Boyah and his comrades (many, in true pirate spirit, have distinctive nicknames: Big Mouth, White Butt, Small Butt, Silver Tooth, Red Teeth, Abdi the Liar) are brash, candid, and surprisingly accessible—most Somali pirate gangs even have an official pirate spokesman. By their own admission, they are driven by one thing only: cash. But the flourishing criminal enterprise they have built along some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes has had a wider effect. Nothing in recent years has grabbed international attention and focused it squarely on Somalia—not famines, relentless civil war, or even the first American suicide bomber, who blew himself up in Somalia last year—more than the true-life tales of twenty-first-century buccaneers who swing grappling hooks over the sides of the largest ships in the sea, climb on board dripping wet and heavily armed, and hold crews hostage for months, until millions of dollars in ransom are literally dropped from the sky.
This New York Review of Books article is filled with anecdotes about the Somali Pirates. They have companies and sell stock in them. Girls dream of marrying them. It’s like they’re the rock stars of Somalia. Why would they stop? /via