Friday, November 21, 2008

Phantom! Save Us From The Pirates!

When I was a kid, long, long ago, Phantom and Mandrake were very popular comics. At least, in India.

The recurring theme of Phantom, of course, are pirates. In fact, the first in the line of Phantom was a victim of piracy. And since then each son (if I remember correctly, one was a daughter - one of the twins; not absolutely sure though) of the 21 generations took the following oath "I swear to devote my life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty, and injustice, in all their forms, and my sons and their sons shall follow me."

Some of the comics involved high sea piracy with gun toting, helicopter flying pirates. This was all good fun. as the idea of pirates in the 20th/21st century was quite, well, anachronistic. Every time a ship was seized by the pirates, Diana (his beautiful wife) would be on it. Phantom would then sneak in and thrash the hell out of the pirates, each with a skull mark on his jaw. Good fun.

Looks like Somalia pirates have read Phantom in great detail. And decided that piracy makes good business after all. No competition, no regulations, easy target.

But how did the Somalians start off with piracy? There has to be a reason. Phantom cannot be one of these. As I googled I found my favourite theory of Chaos coming to life. I was surprised by what I read. So, in the true tradition of story telling ...

Once upon a time, US launched a war against terror. At that time Somalia was limping back to some sort of normalcy. Ismalic courts promised to end the lawlessness. However, as usual, without understanding the social context, the Islamic court received bad press in the west. Following the equation, Islam = Al Quaeda = Terrorism, US sponsored invasion of Somalia by Ethiopia. The rule of Islamic courts was destroyed. Lawlessness promptly returned. I am not sure if Al-Qaeda had a presence in Somalia or not, but now it certainly has. Exactly opposite of what was intended. Some of the Somalian Warlords saw opportunity in sea. High sea piracy is a manifestation of this lawlessness.

You just have to google to check out the numerous articles supporting the above story.

Even Phantom will not be able to solve this problem. His methods are similar to the war on terror. Use violence to crush violence. This does not work. Terror is a symptom. Need to address the root cause.

Did you like this post? Then perhaps you would also like my other articles on terrorism!

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