven to acts of desperation and crime as a means of survival after feeling all else has failed. Elders recruit them, too. They also take hostages when they sell drugs and force young girls into prostitution. They are also armed to the teeth and will not hesitate to use their weapons. Many of them also take the position that it's a matter of kill or be killed. The funny thing is, federal law enforcement agencies and cops across the country aren't taking out gangbangers with one shot. They simply help put as many as they can behind bars…. for as long as possible. As is the case with their African counterpart, gang members engage in tribal warfare in America by killing rival gang members. The social ills that have given rise to the pirates and U.S gangs are amazingly and frighteningly similar, and so is the fact that not much is being done to change their situation. This is why you have pirates roaming the seas and gangs roaming U.S. streets.

I understand the soldiers had a mission to fulfill. Once you raise your hand and take an oath, you do what you have to do. If grown-ass men want to act like they have no regard for human life or international law, then U.S. soldiers should do what they have to do. The G-Man totally gets that. What I don't understand is why no one in the American media, at the national or local level, is discussing the horrible and extreme conditions in Somalia, as well as other sections of Africa, that may have been the catalyst for this unfortunate event. What I don’t understand is why no one in America, including you Captain Phillips, has displayed any sympathy over the fact that three kids, who, again, may have been acting out of sheer desperation, or the result of brainwashing by rebels, had to die at the hands of U.S. Special Forces. President Obama has indicated that the pirate issue will be dealt with. Well, I have a question for you, Mr. President. The pirates have vowed revenge for the killing of their members. This being the case, if they start hijacking ships in record numbers, will you give the order for Navy Seals to shoot and kill 12 or 13-year-old pirates holding Americans hostage?

Photo: http://www.navy.mil/management/photodb/photos/081109-N-1082Z-051.jpg

Photo credit: Mass communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky

Copyright: Public Domain