Although Africa has come a long way since the turn of the last century there are still some enormous issues in and around the continent that need tackling in a new way. For example, one of the biggest problems there especially for anyone crossing their waters is piracy. Despite pop culture glorifying pirates with their cartoonish voices, eye patches and swashbuckling skills all in the name of treasure hunting, this is vastly different from the horror of modern day piracy. Told more accurately in the Paul Greengrass film Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks and Somali actor Barkhad Abdi, piracy here is real, brutal and no laughing matter.
Piracy officially occurs out in international waters, but ships are stolen, ransacked and robbed at any proximity to land here. Often armed men will climb aboard huge freighters and hold the crewmembers hostage while they detour the transport or remove its most valuable items before leaving. Many people are hurt or killed in these horrendous encounters that any person out on sea should rightly fear. But why is this so frequent, and why is Africa more than anywhere else a hub for this sort of activity?
One reason is simply that the people on the bottom of the rung here have the opportunity to take advantage of the situation. Many of the places where piracy occurs regularly are from lavish and those who live here are eager to try and get money fast, if an opportunity arises where they can make more in a single day than they could in years, anyone would give this serious thought, especially those who don’t have options like this occurring everyday. Because guns and violence are unfortunately a staple part of life in some areas here, it makes sense that these people could use this aggressive skill set to score big with the risks barely outweighing the ones in their everyday lives.
Because this is a criminal act it stands to reason that the same rules apply from other areas of crime, mainly if it is lucrative others are keen to get involved. Despite what many people think on the whole criminals are generally smart, they know how to use circumstances to their advantage and they are great at finding the easiest route to money. Just like how drug dealers switch their product to the most popular ones, armed criminals will change the direction of their attacks to the ones that are churning out the most dollars.
All of these reasons however come back to one thing, Africa is the poorest continent on the globe. With a rising population yet some of the scarcest resources, people here live without clean water, food or shelter in conditions that are not humane. Though some areas are prosperous and modern, others are still in a constant state of struggle, and when your future looks as bleak as your past, seizing the cargo from a ship that passes may be your only way out of the vicious circle you currently know. Africa still needs help and lots of it, although it may seem strange to offer to help thieves, it is clear that as equality rises crime diminishes.