Thursday, April 09, 2009

I'm Exhausted

I have to head to bed. We stayed out much too late. But it was a tough night. We went to Charlestown for a wake. The younger brother of one of Jen's crew had passed. I don't remember him. I know I saw him, but he was easily 15 years younger than me. I remember his sister Julie quite well and very fondly.

At dinner Jen and I talked about lots of stuff; the BU hockey game was on the TV and we were rooting hard for Jack Parker's boys......even if Jen gets mad if Jack doesn't call time out when she thinks he should.

The conversation between us moves like a leaf floating along a brook, moved by the current in different directions, from one topic to another, with lots of common places where we laugh at living much of the same experiences nine years apart (our age difference). Our mother has referred to us as her twins born nine years apart.

Yet strangely enough, despite how often we see each other and how much we talk - I can still learn something new. Jen told me a story about an incident at Pope John in her sophomore or junior year ...... that mirrored an incident my sophomore or junior year at Pope John. I was astonished.

I won't go into the details in this post, maybe someday, but it's late now. But it was a formative experience that always made me conscious of two things, well three really - First, don't make a decision until you hear both sides - Second, never trust anyone who singles out a group for the actions of one or two members - Third, never forget you are from Charlestown and you take care of your own.

So, you're thinking - "Get to the point Maggie." Ok, this business with the pirates and the Maersk Alabama and CAPT Phillips and the USS Bainbridge.

Of course, I am enamored of the Navy and dote on them to a ridiculous extent.

Of course, I am affronted that anyone would dare interfere with the peaceful transit of an American flagged ship.

Of course, I am furious that anyone is harassing a fellow Massachusetts native.

However, let us not forget that for all that we are disdainful of the "pirates" and their lawlessness - these aren't people who turned their back on civilization and chose to harm others merely out of greed and spitefulness. These are people whose current actions have grown out of a need to survive and protect what little they have. They live in a failed state. For all the bitching and moaning people do about the United States and direction this country is headed in - there isn't anyone here who would trade their worst day for a great day in Somalia.

The world turned their back on Somalia long ago. These pirates grew out of a ragtag group of sailors who were trying to stop illegal fishing in their territorial waters. Countries who have overfished their own waters know that can violate Somalia's waters with impunity. Somalia is also the helpless victim of illegal dumping of medical and possibly nuclear waste from Europe and China.

Most people are paying attention to the Horn of Africa piracy problem for the first time because Americans are involved and I understand that. Just don't come into this discussion now, with no background information - or only one side of the story - and talk smack.

I have listened to people, in person and on talk radio who talk absolute rubbish about this situation. The answer to the piracy problem is not arming merchant ships. The answer to this situation is not tricking CAPT Phillips' captors by paying ransom so you can shoot them later.

The answer to this problem, like with most problems, is much more complicated.

So to those who know very little about this; to those who ask "What is the Navy waiting for?".....

I would remind you of the very wise words of Mark Twain "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

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