The fake pirates of Somalia

The fake pirates of Somalia
"Pirate? Oh, that’s my other job…"

Somalian pirates have been in the news. Or have they?

The story begins in the slums of Eastleigh, a sprawling suburb of Nairobi in Kenya and home to a huge Somali community. There, I met Adan. He and his friends are running an industry that had been fooling some of the best journalists from around the world. Their business? Pretending to be pirates.

"We pretend because we have the talent," Adan told me. With ships being regularly seized and crews kidnapped, Somali pirates have been much in demand by the news media. "They [journalists] go to the boss and say, ‘We need pirates,’" Adan said. "The boss comes to us and says, ‘The white men need pirates.’ So he says, ‘Assume to be a pirate.’"

The scam is coordinated by a "fixer" who offers journalists the opportunity to interview "real live pirates"for a fee. Touting his local knowledge, he promises to reach parts of the community a Western journalist never could. There then follows an elaborate scheme to convince journalists of the plan’s legitimacy. The "fixer" drives the Westerners aroundsometimes for daysin search of the elusive pirates, telling them it is too dangerous yet to approach the men.

Read more: Fake Somali Pirates Scam Western Journalists, The Daily Beast>>

The photo was taken in the Carnivore restaurant in Nairobi. To the best of my knowledge, the man pictured is neither a fake nor a real pirate.

(Thanks, Mr. Scott)

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