mercredi 9 avril 2008

More hostages

The crew of a luxury French yacht Le Ponant ('The West') have been taken hostage in the Gulf of Aden by a well organised gang of twenty first century pirates. Your postmodern pirate isn't some peglegged hook waving, parrot sporting, beardy old sea dog, but a well groomed AK-47 sporting technological whizz kid. They've got mobile phones! Radios! Satellite systems! Loads of guns and boats! And without a Jolly Roger in sight, Yahoo France reports aghast, they rob yes, rob up to 300 mainly western ships of their goods and booty.
Through those rubbishy Pirates of the Carribean films, Saturday afternoon flicks from the fifties with rugged heroes forced to walk the plank and Peter Pan etc. - you'd be forgiven for thinking that all this pirate stuff was a thing of the past, that people would have moved on. But they're still out there - globalisation's outlaws - picking on the poor defenceless idle rich.
The French TV news leads the chorus of shocked indignation. Another assault on our civilisation - just like the unions who took the travelling public 'hostage' back last year. . .yawn. It's subliminal, but there is a racial element to it too. The pirates are from East Africa and their "lair" (they actually used the word) is somewhere in Somalia. The telly is saying - "Look, the West robs you and your country. That's globalisation and just and proper it is too. This, this! Blacks stealing from whites! is an international outrage!" (Minion Kouchener is on to the UN to get some kind of thang going - don't watch this space. . .).
Sarkozy himself has met with the families of some of the crew. He's best in these (supposedly) good/bad situations. There's an easy narrative (nasty terrorist outlaw 'other' versus poor innocent Westerners) to be told and re-told with the septic troll himself as the knight in shining armour who will come to the rescue and salvage a few popularity points for his sinking ship ratings. The reality behind it doesn't get a look in - if you flaunt your ill-gotten gains around the poorest areas of the world - you get what's coming to you. Aaar Me hearties!