UNITED NATIONS. SOMALI PIRATES TO U.N. LEADERSHIP: WAKE UP, IT'S SIESTA TIME

 

15 OCTOBER 2008

SOMALI PIRATES TO U.N. LEADERSHIP: WAKE UP, IT'S SIESTA TIME

"Somalia is torn between a growing Islamic insurgency and a weak and corrupt government backed by the United Nations and supported by Ethiopian troops." That was a concise assessment in the 4 October issue of The New York Times based on an Associated Press report.

Normally, that would have been a wake up call for senior U.N. officials -- a rare accusation of supporting a corrupt government when the Secretary General repeatedly announces his determination to fight corruption. But nothing seems to faze anyone in New York. As to the Special Envoy on Somalia, he has wisely cut down on his "good governance" hot air, causing the Secretary General to follow suit. No more optimistic press announcements; no more welcome to the role of Ethiopian troops; no more promises of imminent agreement by Sheikh Sharif or a Prime Minister who can't stay long enough in his own capital. Even the rebels have been neglected.

Piracy has been going on for years, but it was not convenient to mention it. Now that an Ukrainian ship carrying weapons (to whom?!) was seized, a Korean freighter confiscated, and European navigation hampered, the Security Council was awakened to piracy. With so much sudden attention, the pirates sounded like a bunch of comic bandoleros indicating bluntly and simply that their one and only interest was money. Otherwise, they turned themselves into national coastguards.

Apparently, the "Awakening" at the Security Council had a limited span. Apparently, countries would rather pay than fight. Like that friendly Mexican said: "Wake up, it's time for Siesta."