Whether fuelled on Red Bull and Greggs pasties, or khat – it seems there is a degree of synergy between the lawless gangs which laid waste much of the UK last month, and with the young Somalis heading out to strike at shipping. The terrain and rewards may differ, but there are many parallels.
While watching the rolling news coverage of the London and inner city riots in the UK we could well have been listening to the hand wringing about the problems out at sea. Swap the hostile hoodies and mayhem for aggressive Somalis in boats and the death and destruction are remarkably similar.
With chaos prompted by greed, disaffection, drugs and a lust for life (preferably the taking of others) we can clearly see the parallels between what bad people do in cities and on the sea, we can perhaps also learn from the approach to fixing each scenario in tackling the other.
While we can clearly see the parallels between what bad people do in cities and on the sea, we can perhaps also learn from the approach to fixing them.
Just like so many observers say piracy will not be fixed at sea, the problems which lead to riots are not solved on the mean streets. The (running) battles may be fought in the street, but the war to ensure young people do not turn to theft and violence are in the schools, the welfare systems, the employment lines and the philosophies of government.
It is a not a popular view, but many of the young pirates who will be heading out to sea once the South West monsoon has abated will be victims of piracy themselves.
They are seduced by the lure of money, the glamour of the mythologised lifestyle – the 4X4s, the wives, the kudos and the khat. With no hope, no options and only starvation and death at the hands of Islamist extremists to look forward too, we can perhaps see that the young of Somalia too are lashing out.
We never really bought the whole “coastguard” protecting fishing shtick…but whatever the reasons, it does indeed seem that the fight against piracy has to be taken ashore. Win the hearts and minds of the good people on the streets of what is left of Somalia’s towns and we will perhaps have a chance. Or just pummel the evil ones into the submission – either way, something will break the spiral of violence which has swamped the country and which has spilled out into the seas.