In his weekly column, rapper John Brown—the self-proclaimed "King Of Da Burbz"—will be offering his insight into politics and current events to the Complex readers. Check out "Politickin With John Brown" every Thursday.
Last week, Americans were formally introduced to Somalian piracy when a U.S. cargo ship was attacked and its captain held for ransom. In what seemed like a suspiciously made-for-Hollywood scenario, President O-bomb-ya sent in the SEALS who murked the young buccaneers and rescued the Captain. Recently, pirate attacks along the coast of Somalia have intensified. But are these young men cynical thieves or heroic coast guards of their country? It depends who you ask. Let's examine some of the possible explanations behind these deep-sea jack moves and get some clarity...
• About 43% of Somalians live below the poverty line and civil unrest makes international aid difficult. Let's face it, the youth need a hustle. Last year, pirates made off with about $80 million in ransom payoffs after seizing 42 vessels. Not a bad return.
• The Somalian-born recording artist K'naan helped to broaden the public dialogue about the situation. While speaking with Shade45 radio goddess, Angela Yee, he explained the complexities and noted that the government's been destabilized since 1991 with no central structure of authority. You can listen to the interview here.
ILLEGAL COMMERCIAL FISHING
• Many Somalians claim that foreign commercial fishing companies have been illegally exploiting the waters for highly demanded seafood, such as yellowfin tuna. This has apparently cost Somalians $300 million annually and destroyed the livelihoods of local fishermen.
RADIOACTIVE TOXIC-WASTE DUMPING
• In October of last year, Al Jazeera reported that pirates seized a Ukrainian ship and demanded $8 million to clean up illegal radioactive toxic dumping by European and Asian countries. Dumping waste in the Gulf of Aden apparently costs $2.50 a ton compared to $1,000 per ton in Europe. Now that's just foul.
***Also be sure to download John Brown's new mixtape, THE SUBURBAN EMPIRE.