Pirates of Somalia

Jay Baradur

Jay Baradur is one courageous reporter. In Pirates of Somalia, he recounts his experiences in 2008 and 2009, when he ventured into the heart of Somalia’s pirate culture. In Puntland, a semi-autonomous state in Somalia, he enters the world of clan relationships. At a road block, gunmen question refugees who are reciting their family genealogies when, suddenly, one man is pushed off the road and shot in the head—wrong clan. These are no Johnny Depp pirates. When interviewing a group of pirates, Baradur is told how moral their purpose is and that they follow a moral code. One pirate leader, Boyah, uses boys for crews and makes them all swear on the Quran. They all deny a claim by Russians of pirate alcoholism during a boarding. Only “a little,” says one. They claim their piracy targets only illegal fishing boats, but these truths are slippery. Clan warfare continues, and with no effective government since 1991 Somalia continues to be Africa’s worst humanitarian crisis. Baradur maintains the finest traditions of investigative reporting with his personal interviews. A riveting read.