Robin Hood Complex

A recent report by the Brussel-based NGO International Crisis Group shows that many Somali pirates see themselves as the good guys. And at one point in history, they actually were. After the government in Mogadishu collapsed in 1991, neighboring countries began to illegally fish in Somali waters with an estimated $300 million in tuna, shrimp and lobster being poached every year. A group of angry Somali fishermen then decided to join forces and board foreign vessels to demand “fees,” effectively acting as coast guards, but more badass. The report also points out that these defensible beginnings have evolved into a ruthless multimillion-dollar enterprise. Today, pirates are blunt about their motives. In 2012, a band of pirates seized a Ukrainian freighter and demanded $25 million for its release. When pirate Ahmed Ali was asked about the incident, he told a reporter: “We just want the money.”

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