Africa News blog

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Media values on the high seas

April 10, 2009

It’s a cynical adage of British journalism that one dead Briton is, in headline terms at least, worth several dozen foreign fatalities.

A similar law seems to be in play with the latest hostage drama on the high seas off Somalia, where four pirates have been holding an American sea captain in a life boat under the watchful eye of the USS Bainbridge.

At the moment, other pirates back at their bases in Somalia are holding 18 vessels and 267 sailors, the fruits of several months of attacks on ships off the coast.

The media in the United States hasĀ focussed fully on this latest story – a drama with just one American at its centre – while showing rather less interest in the hundreds of other hostages, none of whom is thought to be American.

So is this just the cruel law in action? Or should we be grateful that piracy is now receiving the full attention of the White House and the State Department and hope that at last more decisive action will be taken to clear the shipping lanes of bandits?


The US Navy Should have been aware that Phillips would probably try to escape by jumping off the lifeboat.When he did, they should have shot the pirates as they emerged from the lifeboat to jump in after him!Surely the Naval forces have sharpshooters aboard and were close enough to end this standoff.Or,is our government going to kiss the Muslim’s rear like we saw in the G20 meeting and in Turkey??


Nationalism is the heart of the USA politics and culture and can not be separated from each other. The problem is the USA does not like other people to promote nationalist in their own right in teir respective land. The USA can do anything for its people and it is time for other countries that persecute their people to learn to value human resources.


Now we can’t even protect our own citizens without getting condemned? The Horn of Africa is not our problem, until someone makes it our problem. I swear, everyone is a keyboard-general these days thinking they know best how to use OUR military. Africa was screwed up by Europeans, and now they all want to sit at home, and let US take care of things. And as usual, we will. Giles, you are as bad as a politician. Playing this off with the usual “blind eye” routine, just to get some good ol’ America-bashing going on. You, my friend, are a total tool.Peace.

Posted by Patrick | Report as abusive

Wonder whether the pirates are part of US and Cia funded anti-terror Somali warlords? Read the history of US intervention in Somalia by Anand Gopal al160107.htmlCould it be another distraction from financial trouble at home and boost for war on terror. (search wikipedia & sourcewatch)

Posted by Kara Tier | Report as abusive

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