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Somalia/Piracy

Poverty and conflict causes piracy, says rapper K'naan

Article published on the 2009-04-15 Latest update 2009-04-16 08:50 TU

Somali militants stand guard as internally displaced people await food aid in Torotow on 13 April 2009(Photo: Reuters)

Somali militants stand guard as internally displaced people await food aid in Torotow on 13 April 2009
(Photo: Reuters)

Sending warships to tackle Somali pirates is "reactionary", says rapper and recording artist K’Naan, who is originally from Mogadishu, but now living in Canada. He’s been following the ongoing problem with piracy off the coast of Somalia and is angry at the west's response.

“I think the sending of ships is reactionary, and I think it is a lot more expensive than looking at trying to fix the root causes, which is the only possibility that this will actually stop,” K'naan told RFI. “Because sending more ships is not going to stop piracy, it’s going to inflate it, and the conflict will get more tragic.”

Comment: K'Naan, Somali rapper

15/04/2009 by Daniel Finnan

The rapper, who left his home country during the Somali civil war, believes that more needs to be done to solve the problem inland.

“If you stabilise the country, then it’s impossible for people to come from the shores, doing what they do at the sea,” he says.

Piracy has flourished due to a number of problems brought to the Somali coast, he says.

“Give the Somali people some credit, listen to the complaints they have about, not just the loss of their fishing industry, but also the dumping of nuclear toxic waste, that we believe is taking place.

“If the Somali people see that the international community is actually making an effort, to look into those things and stop those things, then I think there is a chance Somalis would be a lot more self-critical.”

K’Naan, who has featured on RFI in the past, is also critical of news media, especially following recent US operations after the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama.

“The major issue that the west is missing context for what is going on, and it’s very easy to have CNN talk about these lunatic pirates, the menace to society […] hostage taking is illegal and inhumane, we get all of that,” he says.

K'Naan wants more effort to understand the poverty and conflict faced by millions of Somalis. He thinks it will be easier to solve the problem by tackling the root causes of piracy.