Wednesday, June 09, 2010

On Somalia and relatively cuddly pirates.

This week's bedtime reading - because this is just what a crazy guy I am - has been the most recent International Crisis Group report on Somalia, called "Somalia's Divided Islamists". It is, as ever, fascinating and once again reminds me that first thing to understand about Somali politics is that don't really understand Somali politics. Fortunately the Crisis Group has some people who really do and can thus help the rest of us.

Anyway - on a vaguely related note - this week's This American Life was on the theme of hostages. They open with an interview with commercial hostage negotiator and anti-kidnapping trainer. Ira asked him where in the world was the best place to get kidnapped if you really had to get kidnapped and held hostage. His advice was Somali pirates seem to be the least interested in hurting their hostages of all the various political and professional kidnapping rackets around the world. Perhaps they know that pirates these days are the fun-loving characters of a million nautically themed childrens books and want to conform to the stereotype. Expect eye-patches and comedy inflatable parrots next.

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