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Sorry for not being regular with blogging guys. A bit occupied. Here’s a couple of my pieces that came out meanwhile…

1. On the fallout of Afghanistan withdrawal.

2. On the Somalian Piracy.

I am working on a more detailed piece on Somalia, with a colleague of mine, so wait for that.

Also looking out for some part time columnist/blogging work on foreign affairs, and international relations, as I am cutting down on regular journalism work, and preparing for PhD. So if anyone is interested please contact me.

Meanwhile, here’s a short interview, with Rick Blears, who is spearheading a campaign called “Save our Seafarers“…

1. Briefly explain your organization and its mission. How was it started, and what are the ongoing campaigns.

The SOS campaign was instigated by members of the Round Table of shipping organizations in March this year (as listed on our campaign web page). In view of the rapid escalation of Somali piracy they found it necessary to increase public awareness of the problem from both the human and commercial perspective and put pressure on politicians to either enforce the law or change their laws to reflect the new gravity of the situation.  The campaign seeks to stiffen their political will.

2. What do you think is the main reason for this indifference, and lack of concern to piracy, and the lives of seamen?  What actions, do your group plan? How do you think of involving more mass protests or lobbying into these campaign?

Most of the captives are not from EU, NATO or wealthy nations. If they we’re Europeans, American’s or Japanese there would be worldwide media outrage.  The sponsors of SOS plan to do everything in their considerable power to influence politicians and bring about change in the way pirates are arrested, prosecuted, tried and punished.  In some countries, protests have taken place.  The lobbying of politicians is a continuous process.

3. In the signing campaign, I noticed the most number of signatures are from India, do you believe that’s significant? What are your organisation’s future plans in India and elsewhere?

Most of the hostages (about 65%) are from India.  Also English is spoken in India. We have plans to translate the website (and letters) into the other major maritime languages. We are sure that this will produce a similar level of response from countries like Thailand, Indonesia and The Philippines. We are in discussions about how we can turn the excellent support from India into positive action.  We now have the support of 22 global shipping associations amongst which the Indian industry is well represented.

4. What actions does your organistion advocate for dealing with this piracy menace?

The worldwide industry is unanimous that the only answer to this outrageous criminality is for the governments of maritime nations to generate the political will to tackle the problem with legal force.  They want to see the complete eradication of piracy by naval intervention and the trial and conviction of the 2,000 pirates (and their gang masters and criminal funders).  Somalia’s intractable problems, however caused,  cannot be used as an excuse for this barbarous, sustained attack on a virtually defenceless but essential industry.


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