So says the FP’s Annie Lowery:
It’s a sorry, sorry state of affairs. And it suggests two things to me.
First, pirate exhaustion looms. (Though we’ve tested the limits on this blog, and found them boundlessly wide.) At one point, the pirates seemed a welcome distraction. Not so much any more — people are dying, Somalia is a failed state. Second, as others have suggested, we should stop calling them pirates and start calling them something like “maritime terrorists,” to end any remaining romanticization.
I have to wonder who reads about or watches coverage of Somali piracy and envisions Long John Silver or Jack Sparrow. I’m pretty imaginative but Somali piracy doesn’t exactly jive with Treasure Island or Pirates of the Caribbean. Maybe it’s just me but “Avast, ye scurvy dog!” just doesn’t fit the image of a Somali standing on a tanker or freighter, waving an RPG around while waiting for a helicopter to drop a bundle of cash. Maybe a century or two from now history and popular culture will have polished the Somali pirate up a bit and some enterprising author or movie director will have a go at the romantic and swashbuckling adventures of Abdul Hassan.
I’m not too keen on any new terminology that contains the word terrorist. It’s a term bandied about too easily and too often and doesn’t, in my opinion, fit the nature of a Somali pirate. There’s a bit of a difference between a sustained, murderous campaign of bloodshed and holding ships for ransom.
I think a more fitting term would be one that indicates criminality rather than terrorism. “Maritime armed robbers” or “blue water hijackers” or maybe something simple like “pirates.”