Somewhere (probably CNN or MSNBC), I caught wind of what has been happening on the coastal seas of Western and Southern Africa lately. Pirates armed with machine guns and riding speed-boats have been forcibly commandeering everything from fishing boats to oil-tankers, taking the goods and then holding the crew for ransom.
One band of Pirates stole over a million gallons of Saudi-Arabian sweet, crude oil. Another band (possibly associated with the other ones??) made off into the jungle with seven military tanks.
Because Africa is in such despicable condition (infighting, tin-horn dictators, genocide, racism, etc. etc.) I could almost justify and at least sympathize if these pirates were robbing food-freighters or making off with raw materials so that they might construct buildings to live in, not shacks made of corrugated steel. But, this is not the case. I KNOW that everything being stolen off these boats is going to feed another war-machine, another dictator, or another "revolutionary" war. That is what is most disheartening. The same thing goes for the money accrued from the ransoms--it will buy missiles, bullets and guns, not anything useful for the increase of the standard of living.
Africa is in need of help from those of us who have so much, regardless of where we live. We forget the continual plight of a people literally ravaged by constant violence. They need food, medicine and education.
I constantly ask myself why we spend billions and billions of dollars monthly trying to militantly democratize Iraq, when this money could feed the hungry in Africa, or go to building a local hospital (or at least go to help feeding the poor and destitute in our own country!).
Piracy is extreme, but I stand by the fact that:
Reacting abnormally to abnormal situations is normal.
I think that the situation in Africa is completely abnormal, and things like piracy and genocide, while terrifying, can only be expected in a nation, a literal world, that everyone seems to forget about.
It is a very depressing reality.